GEOmedia_3_2018

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GEOmedia - the first Italian magazine on geomatics

Rivista bimestrale - anno XXII - Numero 3/2018 - Sped. in abb. postale 70% - Filiale di Roma

TERRITORIO CARTOGRAFIA

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CATASTO

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INFORMAZIONE GEOGRAFICA

FOTOGRAMMETRIA

URBANISTICA

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BIM

RILIEVO TOPOGRAFIA

CAD

REMOTE SENSING SPAZIO

EDILIZIA

WEBGIS

UAV

SMART CITY

AMBIENTE

NETWORKS

LiDAR

BENI CULTURALI

LBS

Mag/Giu 2018 anno XXII N°3

La prima rivista italiana di geomatica e geografia intelligente

Satellite-based

Information

Services for

Utilities

HIGH POSITIONING

ACCURACY IN GNSS

COPERNICUS FOR

AGRICULTURE

MANIFESTO OF

SOCIETY 5.0


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KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION FOR PLANET EARTH

This is the motto of this edition of INTERGEO 2018 and GEOmedia is proud to share this message!

The German Minister of the Interior, Building and Community is bringing an important message about inviting us to

focus on the fact that the “spatial reference is its uniting element. As a result, abstract values become maps, digital data

become comprehensible facts and complex information provides us with access to the world. Be it broad access, swift

processing or comprehensive interconnectedness – digital technology will make it easier for us to achieve all of this. At the

same time, questions about the future of geodesy arise. How will the work routines and tasks of geodesy specialists change?

How will we find our experts? How can we help them develop their expertise?”

GEOmedia since many years is pushing the Italian geomatics in an international frame and INTERGEO is one of

the focus event to meet international growth on the context of Geospatial 4.0, Smart City, Smart Villages, digital

construction, cloud computing and the Geo artificial intelligence.

The Director of the Fair remember to us “The key are always geo issues of digitalisation and the digital revolution.

Without digitalisation there can be no smart cities and villages, no BIM and no eGovernment. Our industry is currently

undergoing rapid change, as geoinformation is a vital element of the digital revolution. It helps make our environment

available digitally in three dimensions and opens up a wealth of applications when combined with specialist data. This

in turn gives rise to a whole range of new and innovative business models. In addition, the importance of artificial

intelligence processes, augmented reality and virtual reality is also on the rise. These will have a huge impact on our work

processes, transforming our jobs forever”.

GEOmedia and INTERGEO will continuously address these issues in their respective role.

Enjoy your reading,

Renzo Carlucci

Conoscenza e azione per il pianeta Terra

Questo è il motto di questa edizione di INTERGEO 2018 e GEOmedia è orgogliosa di condividere questo messaggio!

Il ministro dell'Interno tedesco, responsabile anche dell’edificato e della comunità, sta portando un messaggio importante

invitando a concentrarsi sul fatto che "Il riferimento spaziale è elemento di unione. Di conseguenza, i valori astratti

diventano mappe, i dati digitali diventano fatti comprensibili e le informazioni complesse forniscono l'accesso al mondo.

Sia che si tratti di un accesso ampio, di un'elaborazione rapida o di un'interconnessione completa, la tecnologia digitale ci

renderà più facile il raggiungimento di tutto questo. Allo stesso tempo, sorgono domande sul futuro della geodesia. Come

cambieranno routine di lavoro e mansioni degli specialisti di geodesia? Come troveremo i nostri esperti? Come possiamo

aiutarli a sviluppare la loro esperienza? "

GEOmedia da molti anni sta spingendo la geomatica italiana in una cornice internazionale e INTERGEO è uno dei

momenti chiave per la crescita internazionale nel contesto di Geospatial 4.0, Smart City, Smart Villages, costruzione

digitale, cloud computing e geo-artificial-intelligence.

E il direttore di INTERGEO ci ricorda che: "Le questioni geografiche della digitalizzazione e della rivoluzione digitale

sono sempre questioni chiave. Senza la digitalizzazione non ci possono essere città e villaggi intelligenti, nessun BIM e

nessun e-Government. Il nostro settore sta attualmente subendo rapidi cambiamenti, poiché la geoinformazione è un

elemento vitale della rivoluzione digitale. Aiuta a rendere disponibile digitalmente il nostro ambiente in tre dimensioni

e apre una vasta gamma di applicazioni combinate con dati specialistici. Ciò a sua volta dà origine a un'intera gamma di

modelli di business nuovi e innovativi. Inoltre, l'importanza dei processi di intelligenza artificiale, realtà aumentata e realtà

virtuale è in aumento. Questi avranno un enorme impatto sui nostri processi lavorativi, trasformando il nostro lavoro per

sempre ".

GEOmedia e INTERGEO affronteranno continuamente questi problemi nel loro rispettivo ruolo.

Buona lettura,

Renzo Carlucci


In this

issue...

FOCUS

REPORT

High positioning

accuracy in GNSS

systems

and receivers

by Marco Lisi

6

SECTIONS

24 ESA IMAGE

26 NEWS

40 Italy’s National

Archive of

Aerial Photography

48 EVENTS

12

seIsmIc

vulnerabIlIty oF

exIstIng buIldIngs:

non-InvasIve

approach For

dynamIc

behavIour

ASSESMENT

BY GIANLUCA ACUNZO,

MICHELE VICENTINO,

ANTONIO BOTTARO

On the cover a Copernicus

Sentinel-1B satellite image

over Semera in northeast

Ethiopia. The landscape of the

Afar region is characterised

by desert shrubland and

volcanoes, particularly in the

north. In this image we can

see differences in altitude

represented in the variations

in colour. The left part of

the image is dominated by

yellow, signifying changes in

vegetation found at higher

altitudes. Two lakes, Hayk

Lake and Hardibo Lake, are

shown in the bottom left.

Sentinel-1B was launched

in April 2016, carrying an

advanced radar instrument to

provide an all-weather, dayand-night

supply of imagery

of Earth’s surface. This image

was captured on 5 April 2018.

(Credits: ESA - Image of the

week: "Northeast Ethiopia")

22

THE

MANIFesto OF

THE SOCIETY

5.0

by Bruno Ratti

geomediaonline.it

GEOmedia, published bi-monthly, is the Italian magazine for

geomatics. Since 20 years is publishing to open a worldwide

window to the Italian market and viceversa. Themes are on

latest news, developments and applications in the complex

field of earth surface sciences. GEOmedia dial with all activities

relating to the acquisition, processing, querying, analysis,

presentation, dissemination, management and use of geo-data

and geo-information. The magazine covers subjects such as

surveying, environment, mapping, GNSS systems, GIS, Earth

Observation, Geospatial Data, BIM, UAV and 3D technologies.


ADVERTASING

3DTarget 39

32 Copernicus Sentinels

missions and

crowdsourcing as

game changers for

geospatial information

in agriculture

by Flavio Lupia,

Vyron Antoniou

Epsilon 27

Esri Italia 31

Geogrà 10

Geomax 2

Geospatial World Forum 29

GIS3W 20

Gter 22

Planetek Italia 11

aerRobotix 45

Stonex 21

Rheticus:

Satellite-based

Information

Services for

Utilities

by Vincenzo Massimi

36

Studio SIT 35

Intergeo 47

Teorema 46

Topcon 48

42

RUNNIng up

that HIll

Italian civic

addresses and

the quest for

accuracy

by Valerio Zunino

In the background of the summary

a Copernicus Sentinel-2A

satellite takes us over the largest

island of the Azores: São

Miguel. ESA, in collaboration

with the French Space Agency,

CNES, is organising a symposium

on 25 years of progress

in radar altimetry, which will

be held in Ponta Delgada from

24–29 September. With global

sea-level rise a global concern,

the symposium will focus on

the advances made in our understanding

of the open ocean,

the cryosphere, and coastal and

land processes. The annual meeting

of the Ocean Surface Topography

Science Team and the

International DORIS Service

Workshop will also be held in

the same week.

This image was captured on 8

September 2016.

(Credits: ESA - Image of the

week: "São Miguel, Azores")

Science & Technology Communication

Chief Editor

RENZO CARLUCCI, direttore@rivistageomedia.it

Editorial Board

Vyron Antoniou, Fabrizio Bernardini, Mario Caporale,

Luigi Colombo, Mattia Crespi, Luigi Di Prinzio,

Michele Dussi, Michele Fasolo, Marco Lisi, Flavio Lupia,

Beniamino Murgante, Aldo Riggio, Mauro Salvemini,

Domenico Santarsiero, Attilio Selvini, Donato Tufillaro

Managing Director

FULVIO BERNARDINI, fbernardini@rivistageomedia.it

Editorial Staff

VALERIO CARLUCCI, GIANLUCA PITITTO,

redazione@rivistageomedia.it

Marketing Assistant

TATIANA IASILLO, diffusione@rivistageomedia.it

Account manager

ALFONSO QUAGLIONE, marketing@rivistageomedia.it

Design

DANIELE CARLUCCI, dcarlucci@rivistageomedia.it

MediaGEO soc. coop.

Via Palestro, 95 00185 Roma

Tel. 06.64871209 - Fax. 06.62209510

info@rivistageomedia.it

ISSN 1128-8132

Reg. Trib. di Roma N° 243/2003 del 14.05.03

Stampa: SPADAMEDIA srl

VIA DEL LAVORO 31, 00043 CIAMPINO (ROMA)

Publisher: mediaGEO società cooperativa

Science & Technology Communication

Paid subscriptions

GEOmedia is available bi-monthly on a subscription basis.

The annual subscription rate is € 45. It is possible to subscribe

at any time via https://geo4all.it/abbonamento. The cost of one

issue is € 9 €, for the previous issue the cost is € 12 €. Prices and

conditions may be subject to change.

