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Review of Forty Years of Technological Changes in Geomatics toward the Big Data Paradigm

LIGM UMR8049, Univ. Paris-Est, CNRS, 77454 Marne-la-Vallée, France
Academic Editor: Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(9), 155;
Received: 29 April 2016 / Revised: 8 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data for Urban Informatics and Earth Observation)
PDF [3110 KB, uploaded 29 August 2016]


Looking back at the last four decades, the technologies that have been developed for Earth observation and mapping can shed a light on the technologies that are trending today and on their challenges. Forty years ago, the first digital pictures decided the fate of remote sensing, photogrammetric engineering, GIS, or, for short: of geomatics. This sudden wave of volumes of data triggered the research in fields that Big Data is plowing today: this paper will examine this transition. First, a rapid survey of the technology through the succession of selected terms, will help identify two main periods in the last four decades. Spatial information appears in 1970 with the preparation of Landsat, and Big Data appears in 2010. The method for exploring geomatics’ contribution to Big Data, is to examine each of the “Vs” that are used today to characterize the latter: volume, velocity, variety, visualization, value, veracity, validity, and variability. Geomatics has been confronted to each of these facets during the period. The discussion compares the answers offered early by geomatics, with the situation in Big Data today. Over a very large range of issues, from signal processing to the semantics of information, geomatics has made contributions to many data models and algorithms. Big Data now enables geographic information to be disseminated much more widely, and to benefit from new information sources, expanding through the Internet of Things towards a future Digital Earth. Some of the lessons learned during the four decades of geomatics can also be lessons for Big Data today, and for the future of geomatics. View Full-Text
Keywords: geomatics; Big Data; remote sensing; data warehouse; data mining; technology history geomatics; Big Data; remote sensing; data warehouse; data mining; technology history

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Jeansoulin, R. Review of Forty Years of Technological Changes in Geomatics toward the Big Data Paradigm. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 155.

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