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          xyHt  | Pangaea Past Issues | Field Notes Past Issues                                              March 14, 2017—No. 180

Will You Be Replaced by a Robot?

It’s difficult to open a magazine or look at an internet news site and not run across the “robots are going to take your job” theme. So, I’ve been doing a bit of reading on the subject, and I’ve come up with some very basic criteria for determining if your job may be on the short list for a robotic takeover.

It boils to “R & R.” If your job is “Repetitive and Routine,” then an automated algorithm may be waiting to take over your position.

Here’s a list of most-threatened jobs from a University of Oxford study on the subject of job automation. According to their research, the most at-risk jobs are: transportation and material moving, production, installation, maintenance and repair, construction and extraction [mining], farming, fishing, forestry, office and administrative work, sales, and service jobs.

I don’t see the profession of geospatial in there (whew!). But still, we have seen the encroachment of robotics into geospatial and, generally, to the benefit of the profession. Does anyone remember when GNSS came online and made two-person crews virtually obsolete? Robotic total stations, anyone? (Hint: they have the word “robotic” in their name.) What about the impact of UAS?

The fact is most of us view these robotic advances as a good thing. They offer both 1) a path to increased efficiency and productivity and 2) a chance to work with robots instead of being replaced by them.

Not everyone agrees, of course. For those who differ, I suggest an excellent article on the subject of innovation in land surveying: “Are You Ready to be Relevant?” by James M. Shaw, Jr., LS. Mr. Shaw’s observations and advice are spot on in my book.

For a more in-depth look at this subject on a wider societal scale, check out “What will future jobs look like?” a Ted Talk by MIT Economist Andrew McAfee.
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Until next time,
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Nearmap Wins Best New Content Partner Award
The big news: Nearmap Ltd. has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Esri Partner Conference Best New Content Partner Award. This award is recognition for excellence in content delivery by a partner that has been in the Esri Partner Network for two years or less. What: This partnership with Nearmap allows Esri customers who subscribe to Nearmap’s location content to seamlessly integrate high-resolution aerial imagery into the Esri products. Customers can build and deploy GIS solutions that take advantage of Esri functionality and Nearmap imagery. Learn more on Nearmap’s website.
CEE-USV: Next Gen Unmanned Surface Vehicle
The big news: CEE HydroSystems has introduced its CEE-USV, a remotely-operated hydrographic survey boat with unmatched usability, exceptional design, survey-grade construction and high quality instrumentation. What: the CEE-USV is a state-of-the-art, high-performance survey boat incorporating a single beam echo sounder, GNSS positioning, live video, and on-board data management. A high bandwidth radio link to the dedicated CEE-LINK shore station allows the operator to see precise bathymetric survey results in real time. Learn more on CEE HydroSystems’ website.
Maptek’s New I-Site XR3 and LR3 Laser Scanners
The big news:  Smaller and lighter, the new XR3 and LR3 models offer significant improvement in range capability while retaining the reliability and usability we are known for. What: Compared to the I-Site 8800 series, the latest I-Site XR3 and LR3 laser scanners are 30% smaller and 25% lighter, with 2.5 times faster data acquisition, and offer 25% improvement in range capability. A new high-dynamic-range panoramic camera produces high resolution digital images for geotechnical analysis and geological mapping. Learn more on Maptek’s website.

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