Magazine founded by: Domenico Santarsiero.

Issue closed on: 20/08/2018.


FOCUS

High positioning accuracy

in GNSS systems and receivers

by Marco Lisi

In the last few months we have been

witnessing a remarkable (and, to

some extent, surprising) increase

of interest for GNSS high accuracy

positioning, involving both systems

and receivers. In particular, this

growing demand for increased

positioning accuracy is evident

for mass-market applications,

in areas such as: IoT tracking

devices, wearable tracking devices,

automotive, UAV’s; Robotic vehicles.

Several GNSS augmentation methods

have been developed over the years,

aiming at improving the navigation

system performance not only in terms

of positioning accuracy, but also in

terms of reliability, availability and

sometime integrity.

Satellite Based Augmentation

Systems

One first family of augmentation

systems is based on

the principle of “Differential

GNSS”. This method consists

in using reference receivers, positioned

in fixed, well-located

positions, known as “base”

stations, to derive correction

errors that apply with a good

degree of approximation to all

user receivers located nearby.

Well known and already fully

operational are the so-called

Satellite-Based Augmentation

Systems (SBAS), such as the

American Wide Area Augmentation

System (WAAS) and the

European Geostationary Overlay

Service (EGNOS) (fig. 1).

These systems provide a widearea

or regional augmentation

of existing GNSS (e.g. GPS)

through the broadcasting of

additional satellite messages to

users.

The augmentation messages are

derived after processing information

collected by dedicated

stations and then sent to one

or more satellites (usually geostationary)

for broadcast to the

end users. The augmentation

messages can also be broadcasted

to users via Internet. This

is the case of the EGNOS Data

Access Service (EDAS), a terrestrial

commercial service

offering ground-based access

to EGNOS data through the

Internet on controlled access

basis. Geared to users requiring

Fig. 1 - Satellite Based Augmentation Systems around the world

6 GEOmedia n°3-2018


FOCUS

enhanced performance for professional

use, EDAS provides

users with the same data broadcast

by the EGNOS satellites

(EGNOS Message) in near realtime

(fig. 2).

Real –Time Kinematic (RTK)

and Precise Point Positioning

(PPP)

Presently, GNSS correction

services to achieve very high

positioning (centimetre-level)

accuracy are already offered to

professional users. They are based

on two main technologies:

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK)

and Precise Point Positioning

(PPP).

The RTK technology is a differential

GNSS technique based

on the use of code and carrier

phase measurements from the

satellites of the GNSS constellation

and on corrections provided

wirelessly to a user receiver

by a local reference ground station,

at a well-known location

(fig. 3).

Using carrier-phase measurements,

together with ionospheric

and tropospheric error

corrections, allows reaching

centimetre-level accuracies.

The drawback is that for carrier-phase

measurements, phase

ambiguity has to be solved, a

process requiring non-negligible

convergence times.

Atmospheric (ionospheric and

tropospheric) corrections require

a reference station (the

“base station”) not too far away

Fig. 2 - EGNOS System Architecture

from the user (the “rover’), with

baselines not longer than about

15 kilometers (usually between

10 and 20 km).

Besides atmospheric corrections,

the base station helps reducing

errors from such sources

as satellite clock and ephemeris.

With PPP, satellite clock and

orbit corrections (significantly

more precise than those available

in the broadcast navigation

message), generated from a

network of global reference

stations and calculated through

sophisticated algorithms by

a centralized processing facility,

are delivered to the end

users via satellite or over the

Internet (fig. 4).

It is worth noting that, as

compared to RTK, PPP does

not provide atmospheric effects

corrections. On the other

hand, PPP does not require a

local base station and offers a

worldwide service.

Combining the precise orbit

and clock corrections with a

dual-frequency GNSS receiver

(thus removing the first order

ionospheric errors), PPP is able

to provide position solutions

with accuracy at centimeter

level.

As compared to RTK, PPP

offers a worldwide service

and, being based on a global

network of reference stations,

guarantees a highly redundant

and robust infrastructure (while

RTK is totally dependent on

the availability of the local base

station). One drawback of PPP

Fig. 3 - Real-Time Kinematic Concept

Fig. 4 - Precise Point Positioning Concept.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 7


FOCUS

is that the processing algorithms

generating orbit and clock

corrections require rather long

convergence times to achieve

maximum performance, although

real-time or quasi realtime

PPP systems are being

developed.

Summarizing, both RTK and

PPP technologies are able to

provide positioning accuracies

in the order of few centimeters,

with reasonable convergence

times, while single-frequency

pseudorange-based positioning

using navigation message data

provides meter-level accuracy

at best.

System-Level High Accuracy

Services

As already mentioned, technologies

for very accurate positioning,

such as RTK and PPP,

have been adopted so far mostly

by professional users, not

targeting mass-market applications

such as, e.g., smartphones.

Something is changing, as far

as system-level solutions are

concerned.

In Japan, the GPS-based, regional

Quasi-Zenith Satellite

System (QZSS) is already planning

to provide centimetrelevel

positioning and navigation

services over the Japanese

territory. The system is based

on more than one thousand

reference stations to constantly

correct satellite errors. The corrected

data is then compressed

for real-time transmission back

to the constellation of three satellites

for broadcasting to user

receivers.

In Europe, a fairly radical and

strategic decision was taken in

March 2018, with the Implementing

Decision by the European

Commission redefining

the scope of the Galileo Commercial

Service.

The EC decision, recognizing

the increasing demand for higher

positioning accuracy by

fast expanding sectors, such as

autonomous vehicles, robotics

and drones, introduced a “freeaccess”

High Accuracy Commercial

Service (HA CS) on E6

signal, allowing users “to obtain

a positioning error of less than

two decimetres in nominal

conditions of use”. The convergence

time of this new service

should be , on the other hand,

in the order of about five minutes,

thus making it attractive

for mass-market applications,

including smartphones, but

not in direct competition with

“external” services such as RTK

and PPP.

The approach of offering the

High Accuracy Commercial

Service (HA CS) to all interested

users on a free of charge

basis, with content and format

of data publicly and openly

available on a global scale, was

deemed to increase the public

benefit delivered by Galileo. It

was also estimated that it will

contribute to position Galileo

in the market as the first GNSS

system offering high accuracy

services on a free of charge basis.

On the other hand, since

departing from the scheme originally

foreseen by Implementing

Decision (EU) 2017/2243

of 8 February 2017, the new

Implementing Decision was

taken after consultation with all

potential stakeholders.

The practical implementation

of the EC decision is being

studied jointly by the European

GNSS Agency and ESA, leading

to industrial developments

in 2019.

Multi-Constellation, Dual-Frequency

GNSS Receivers for

mass-Market Applications

A little revolution is also taking

place in the world of GNSS

receivers and chipsets manufacturers:

four major companies

(Broadcom, Intel, STMicroelectronics

and U-blox) decided

to make commercially available

for mass market applications

dual-frequency receivers, offering

position accuracies down

to 30 centimeters (fig. 5). Several

flagship smartphones are

planning to integrate them in

2018.

The technical specifications

and technological solutions

adopted vary slightly among

the four manufacturers, but

they all start from recognizing

the same market requirements:

Fig. 5 - Broadcom and U-blox Multi-Constellation, Dual-frequency Receivers.

4Smartphones, IoT, wearable

and other mobile devices;

4Commercial unmanned

vehicle applications (drones,

heavy trucks, UAVs);

4Applications in “hostile” urban

environments;

4Assisted and autonomous

driving;

4Automotive safety compliance

(ISO 26262, ASIL);

8 GEOmedia n°3-2018


FOCUS

4Built-in integrity checking;

4Built-in jamming and spoofing

detection capabilities;

4Sensor data fusion.

In particular, the lane-level navigation

accuracy on highways

(to allow Lane-Departure Warning,

LDW) seems to be a very

important requirement for car

manufacturers.

All receivers of new generation,

apart from some technical differences,

are essentially based

on the same architecture: multi-constellation,

dual-frequency,

high power efficiency, low cost.

The dual-frequency capability

(L1/E1 and L5/E5) makes

them able to better cope with

reflections off buildings in

urban environments: multipath

correction, detection of

reflected signals, ionospheric

errors correction, resolution

of phase ambiguity (in case

carrier-phase measurements are

performed) are all made possible.

It is worth noting that dualfrequency

operation starts

being attractive because as from

2018 there are enough L5/E5

satellites in orbit (about 30,

including Galileo, GPS-3 and

QZSS).

Fig. 6 - Google Prototype Driverless Car

Advanced Processing Software

for Autonomous Driving

Autonomous and connected

vehicles are positioning

themselves among the most disruptive

mass-market technologies

of the future. Despite some

unfortunate accidents and a

rather different approach to

standardization and regulation,

the deployment of autonomous

vehicles will soon become a reality

on US and European road

networks.

Autonomous vehicles can take

over activities traditionally performed

by the driver, thanks to

their ability to sense the environment,

navigate and communicate

with other vehicles and

road infrastructure when combined

with connected vehicle

solutions. Widespread adoption

of autonomous driving can

reduce traffic accidents, reduce

fuel consumption and improve

traffic flow, as well as improve

driver comfort.

The adoption of autonomous

driving is probably going

to happen much faster than

everyone thinks, following

adoption curves closer to those

typical for digital technologies,

rather than to those typical for

transportation systems.

In other words, while cars took

decades to be widely adopted,

autonomous driving will have a

worldwide spread in just a few

years.

Many believe that autonomous

driving will probably be the

single largest societal change

after the Internet. One thing is

for sure: autonomous driving

will destroy the traditional

concept of the car as a personal

good to be owned, moving to

the paradigm of “transportation

as a service”.

For some years now big corporations

such as Waymo

(Waymo is an autonomous car

development company and

subsidiary of Google's parent

company, Alphabet Inc.), Uber,

Tesla, GM and many others,

from Mazda to Maserati, have

been testing their driverless cars

(fig. 6).

While all of them consider

Fig. 7 - Uber Simplified Merging of Satellite SNRs and 3D Maps

GEOmedia n°3-2018 9


FOCUS

standard-precision GNSS as an

indispensable component of

their automated vehicle sensor

suite, they still view it as a secondary

sensor, not accurate or

reliable enough for positioning

the vehicle within the lane.

In order to achieve the level

of positioning required for the

safe operation of autonomous

vehicles, an intimate fusion of

on-board sensors, computer 3D

modelling and GNSS technologies

is needed.

One well known problem is

that ground vehicles often operate

under sky-obstructed areas,

where GNSS signals can be

altered or blocked by buildings

and trees. In these cases, GNSS

receivers

can become wildly inaccurate,

just when they would be most

needed, i.e. in densely populated

and highly built-up urban

areas (where incidentally most

of the users are located).

Multi-constellation and dualfrequency

are partially solving

the problem. To further overcome

this challenge, companies

like Google and Uber are developing

software applications

to substantially improves location

accuracy in urban environments

utilizing 3D maps together

with fairly sophisticated

ray-tracing, probabilistic computations

on GNSS raw data

available from the on-board

user receiver (fig. 7).

Conclusion

These recent developments in

the “race” for higher positioning

accuracy prove on one side

that there is no single technology

capable of providing a reliable

and continuous solution

in all environments, so the

need for integration and fusion;

on the other hand, that high

accuracy navigation is part of

a much larger technological revolution,

triggered by 5G, IoT,

unmanned vehicles, vehicle-toeverything

(V2X), augmented

reality.

ABSTRACT

In the last few months we have been witnessing

a remarkable (and, to some extent,

surprising) increase of interest for GNSS

high accuracy positioning, involving both

systems and receivers.

In particular, this growing demand for increased

positioning accuracy is evident for

mass-market applications, in areas such as:

IoT tracking devices, wearable tracking

devices, automotive, UAV’s; Robotic vehicles.

Several GNSS augmentation methods

have been developed over the years, aiming

at improving the navigation system

performance not only in terms of positioning

accuracy, but also in terms of reliability,

availability and sometime integrity.

KEYWORD

High positioning accuracy; GNSS; autonomous

driving; RTK; PPP; 5G; IoT; UAV

AUTHOR

Dr. ing. Marco Lisi

marco.lisi@esa.int

European Space Agency – ESTEC

Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Via Indipendenza, 106

46028 Sermide - Mantova - Italy

Phone +39.0386.62628

info@geogra.it

www.geogra.it

10 GEOmedia n°3-2018


FOCUS

GEOmedia n°3-2018 11


REPORT

Seismic vulnerability of existing

buildings: non-invasive approach for

dynamic behaviour assessment

by Gianluca Acunzo, Michele

Vicentino, Antonio Bottaro

In recent years, the partnership

between the Department of

Mathematics and Physics of Roma Tre

University and GEOWEB S.p.A. has led

to the creation of an applied research

program named Metior. The main aim

of this program is the research and

development of a set of innovative

tools for the creation of easy-tomanipulate

virtual models, where

the concept of measurement and

geometric survey can be enhanced.

Such virtual reality environments

are built through

photogrammetric techniques

like stereoscopy, orthophotography,

Digital Terrain

Modeling (DTM), Digital

Surface Modeling (DSM)

and 3D Point Clouds joined

with advanced 3D modeling

and computational geometry

techniques developed by the

research groups of Roma Tre

University (Fig. 1).

Nowadays, it is well known

how 3D virtual reality, and augmented

virtual reality as well,

can support any kind of geometric,

topologic and numerical

ex-post analysis just by relying

on a certified instrumental data

acquisition campaign.

In the framework of this agreement,

also a research fellowship

Fig. 1 - Example of 3D point cloud created in the Metior platform.

has been set up with the purpose

of researching and developing

new techniques and tools

which may give a contribution

to the workflow aimed to the

reduction of the seismic risk for

civil buildings.

In the field of seismic vulnerability

assessment there is a

very useful, non-invasive and

not so well-known typology of

survey that can provide significant

added value to such a

kind of assessment. This measurement

is commonly known

as environmental vibration

measurement. In order to understand

the potential of the

environmental vibrations and

how they can be used, we will

give a brief overview of some

of the key concepts to keep in

mind when talking about “seismic

risk”.

Therefore, what do we mean

when we talk about seismic risk

for a civil building?

To answer this question, it is

appropriate to briefly introduce

the three main factors that are

involved and whose combination

defines the seismic risk:

12 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

seismic hazard (H), seismic

vulnerability (V) and exposure

(E). The seismic hazard is

related to the site where the

building is located: the hazard

of a certain area is determined

by the characteristics (in terms

of frequency and intensity) of

the earthquakes that may occur.

On the other hand, seismic vulnerability

is something related

to the building itself and to the

potential damage that could

occur during a seismic event

of a given intensity. Finally,

exposure is related to the number

of assets that are exposed

to risk and takes into account

the possible consequences of

an earthquake, such as loss of

human lives, damage to cultural

heritage and damage in economic

terms.

The so-called seismic risk is

given by the combination of

these three factors and can be

conceptually expressed as the

product of the previously introduced

terms:

R=HxVxE

In the first part of this article

we will synthetically discuss

some aspects related to hazard

and vulnerability, in order to

understand how the expected

seismic input at the base of the

building is determined for a

considered site and what is important

to consider when a seismic

vulnerability verification is

performed for a civil building.

The current Italian legislation

envisages that only architects

and engineers are the professional

figures who can deal

with the seismic vulnerability

assessment, in particular with

regard to the aspects related to

numerical modeling, structural

analysis and retrofitting design.

Moreover, GEOWEB strongly

believes that the role of the surveyor,

who is typically involved

in the due diligence processes

related to the certification of

the actual state of buildings,

can undoubtedly be actively

involved in the seismic vulnerability

analysis by designing,

executing and validating the

results of environmental vibration

measurements, supporting

the following structural analysis

delegated by the legislation to

architects and civil engineers.

So, after the overview about

the environmental vibrations

analysis approach, some of the

tools that are being developed

in the context of the cooperation

between GEOWEB S.p.A.

and Roma Tre University, will

be discussed.

Fig. 2 - Seismic hazard map for Italian peninsula (INGV).

Seismic hazard and expected

seismic input

As previously introduced, the

seismic hazard of an area is basically

given by its seismicity: it is

expressed in probabilistic terms

and it is defined, in a given

area and in a certain interval of

time, as the probability of an

earthquake occurring beyond a

certain intensity threshold.

Thinking about the seismic

hazard in the Italian peninsula,

the first image that comes

to mind is the Seismic

Hazard Map produced by the

Italian National Institute of

Geophysics and Volcanology

(INGV) (Fig. 2).

The colors show the value of

the Peak Ground Acceleration

(PGA) for each area of the

Italian soil, with colors ranging

from light gray (lowest value) to

purple (highest value).

How should this map be read?

We have just said that the

hazard is defined in probabilistic

terms as the probability

that in a certain time lapse an

earthquake with a certain intensity

occurs: in this map, as

described in its upper banner,

what we can read is the maximum

ground acceleration that

has a probability of 10% to be

exceeded in a time lapse of 50

years on stiff soils. Without

going into the details of formulas,

this means that the value of

acceleration we are reading is

the one that has a return period

of 475 years, that is the one

of the seismic action used to

design and verify ordinary buildings

according to the Italian

Building Code (NTC).

Table in Fig. 3 shows the relation

between the value of PGA

and the corresponding seismic

Fig. 3 - Seismic zone classification and PGA values.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 13


REPORT

Fig. 4 - Amplification of seismic waves (site effect).

Fig. 5 - Simple oscillator.

zone, from Zone 1 (highest

hazard) to Zone 4 (lowest hazard).

Furthermore, as specified in

the description of the map, the

value of PGA we can read is

the one expected on a hard soil,

corresponding to the bedrock.

This allows us to introduce

another fundamental aspect

that must be considered to

determine the value of acceleration

expected at the base of the

building: the soil effect.

The layers of soft soil act like

a filter and modify the seismic

waves that arrive from the bedrock,

emphasizing some of the

frequencies in the signal and

modifying the actual accelerations

that will reach the base of

the building (Fig. 4). Basically,

it is like an equalizer in a hi-fi

audio system: the original input

signal passes through the filter

that modifies its frequency

content, giving the equalized

signal as its output. In terms

of amplitude, when a seismic

wave passes from a stiffer layer

to a softer one, it decreases its

speed. As a consequence, in

order to conserve the energy, its

amplitude increases. In general,

we can say that the softer the

ground is, the more the accelerations

on the ground level will

be amplified. In light of the

above, the soil plays an important

role in the seismic hazard

of a given site: depending on

the situation, a building lying

on a soft soil in a seismic zone

3 could be actually subject to

a higher acceleration than the

one lying on a hard soil in a

seismic zone 2.

In conclusion, the seismic hazard

gives us the value of acceleration

we expect at the base

of a given building, depending

on the site location and the

characteristics of the soil.

Can we say that this acceleration

is the same that acts on the

building?

To answer this question, let’s

make a little mental experiment:

let’s consider a sphere

with a given mass m that lies

on top of a stick, with a given

stiffness k (Fig. 5). If we take

the base of this object and

start to move the base back

and forth, the sphere on the

top will start to move as well.

It is easy to imagine that the

sphere will not exactly follow

the movement of the base, but

will move in a different way,

depending on the stiffness k

of the stick and the mass m

of the sphere. This is exactly

what happens when a building

is subject to an earthquake:

the way in which the building

tends to behave depends on

the input excitation, obviously,

but also on its characteristics in

terms of stiffness and mass. In

particular, the way a structure

behaves when subject to vibration

is described by its mode of

vibration, that will be described

further into this article.

Seismic vulnerability of buildings:

the local mechanism of

collapse

When an earthquake occurs,

the ground starts moving horizontally

and vertically and

the building starts to sway and

deform. The way in which

buildings respond to a given

seismic action can be very different,

depending on factors like

structural typology, materials,

age, level of maintenance.

The seismic action at the base

results in an additional load

that induces a further stress

distribution in the structural

parts. When the building has a

box-like behaviour and acts as

a single body, the stresses are

distributed among the elements

according to their stiffness and

the whole structure gives a contribution

in terms of resistance.

This is the typical behaviour

of a Reinforced Concrete (RC)

building, where the frame composed

by beams and columns is

a continuous structure that internally

distributes the stresses

14 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

among the elements.

Unfortunately, although this

kind of behaviour is highly

desirable, this too often doesn’t

happen in masonry structures:

during the seismic event the

masonry building can experience

partial collapses due to

the loss of equilibrium of some

masonry portions. These kinds

of collapses are called local collapse

mechanisms and they are

one of the main issues in the

seismic analysis of masonry buildings.

The causes of this behaviour

generally lie in the lack

of construction (e.g. poor masonry

quality, poor connection

between orthogonal walls, no

connection between slabs and

walls) or lack of maintenance

during the building’s lifecycle.

One of the most common and

dangerous mechanisms of local

collapse is the overturning of

the perimeter walls (Fig. 6):

due to poor connection with

the transversal walls, a portion

of the building subject to the

earthquake comes loose from

the rest and overturns on its

base, involving one or more

floors depending on the connections

between the elements.

When the condition of the building

makes this local mechanism

possible, this is generally

the one that activates first, for

relatively low levels of acceleration.

Another local mechanism

that is pretty common in masonry

building is the vertical

bending (Fig. 7): during the

seismic event, the slab pushes

against the facade and the wall

bends out of its plane.

This kind of mechanism is

generally caused by a poor masonry

quality and no connection

between slabs and vertical

walls and the level of acceleration

required for its activation

is pretty higher than the previously

described overturning.

For this reason, it can take

place when the first mechanism

is prevented by an effective

connection at the top of the

perimeter wall.

Seismic vulnerability of buildings:

the global response

From a seismic point of view,

a well-designed building must

not be damaged by a low intensity

earthquake, not structurally

damaged by a medium intensity

earthquake and must not collapse

when a strong earthquake

occurs, despite severe damages.

The concept of low, medium

and strong intensity is closely

related to the previously described

seismic hazard of the site.

This is the basic philosophy of

today’s seismic codes.

A building in its operating

conditions is mainly subject

to the static loads induced by

the permanent and variable

loads, where the former are

the weights of its structural

and non-structural parts and

the latter are those that are not

constant over the time (e.g., the

presence of people, furniture in

the rooms and the action of the

wind).

The analysis of the previously

described local mechanisms is

a fundamental part in the seismic

vulnerability assessment of

masonry buildings, as their prevention

shall ensure the desired

box-like behaviour in which

the structure responds to the

seismic action as a single body

involving all of its structural

parts.

In order to check how this single

body will behave under a

given seismic event, we have to

introduce the concept of mode

of vibration.

Each building, and more in

general each physical object, is

characterized by a series of vibration

modes that describe the

way in which the system tends

to oscillate naturally, i.e. with

Fig. 6 – Example of overturning of perimeter wall.

no excitation force. The frequency

value at which it oscillates

is called natural frequency

and the shape it assumes during

the oscillation is called mode

shape.

When the frequency of the

exciting vibration is equal,

or very close, to the natural

frequency of a given mode of

vibration, we have the phenomenon

of the resonance and

the system starts to oscillate

according to the mode shape.

A simple example of this

phenomenon is given by the

diapason: when you hit the

diapason, it starts to vibrate ac-

Fig. 7 - Example of vertical bending.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 15


REPORT

Fig. 8 - Apartment complex collapsed after the 1985 Mexico

City earthquake.

cording to its natural frequency

at 440 Hz (corresponding to

the musical note A4) and if we

put a vibrating diapason near a

still one, after a few seconds the

latter will start to oscillate in

the same way.

The same happens for buildings:

the seismic waves of an

earthquake contain a number

of frequencies and if the frequency

content is very close to

the natural frequencies of the

building the resonance phenomenon

induces an amplification

of the strong motion. An

even worse case is the double

resonance phenomenon: this

happens when the soil and the

building have similar frequencies

and they are both strongly

excited by the earthquake, so

that they both acts as amplifiers

of the seismic motion. One of

the most famous cases of double

resonance is the earthquake

which struck Mexico City in

1985 (Fig. 8).

In general, the damages produced

by an earthquake tend to

decrease as the distance from

the epicenter increases, because

the seismic waves are subject to

an attenuation but in the case

of Mexico City the most of the

damage occurred at about 400

Km from the epicenter: the

softness of the soil where the

city lies caused an amplification

of the seismic waves and

the very similar frequencies of

buildings and soil has led to a

double resonance phenomenon

(Fig. 9).

In the light of above, the correct

estimation of the structural

modes of vibration plays a

fundamental role in the seismic

vulnerability assessment. In

general, they are determined

through a modal analysis using

a numerical model like a Finite

Element (FE) model, built on

the basis of data like the structural

geometry, the mechanical

features of the materials, the

masses and their disposition

(Fig. 10).

Once a suitable seismic input is

defined, the stress acting on the

structural elements due to the

seismic action are determined

on the basis of the vibrational

characteristics obtained with

the modal analysis. Finally,

the structural elements of the

buildings are verified according

to their material strength,

considering the state of stress

induced by both the static and

dynamic loads, in order to

assess the vulnerability of the

considered building.

The accuracy of the results

clearly relies on the accuracy of

the numerical model and one

of the key aspects is a proper assessment

of the mode of vibration

of the structure. Upstream

of a numerical model, a number

of inspections and surveys

are carried out in order to get

the information about geometrical

and mechanical features

of the structural elements

which will be included in the

FE model.

Of course, the more comprehensive

these local surveys

are the more accurate the global

model will be in terms of

modes of vibration estimation

and, consequently, assessment

of dynamic response of the

structure. Which begs the question:

is it possible to identify

the real modes of vibration of

an existing building, in order

to compare them with the ones

calculated numerically?

Yes, it is. Through the dynamic

identification.

Dynamic identification of existing

buildings

Basically, a building subject to a

vibration tends to act as a filter

which modifies the original signal

on the basis of its physical

characteristics. Once again, the

Fig. 9 - Soil effect during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

Fig. 10 - Example of FE model.

16 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

Fig. 11 – A vibrodyne used to apply an input

to a building.

example of the equalizer in a

hi-fi audio system that we used

when talking about the soil has

a good match with our specific

case. The way in which the original

signal is modified when

passing through the building is

highly dependent on its dynamic

characteristics and a suitable

analysis of these signals allow

us to extract the vibrational

characteristics of the building,

i.e. its modes of vibration.

The dynamic identification

of an existing building can be

carried out using two main

techniques, which differ in

terms of required equipment

and implementation rules: the

Experimental Modal Analysis

(EMA) and the Operational

Modal Analysis (OMA).

Both of the techniques require

the positioning of sensors in

different points of the building

under examination (typically

accelerometers or velocimeters)

in order to acquire the structural

response, but the main difference

between the former and

the latter is due to the exciting

force.

In EMA, the structure is

artificially excited by using

equipment which applies an

external known excitation (Fig.

11). As these machines must

be able to induce forces that

involve the entire building, it

is easy to imagine that they are

massive equipment that have to

be fixed to the structural parts,

generally at the top level of the

building, making their transportation

and assembly very

onerous. As a consequence, this

kind of measurements are quite

invasive and lead to the interruption

of the serviceability in

the examined building until all

the equipment has been removed.

On the contrary, in the case of

OMA no external excitation

force is required: the sensors

placed in the structure acquire

the very small vibrations induced

by external factors like

the people moving inside, the

wind, the traffic in neighboring

streets and so on. This feature

implies an important advantage

over the previously described

EMA: such measures do not

require the building to become

off-limits location, as the target

of the measurements are the

vibrations of the building in

its operational condition when

subject to the so-called environmental

noise. Furthermore,

due to the low level of vibrations,

the sensors can be often

just placed on the floor with no

need to drill holes in the walls.

Of course, there is also some

drawback: as the amplitude of

the environmental vibrations

can be orders of magnitude

lower than the ones induced

by the heavy machines used in

EMA, the accelerometers to be

used must have a very high sensitivity,

which leads to a higher

equipment cost.

Despite this, it’s quite clear that

in the application to the civil

engineering field a non-invasive

approach like the Operational

Modal Analysis is much more

suitable than the Experimental

Modal Analysis, which remains

a profitable technique widely

used in fields like mechanics

and aerospace engineering.

Regardless of whether EMA

or OMA is performed for the

identification, the knowledge

of the experimentally identified

modes of vibration provides

a significant added value to

the seismic vulnerability assessment

of buildings. When

performing a typical seismic

vulnerability analysis, the theoretical

frequencies and mode

shapes computed through the

numerical model can be compared

with the experimental

ones in order to improve the

accuracy of the calculation model,

making it closer to the real

behaviour of the considered

structure.

For example, the model can be

calibrated by fine-tuning some

of the parameters characterized

by a greater uncertainty,

e.g. the stiffness of the infill

walls in a Reinforced Concrete

building. When modeling

complex buildings, the comparison

between the numerical

and experimental mode shapes

can also highlight the need to

include other structural blocks

whose influence on the dynamic

global response cannot be

neglected.

Furthermore, experimental

modes of vibration can also

be used to check and valida-

Fig. 12 - Tool for the analysis of the local mechanisms

of collapse (top) and example of two

custom mechanisms (bottom).

GEOmedia n°3-2018 17


REPORT

te the efficiency of a seismic

retrofitting, by verifying the

actual match between the real

dynamic behaviour and the designed

one.

Another application is in the

structural health monitoring:

the natural frequencies of a building

depends on its mechanical

features. The occurrence of

a damage produces a reduction

of the structural stiffness and

a decrease in the natural frequencies.

As a consequence, the

comparison between the modes

of vibration identified before

and after a seismic event may

point out a non-visible damage,

which can be also located and

quantified by using appropriate

techniques.

Fig. 13 - 3D model created from 2D floor plan in Planner.

Tools and instruments: work

in progress

As part of the collaboration

between Roma Tre University

and GEOWEB S.p.A., some

tools are being developed relating

to the topic of seismic risk.

In particular, two of them are

related to the topics briefly described

in this article.

The first one is designed for

masonry buildings and allows

the practitioner to verify the

potential occurrence of local

mechanisms of collapse (Fig.

12 - top), in accordance with

the provisions of the Italian

building code. This tool will

be integrated in the Planner,

the 2D/3D graphical editor

developed by GEOWEB in its

Metior Platform, which easily

allows the user to create 3D

models of buildings from the

2D floor plans (Fig. 13), to

be used for several purposes:

in the context of the Selective

Deconstruction, for instance,

they allow to schedule, quantify

and support either the demolition

or the refurbishment activities

aiming to maximize the

amount of materials recycled

or even reused, and minimizing

the amount of materials

dumped to landfill; an ad-hoc

version of the Planner, named

BaM (Building and Modeling),

has been adopted in an education

program which is currently

being carried out at the first

level of Italian secondary school

to promote the adoption of

recycling best practices and to

raise awareness about energy

saving issues.

Thanks to the implementation

of the previously described tool,

its integration in the Planner

will enable the user to choose

the portion of the building –

i.e. its modeled geometry - to

analyze and to calculate the

acceleration required for the

activation of a local mechanism

of collapse, comparing it with

the provisions of the building

code.

In addition to the more common

mechanisms like the

previously described ones, the

user is also able to define and

analyze custom mechanisms,

which may be required for the

structural situation under examination

(Fig. 12 - bottom).

The second tool is focused on

the dynamic identification of

existing buildings and allows

the practitioner to analyze the

environmental vibration signals

acquired by the accelerometers,

supporting all the steps that

lead from the model definition

to the identification of the experimental

modes of vibration.

The software implements some

robust and reliable algorithms

from scientific literature for the

modal parameters extraction

and offers several advanced

tools for signal preprocessing

and the validation of the final

results (Fig. 14).

The software is specifically designed

for application in the field

of civil engineering, and thanks

to its building-oriented nature,

specific control indices have

18 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

been implemented given their

relevance in the identification

of buildings dynamics.

The geometric information

input is very flexible: geometry

data import can be carried

out from several widespread

formats, like spreadsheets and

CAD files; it is also possible to

directly import geometry data

from a model created in the

Planner (Fig. 15).

The equipment used for the

acquisition is generally quite

expensive, due to the high level

of sensitivity required to detect

small amplitude vibrations like

environmental ones, and when

a significant number of measuring

points is required this set

of instruments can cost several

thousand Euros. Given the importance

that this kind of measurements

has in the seismic

behaviour assessment of buildings,

efforts are being made to

develop a measurement system

with a suitable trade-off between

the required performance

and the cost.

A significant cost reduction,

both in terms of hardware and

software, together with the development

of tools able to assist

the user during the design and

the execution of the measurement

phase, would certainly

help to increase the usage of

the dynamic identification in

the seismic vulnerability assessment.

The implementation of a lowcost

hardware will also lead

to the development of an affordable

monitoring system,

designed to be permanently

installed on the building, in

order to periodically acquire

environmental vibrations and

perform a check of its vibrational

characteristics over time.

Nowadays, the Building

Information Modeling (BIM)

process is becoming increasingly

important and widespread

in the building sector,

playing a key role in

all stages of the building’s

lifecycle - from

its design to its maintenance.

The tools developed

in the framework of

the Metior research

project allow the user

to create a virtual reality

in which the 3D

representation of the

real-world objects is

combined with their

semantics, i.e. their

features and the role they play

in the building system, in full

accordance to the BIM philosophy

whose aim is to create a digital

representation of physical

and functional features of the

building.

As a consequence, with a view

to enhancing this 3D virtual

reality model, relevant information

which would be helpful in

safeguarding and maintaining

Fig. 14 - Software for dynamic identification: signal acquisition and preprocessing

panel.

of existing buildings can be added.

One of the next targets in

the Metior platform is the integration

of the semantic model

with the data related to the experimental

modes of vibration

of the building.

And this is something that, as

we have seen throughout this

article, can offer a huge added

value in understanding the real

dynamic behaviour of the existing

building stock.

Fig. 15 - Import of geometry from Planner 3D model.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 19


REPORT

REFERENCES

Acunzo, G., Fiorini, N., Mori, F., Spina, D., (2018), Modal mass estimation from ambient vibrations measurement: A method for civil buildings,

Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing 98C, 580-593

Acunzo, G., Gabriele, S., Spina, D., Valente, C., (2014), MuDI: a multilevel damage identification platform, Proceedings of the 12th International

Conference on Computational Structures Technology (CST2014), Naples, Italy, paper 123.

Di Carlo A., Shapiro V., and Paoluzzi A., Linear Algebraic Representation for Topological Structures, Computer-Aided Design, Volume 46,

Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 269-274

Marino, E., Spini, F., Paoluzzi, A., Salvati, D., Vadalà, C., Bottaro, A., Vicentino, M. (2017), Modeling Semantics for Building Deconstruction,

Proceedings of the 12th International Joint Conference on Computer Vision, Imaging and Computer Graphics Theory and Applications

(VISIGRAPP 2017), Porto, Portugal, 274 - 281

Norme Tecniche per le Costruzioni - Approvate con Decreto Ministeriale 17 gennaio 2018

Ranieri, G., Fabbrocino, Operational Modal Analysis of Civil Engineering Structures: An Introduction and Guide for Applications, Springer,

Berlin (2014)

KEYWORDS

Structural engineering; seismic risk; environmental vibration; operational modal analysis; BIM; 3D modeling

ABSTRACT

This paper presents a brief overview of the concept of seismic risk, with particular regard to existing civil buildings. Given that the seismic risk can be

expressed as a combination involving seismic hazard and seismic vulnerability, these aspects are both discussed, describing the factors that lead to the

expected seismic input at the base of a building as well as the ones determining its vulnerability.

The way a building tends to react when it is subject to an external vibration is closely connected to its geometrical and mechanical features, which

determine what in structural engineering are commonly called “vibrational modes”. As a consequence, an accurate estimation of these modes is a

fundamental condition in order to assess the structural response under seismic action. Several experimental techniques aimed at the identification

of the vibrational modes for existing buildings and the way in which such parameters can be used in the vulnerability assessment field are described

in the present work.

AUTHOR

Gianluca Acunzo , gacunzo@os.uniroma3.it

Michele Vicentino, mvicentino@geoweb.it

Antonio Bottaro, abottaro@geoweb.it

Geoweb

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CORSI SU PRINCIPALI SOFTWARE GEOGRAFICI OPEN SOURCE

www.gis3w.it 20 GEOmedia n°3-2018 - info@gis3w.it - Phone +39 349 1310164


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GEOmedia n°3-2018 21


REPORT

THE MANIFESTO OF THE SOCIETY 5.0

Ground movements are common

phenomena across Europe and

worldwide. It is known that

sometimes they can be quite

severe, causing displ There is a

tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads

on to fortune; Omitted, all the

voyage of their life Is bound in

shallows and in miseries. dal

“Giulius Caesar” di Shakespeare

acement of upto one meter over

few years. Actually, movements of

only few centimetres can cause

damage around buried pipes and

infrastructures.

This Manifesto is addressed

to all the participants of the

Digital Revolution (scientists,

technologists, administrators, entrepreneurs)

who, in the context

of social transformations induced

by new technologies, want to contribute

to creating the future of

our children according to ideals

of positive and sustainable values.

Today, we are at the beginning of

the Digital Revolution and like all

revolutions, at this stage, it is not

possible to predict with certainty

what the social outcomes will be.

Premise

Social development has always

been featured by epic transitions

enabled by technological innovation.

Nowadays technology is

not just more powerful than it

used to be in the past, it is different

too: it generated a Digital

Revolution that is creating a new

knowledge ecosystem that includes

all the topics.

The Manifesto of Society 5.0

is a call to action. Through the

Manifesto I wanted to state, in

this early stage of Digital revolution,

the importance of a

model of society called ‘Society

5.0’ which, setting Man and his

needs in the focus point, is able

to answer the challenges of his

own time balancing economic

progress and social issues solutions.

With the ‘Society 5.0’ the

look on Industry 4.0 becomes

wider: from the optimisation of

production processes to the actual

treatment of social subjects,

with the aim of reaching a

complete cooperation between

Technology, Artificial intelligence

and Mankind.

In order to realize the Vision

of Society 5.0 is necessary a paradigma

that starts from needs

& solutions mapping to C2B

(citizen to business) concrete

resolutions. In other words starting

from citizens’ needs. The

enabling element of this paradigma

is the ‘Science of Where’,

because everything starts from

Humanity’s necessities.

I think we can operate to determine

our future to produce positive

outcomes for Man, working

not just at technologies but at

their destination.

The ‘Society 5.0’ development

will happen in different geographical

areas and at different

times because it is a result of the

meeting - on land – between government

actions and Research

and Industry’s initiatives.

For the objective of establishing

this model of society and

sharing the Manifesto, I make

Geoknowledge Foundation

(www.geoknowledgefoundation.

com) available, as founded by

me, with the aim of promoting

the use of geographic knowledge

for ethical-social purposes.

Bruno Ratti - Founder of

Geoknowledge Foundation

We can instead provide innovative

products and services generating

technologies that vertebrate this

revolution.

So we can, using the Shumpeter's

model, predict the possible impacts

on society, but we have no answer

to the question: Will the progress

of technologies lead to a society

that is oblivious to human needs

or will it generate a society that

is polarized only on productive

efficiency with a labor force humiliated

by the competition with

Artificial Intelligence? We can only

22 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

say that everything will depend

on how the process of change will

be governed. So, it is essential to

operate in order to affirm the paradigm

of a society that, by leveraging

new technologies, is better

able to respond to the challenges

of its time such as:

• the protection of Creation,

• safety from natural and manmade

disasters,

• preservation of natural and cultural

heritage,

• socio-economic development,

• the education of the new generations,

that is, "a society, with man at

the center, that balances economic

progress with the solution

of social problems through a

system that strongly integrates

cyber space with physical space",

defined as Society 5.0 in the 5th

Science and Technology Basic

Plan document published by the

Japanese Government in April

2016. With the Society 5.0 the

Vision of the Industry 4.0 is

extended, going from the optimization

of production processes

to the treatment of social problems,

with the aim of achieving

a complete collaboration between

Technology, Artificial Intelligence

and Man. In order to implement

the Vision of the Society 5.0, a

paradigm is needed which starts

from the mapping of needs and

solutions in terms of C2B (citizen

to business), so that starts from

the needs of citizens. The enabling

element of this paradigm

is the Science of Where, because

everything starts from where

human needs are. The Science

of Where brings benefits in all

the processes of knowledge because

it combines the dimension

of Where with the traditional

dimensions of How, When and

Why and allows to direct the focus

of the social development on

the individual needs.

The methods and enabling

technologies of the Science of

Where derive from the progress

of Digital Geography generated

by the research and development

carried out in the laboratories of

the Esri (Environment Systems

Research Institute). Through the

Esri WebGIS platform technologies

and the systemic analysis

of Big Data, coming from the

Internet of Things and aerospace

sensors, the Science of Where is

defining new ways of designing

and living the environment and

the city. By predicting the social

consequences of the Digital

Revolution, we are faced with a

dilemma: will the innovation process

be governed only to increase

the production capacity of the

machines, or will the innovation

process be governed to respond to

the vital needs of man?

It does not seem opportune to

me to leave to historians the task

of diagnosing, once things are

done, how social development

will have been determined as a

result of the Digital Revolution.

I call for action in order to

contribute to the realization

of the Vision of our future according

to a humanistic ideal.

It is essential to act, because as

Jack Dangermond says: Vision

without Action is only a dream,

Action without Vision is a hobby,

Vision and Action together

can change the world. To implement

this action I propose to

apply the Futurecraft method,

"the art of building the future:

hypothesizing future scenarios

examining the consequences and

needs and sharing the results, to

allow an exchange of ideas and

open a public debate", as Carlo

Ratti writes in his book "The

City of Tomorrow". The target

is therefore to create a society

vision, where a higher value is

recognized for human interaction

with technology and the Society's

ethical, social and economic values

are rooted throughout the

Society 5.0. The development of

a Society 5.0 will take place in

different countries with different

methods and timing, because it

will depend on the meeting that

will take place between the actions

of governments and the initiatives

of Industry and Research.

In order to do this, I propose that

all those who wish to contribute

to the realization of this Vision

constitute in their countries a

Community which, operating

according to the sharing and reuse

paradigms of the Knowledge

Society, guarantee:

• the verbalization of a common

epistemology 5.0;

• coordination of public or private

initiatives;

• sharing and reuse of the results

of the experiments;

• assessment of the social impact

of initiatives;

• conducting a public debate on

the results achieved.

As a community aggregation

point, I make available the

Academy of the Geoknowledge

Foundation founded by me to

promote the use of Geographical

Knowledge for ethical and social

purposes www.geoknowledgefoundation.it.

The action of the Communities

will realize our ideal of contributing

to the creation of a future

with a human face.

Bruno Ratti

GEOmedia n°3-2018 23


Cabo Verde

For World Oceans Day, the Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite

takes us over the Atlantic Ocean and the Republic of Cabo

Verde.

Several of the small islands that make up the archipelago of Cabo Verde can

be seen peeking out from beneath the clouds. These volcanic islands lie in the

Atlantic Ocean about 570 km off the west coast of Senegal and Mauritania, which

frame the image on the right.

The most striking thing about this image, however, is the dust and sand being carried

by the wind towards Cabo Verde from Africa. The sand comes mainly from the Sahara and

Sahel region. Owing to Cabo Verde's position and the trade winds, these storms are not uncommon

and can disrupt air traffic.

However, this sand also fertilises the ocean with nutrients and promotes the growth of phytoplankton,

which are microscopic plants that sustain the marine food web.

The iron in the dust is particularly important. Without iron mammals cannot make haemoglobin

to transport oxygen around the bloodstream and plants cannot make chlorophyll to photosynthesise.

Research has shown that around 80% of iron in samples of water taken across the North Atlantic

originates from the Sahara. It can be assumed, therefore, that life in the deep ocean

depends on this delivery of fertiliser from one of the worldís most parched regions.

World Oceans Day takes place on 8 June each year and celebrates the ocean, its importance

in all our lives, and how we can protect it.

This image was captured on 30 May 2018.

(Credits: ESA - Image of the week: "Capo Verde".


MERCATO

PIX4D’S FIRST FULLY DEDICATED PRODUCT

FOR AGRICULTURE – PIX4DFIELDS: CREATED

WITH THE INPUT OF FARMERS, AGRONOMISTS

AND BREEDERS IS NOW LIVE.

We worked with farmers, agronomists and breeders to shape

Pix4Dfields. Over the past two months, a select group of beta testers

has used the product all over the world. Their feedback not

only demonstrates that Pix4Dfields values real-world situations,

but has also set the pace for new features you can expect to see in

the coming months.

Today, we are happy to announce that Pix4Dfields is now commercially

available and open for everyone on both macOS and

Windows.

Why you should consider Pix4Dfields for your agriculture

workflow:

• This product is developed with input from farmers, agronomists

and breeders, meaning Pix4Dfields focuses on what matters

when it comes to agriculture fields of application.

• Pix4Dfields is equipped with our instant results processing engine

that provides accurate results faster than before.

• The software has an easy-to-use interface with tools tailored to

agricultural workflows.

• Pix4Dfields allows you to produce results efficiently and rapidly

in the field, while performing more detailed analysis in

the office.

• The built-in analysis tools allow you to produce accurate and

repeatable measurements of crop health.

‘The processing speed of Pix4Dfields is excellent. You can have

your data in real time‘, Federico Alva, Consultant, ATYGES

Ingeniería.

‘Pix4Dfields has solved the processing bottleneck and without

compromising in image resolution’, Greg Crutsinger, Drone ecologist,

Scholar Farms

This product will continue to grow and evolve rapidly.

Pix4Dfields was designed with input from the agricultural industry,

and so will continue to evolve with the feedback from

our users.

Pix4Dfields is now available for both macOS and Windows

and supports RGB, Parrot Sequoia and MicaSense RedEdge

cameras(awaiting latest firmware update)

To learn more about Pix4Dfields, visit the Pix4Dfields product

page and test it out one month for free.

www.pix4d.com/

VIDALASER AND FOIF INVITE AT

INTERGEO 2018

vidaLaser, leading company in the production of laser for tunnel

excavation since 1975 with instruments designed for this specific

use. vidaLaser is able to customize its products following the

user's requirements and is able to produce instruments starting

from the specific requirements of the user following design, construction

and certification.

vidaLaser is the official importer of the FOIF Company, it follows

the commercialization and the official technical assistance.

FOIF has been producing topographic instruments since 1958

and is the world's leading company in this sector with official

offices all over the world.

vidaLaser has a laboratory equipped with primary instruments

certified by ACCREDIA for the calibration / calibration of topographic

instruments.

vidaLaser uses only original and official FOIF spare parts.

The technical staff, with a thirty-year experience in the service of

topographic instruments, a professional training matured with

refresher courses and daily experience, guarantees assistance and

professionalism in the official technical assistance of all FOIF

products in all its aspects.

FOIF products, famous all over the world for their precision and

reliability, include a wide range of topographic instruments, all

characterized by a constructive excellence and a care for details

that distinguish them on the world market.

26 GEOmedia n°3-2018


MERCATO

GNSS:

- multi-constellation systems for creating CORS networks.

- Multi-constellation receivers with connection to CORS

networks in RTK and connection in the local BASE-

ROVER system via uhf radio or via 3G telephone network

- Static multi-constellation receivers for the PPK

- GIS dedicated receivers

Total stations:

- Instruments for topographic and cadastral use.

- High-precision engineering and construction tools.

- Structural monitoring tools.

- Tools for tunnelling with gyroscope integrated in the total

station system - gyroscope, specific topographic programs

and resistance to the specific work environment.

Theodolites:

- Mechanical instruments of very fine construction and precision

in the best tradition.

- Electronic instruments also with high brightness laser

pointer integrated in the optical unit.

Mechanical optical levels:

- Self-levelling instruments for constructions.

- Self-levelling instruments for high precision levelling with

micrometer and reading at the invar rod.

Electronic optical levels:

- Instruments for levelling in the construction sector with

reading of the horizontal distance, calculation of the difference

in height and storage of the detected data.

- High precision levelling instruments with reading at the

bar code rod.

vidaLaser and FOIF invite you to discover all the 2018 news

at:

INTERGEO 2018 16-18 October 2018 Francoforte stand

No: 12.0C.071

info@vidalaser.com

www.vidalaser.com

GEOmedia n°3-2018 27


MERCATO

SATELLITES AND BIG DATA ANALYTICS

PROVIDE NEW EYES TO PROTECT THE SEA:

LEONARDO’S SEONSE PLATFORM

SEonSE (Smart Eyes on the SEas), Leonardo’s geospatial maritime

security platform is now available online. Thanks to the use

of cloud computing and of advanced big data analysis models,

SEonSE makes it possible to access in real-time, even from tablets

or smartphones, customised information on what happens at sea.

The announcement was made at the “Farnborough International

Airshow” exhibition being held in theUnited Kingdom, where

the solution implemented by e-GEOS (a joint venture between

Telespazio 80%and ASI 20%) was presented. This platform integrates

data coming from multiple sources and provide smultiple

services for maritime security and surveillance, monitoring of illegal

traffic, environment protection as well as fight against piracy.

“With SEonSE, maritime security can fully leverage on the advantages

offered by digital technology. A huge amount of data is automatically

processed in real-time for the protection of people and

the maritime environment” declared Luigi Pasquali, Leonardo’s

Coordinator of Space activities and Telespazio’s CEO. “This revolutionary

platform is based on the knowledge of an industrial

Group, Leonardo, a leader in the development and supply of integrated

systems and technologies for maritime domain awareness,

and on 25-years of experience in the Earth observation domain,

with e-GEOS as an international leader.”

SEonSE processes information acquired from satellites and coastline

radars and merges them on an automatic and continuous basis,

thanks to proprietary algorithms, with positioning data sent by

vessels (AIS, VMS, LRIT), registries of ships and various databases

along with meteorological and oceanographic information. This

data is then compared with historical information and customary

behaviors, making it possible to identify anomalous activities and

potential threats to security. The result is timely and easily accessible

information, crucial to identifying possible risks which are

signaled by automatically generated alerts to intercept the vessel

in question, to plan the actions of the relevant authorities and to

trace secure routes in hostile environments.

Crucial in terms of security and monitoring is the contribution

of satellite images, which allow the observation on a global scale

of cooperating or non-cooperating vessels – therefore even the

ones that do not comply with identification requirements at sea

– in any weather conditions, in remote areas, by day and night.

SEonSE, in particular, combines the high resolution and the flexibility

of the Italian COSMO-SkyMed radar satellite constellation

with the frequency of programmed acquisitions of the Sentinels of

the Copernicus European programme. In addition, the platform

already allows the integration of data generated by the constellations

of mini-satellites, like Planet and BlackSky, granting a nonstop

and complete updating of the situation at sea.

SEonSE also leverages on, in real-time, over 7 million AIS signals

sent every day by about 165,000 vessels which are managed by

exactEarth, the worldwide leader in Satellite AIS data services,for

global tracking of commercial ships. e-GEOS and exactEarth have

signed a partnership agreement at the Farnborough show.

SEonSE is based on an e-GEOS’ patent for the processing of satellite

data, already used in many activities for maritime security

and in international projects, like OCEAN2020, the European

Defence Fund strategic research programme for naval surveillance

technology and maritime safety, that is led by Leonardo.

RHETICUS®: THE NEW ERA OF

SATELLITE MONITORING

The European Copernicus Sentinel open

data together with the power of cloud infrastructures

provide players in the EO sector

with the unprecedented opportunity to

design operational Earth monitoring services,

shifting from the provision of data

to the provision of continuous monitoring

services.

At the forefront of this new innovative

model there is Rheticus®, a cloud-based

hub that processes satellite imagery and

geospatial data automatically, and delivers

geo-information services ready-to-use by

end-users. Actionable information are provided by means of thematic

maps, geo-analytics, pre-set reports, and alerts. Contents are

dynamically displayed through an intuitive and user-friendly web

dashboard, available 24/7 on any device.

By integrating contents generated by Rheticus® Platform with

Hexagon Geospatial’s Smart M.App technology, Planetek Italia

succeeded in creating several monitoring services that provide timely

solutions to address users’ needs in various industries. The

result is a series of Smart M.Apps, which are able to present users

with analytical views and help organizations

in easily detect varied patterns

and trends in data.

Rheticus® Network Alert is the first

successful Smart M.App developed.

It helps utility companies in the complex

and expensive task of the management

of inspections and maintenance

activities over their integrated water

and sewerage networks. Among our

Rheticus® active users, there are some

of the largest European utility companies,

as Hera Group, MM SpA, Acea.

Other industry-focused Smart

M.Apps are: Rheticus® Bridge Alert,

Rheticus® Road Alert, Rheticus® Railways Alert and Rheticus®

Infrastructure Alert, all designed around Rheticus® Displacement

fueled by radar data. These vertical services transform data into

actionable knowledge thanks to our business intelligence tools,

overcoming the concept of static maps.

By visiting https://www.rheticus.eu, it is possible to read further

information and case histories, or to start using a Free Trial

DEMO.

28 GEOmedia n°3-2018


2-4 APRIL 2019

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GEOmedia n°3-2018 29


MERCATO

calibration help you refine raw data for further analysis: you

can correct images for atmospheric effects and obtain the real

ground radiance or reflectance values.

NEW EOS PLATFORM LETS YOU RUN IMAGE

PROCESSING TASKS IN BROWSER

Most of your image analysis tasks that required ENVI or Erdas

Imagine software are now available online thanks to EOS

Platform. This new game-changing cloud service launched by

EOS Data Analytics provides GIS professionals with a one-stop

solution for search, analysis, storing, and visualization of large

amounts of geospatial data.

With EOS Platform you get access to an ecosystem of four

mutually integrated EOS products, which together provide a

powerful toolset for geospatial analysts. Image data is stored in

cloud-based EOS Storage and is available for image processing

or remote sensing analysis at any time; this can be a raw user file,

an imagery obtained from LandViewer or an output file from

EOS Processing.

There are at least two reasons why image processing is the platform’s

major asset: the processing of large data amounts runs

online and offers as many as 16 workflows with even more coming

soon. On top of that, users can get the best cartographic

features of EOS Vision for vector data visualization and, as announced

for the future, its analysis.

Data agnostic platform

When it comes to raster data, you can work with a variety of

satellite and airborne datasets in LandViewer, EOS Processing,

and EOS Storage. Users can also upload their own GeoTiff,

JPEG, JPEG 2000 files and apply GIS data processing algorithms

via API or from the web interface. EOS Vision is your tool

for vector data operations with multiple formats support (ESRI

Shapefile, GeoJSON, KML, KMZ).

The whole package for image processing

EOS Processing offers a great experience with its sixteen processing

workflows, including the popular raster tools (merge,

reprojection, pansharpening), remote sensing analytics, photogrammetry,

and proprietary feature extraction algorithms

that can’t be found anywhere else. Get your data ready for the

upcoming LiDAR analysis and 3D modeling as they’ll become

available soon.

Such pre-processing tasks as cloud detection or radiometric

Object detection, change detection, and classification

The convolutional neural networks, pre-trained by EOS Data

Analytics to extract features from imagery, let you apply stateof-art

methods to detect objects and track changes from space.

4Having only a set of multi-temporal images and change detection

workflow, you can track how illegal deforestation progresses

over time.

4Edge detection can show the exact boundaries of your agricultural

lands down to the last pixel.

4It is possible to estimate the parking lot traffic of largest shopping

centers with car detection algorithm.

The best of spectral analysis

Products within EOS Platform support almost all remote sensor

types and the user can choose from a long list of spectral indices

to calculate on the fly. Aside from the complete set of vegetation

indices (NDVI, ReCI, ARVI, SAVI, AVI, etc.), there are

also indices to outline landscape features (water, snow and ice

– NDWI, NDSI) and burned areas (NBR). The greatest thing

is that here you get the freedom of experimenting with spectral

bands and can create custom band combinations that best fit

your purposes.

Customize and analyze

The user-friendly interface of EOS Processing makes it easy to

manage processing workflows depending on the user’s business

needs. You can set the parameters for processing and repeatedly

use such customized workflow to automate high-frequency

analytical tasks. The coming updates will add an ability to create

custom algorithms from the available data processing operations.

Agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, and more industries

A tandem of EOS products offers a much-needed solution for

individuals, businesses, and organizations across numerous industries.

With vegetation indices and crop classification feature, agronomists

can continuously monitor crop conditions to detect plant

diseases, pests, droughts. Forestry specialists can assess fire damages,

monitor forest health, track and enforce logging restrictions.

EOS Platform is a great choice for regional and urban planning,

helping users identify land cover classes to generate a vegetation

map. It can also make a complete list of urban features like buildings,

roads, and other major features in the region.

The platform can tackle disaster management by measuring flood

extent and finding fire boundaries. When it comes to oil

and gas, it is capable of identifying oil rigs and assessing the

environmental impact.

EOS Data Analytics uses cloud-based services to address different

verticals with a single platform, scientifically proven

analytics, scale-ups and it builds products that could add value

to remote sensed data to deliver expert-level results for your business.

Unlock the full potential of Earth observation data with EOS

Platform, directly in your browser: https://eos.com/platform

30 GEOmedia n°3-2018


www.esriitalia.it

Soluzioni e Tecnologie

Geografiche per

la Trasformazione

Digitale


REPORT

Copernicus Sentinels missions and

crowdsourcing as game changers for

geospatial information in agriculture

by Flavio Lupia, Vyron Antoniou

Fig. 1 - Yearly occurrences of papers indexed by Google Scholars containing the

keywords: "Sentinel-1" AND "agriculture"; "Sentinel-2" AND "agriculture"; "Sentinel-3"

AND "agriculture".

Today, new advances in science and technology and,

above all, the open flow of rich datasets play a pivotal

role when it comes to better manage territory and its

resources. Agriculture is one of the relevant domains

where data from Earth Observation and their integration

with data from different sources (i.e. proximal and

ground sensors and even in-situ data from human

sensors) will provide many benefits. Such data-driven

opportunities are the backdrop of the transition toward

an innovative agriculture (see the concepts of smart

farming, farming 2.0, precision farming/agriculture,

digital agriculture, etc.). The following paragraphs

describes briefly two new opportunities for the

generation of data usable for agricultural application:

remotely sensed data from the Copernicus programme

and user generated data through crowdsourcing.

New options for mapping and

monitoring agriculture remotely

Agricultural sector is getting ever

more attention due to its role in

feeding a growing world population

by maximizing productivity

and optimizing natural resources

usage. At European level, agriculture

has great economic

relevance. According to 2013

Eurostat figures, 42.5 % of the

area of EU-28 was occupied by

agriculture and globally the EU-

28’s share was above the world

average (37.9 %).

More accessible data and information

can benefit the agricultural

sector and the effective implementation

of policies such as

the Common Agricultural Policy

(CAP). Though the current CAP

(2014-2020) has contributed

to agricultural sustainability,

the future CAP (beyond 2020)

will strive further to facilitate

smart and resilient farming and

actions to meet environmental

EU targets and to improve the

socio-economic tissue of rural

areas. Achieving these goals requires

a step up in research and

innovation.

Copernicus, the programme for

the establishment of a European

capacity for Earth Observation

(EO), is the chief example with

its geospatial big data delivered

with open data policy enacting a

big leap in agricultural mapping

and monitoring.

Copernicus is satellite-borne

EO, in-situ data and services

32 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

such as the Copernicus Land

Monitoring Service (https://

land.copernicus.eu/) providing

information on land cover/land

use and variables for vegetation

and water cycle monitoring for

applications in several domains

such as agriculture.

The Programme with its global

coverage, powerful sensors, continuity

of acquisition and open

data policy is opening up new

options to manage and control

actions needed by CAP objectives

for European agriculture.

Agricultural analysis can benefit

from products delivered by the

first three Copernicus Sentinels

missions operating with twin

satellites (A and B).

Sentinel-1 (S1), launched on 3

April 2014 (1A) and 25 April

2016 (1B), provides all-weather

and day/night microwave acquisition

(C-band Synthetic

Aperture Radar) in four exclusive

imaging modes with spatial resolutions

down to 5 m and a swath

width from 20 to 400 km.

Sentinel-2 (S2), launched on

23 June 2015 (2A) and on 7

March 2017 (2B), has a spatial

resolution (10, 20 and 60 m) suitable

for average size of parcels

in Europe, a low revisit time (5

days at Equator), a multispectral

sensor (visible, near-infrared

and red-edge channels) and 290

km swath width. These features

enable applications related to

seasonal and within-season crop

status analysis, yield prediction

and determination of nutrient

and irrigation needs. The integration

of S1 and S2 allows to

create very dense time series for

agricultural studies. Moreover,

S1 complements the multispectral

information of S2 by

acquiring under the clouds and

trough vegetation canopy.

Sentinel-3 (S3), launched on

16 February 2016 (3A) and 25

April 2018 (3B), has near-daily

acquisition at low resolution

(300 m), two swath widths of

1270 and 1420 km, a sensor

with high spectral quality with

three high accuracy thermal

bands usable for vegetation stress

monitoring. Co-location of bands

between S2 and S3 and the

existence of bands devoted to atmospheric

corrections ensure the

full integration of the products

generated.

As a whole, Sentinels will generate

long term time series

boosting several applications,

including change detection of

agricultural land, yield forecast

and definition and calibration of

agricultural models. Analytical

possibilities will be much more

powerful if integration with

others EO open data is considered

(e.g. Landsat missions).

The interests about Sentinels

missions and their potential application

in agriculture started

well in advance their operational

deployment, this is well depicted

by the growing trend of the

occurrences of the two terms

“Sentinel-x” and “agriculture”

within papers indexed by Google

Scholar (Figure 1).

Among the relevant projects

exploiting Sentinels data for

agriculture, Sen4CAP (http://

esa-sen4cap.org/) and Sen2-Agri

(http://www.esa-sen2agri.org/)

are two examples worth mentioning.

Aimed at developing

EO products and services with

open source code, Sen4CAP is

developed to increase efficiency,

traceability and to reduce costs

of the system managing the

payments for farmers under the

CAP. Sen2-Agri is designed to

demonstrate, through a useroriented

approach, the usability

of S2 time series for agricultural

monitoring for a wide range of

crops and farming practices. The

main output is a free and open

source processing system which

delivers several near real time

products (e.g. vegetation status

map, monthly cropland masks,

crop type maps).

Big geospatial data that is being

generated by Sentinel’s missions

call for a shift in data management

and analysis in order to

effectively extract powerful information

to support agricultural

management. New technological

solutions such as cloud-based

platforms and multi-core processing

systems are needed to effectively

manage these huge datasets.

The Thematic Exploitation

Platform (https://tep.eo.esa.

int/) and the Copernicus Data

and Information Access Services

(http://copernicus.eu/news/

upcoming-copernicus-data-andinformation-access-services-dias)

are two interesting solutions.

Crowdsourcing: the option for

bottom up data generation

In parallel with the authoritative

initiatives for systematic EO and

the collection of big geospatial

data for further analysis, there

are equally interesting developments

at the other end of

the spectrum: the citizens. The

evolution of crowdsourcing,

i.e. tapping the power of the

crowd to achieve specific goals,

usually through open and inclusive

processes, has evolved

into Volunteered Geographic

Information (VGI) for the

Geomatics domain. VGI, defined

as the harnessing of tools to

create, assemble, and disseminate

geographic data provided voluntarily

by individuals (Goodchild,

2007), has transformed the way

that geographic information can

be collected and maintained and

today intertwines with Citizen

Science (CS) which promotes

the volunteer from the position

of simple data provider to designer

and practitioner of scientific

work. These developments and

efforts have not been left without

support by the authorities.

In EU, a number of projects has

GEOmedia n°3-2018 33


REPORT

been funded that aim to promote

the engagement of citizens

to scientific endeavours (see for

example Horizon 2020 DITOS

project - http://www.togetherscience.eu/

- or the funding of

multiple projects through the

COST Action Scheme).

In this context, and given the

individual advantages of the

authoritative data acquisition on

the one hand and the bottomup

process of data collection on

the other, a new challenge has

appeared: how to combine the

best of the two worlds in a way

that will add value to the final

products and services that reach

the users. For example, effective

exploitation of EO for terrestrial

monitoring, and specifically

for agriculture, cannot avoid

the use of in-situ data necessary

for calibration/validation of

any derived product. Beyond

the classical tools for collecting

ground data, nowadays new

opportunities derive from CS

and VGI, where laypersons

or interested stakeholders can

actively or passively generate

georeferenced information that

can be merged with EO data.

For example, both volunteers

and farmers can provide relevant

in-situ data on bio-geophysical

properties of soils and crops. A

recent study (Dehnen-Schmutz

et. al., 2016) carried out in UK

and France showed that farmers

are confident in the use of apps

and expressed interest to participate

in CS projects especially

for data collection and real-time

monitoring. All these data can

be collected and analysed with

dedicated platforms so to deploy

advisory services for farmers that

will help them to improve crop

management and production.

Other examples can be found

at the Spece4Agri (http://space4agri.irea.cnr.it/it),

and the

FOODIE (http://www.foodieproject.eu/index.php)

projects

which use VGI for agriculture

or the LandSense (https://landsense.eu/)

project that uses

VGI for collecting Land Use

and Land Cover (LULC) data.

Space4Agri, developed a system

for integrating remotely sensed,

multi-source and heterogeneous

data, authoritative datasets

and in-situ data on crop development

and agro-practices created

by volunteer (agronomists,

farmers and citizens) to support

sustainable and precision agriculture

(Bordogna et al. 2016).

FOODIE is building a platform

hub on the cloud where spatial

and non-spatial data related to

agricultural sector are available

for agri-food stakeholders and

can be integrated for supporting

decision making process.

Data are collected from different

sources and made openly

available (e.g. OpenStreetMap,

voluntary collected data about

market situation, crops yield,

etc.). Finally, LandSense Citizen

Observatory aggregates innovative

EO technologies, mobile

devices, community-based environmental

monitoring, data

collection, interpretation and

information delivery systems in

order to empower communities

to monitor and report on their

environment.

While there are enormous potentials

from the synergy of

authoritative and crowdsourced

EO efforts, there are equally

some important caveats that

need to be addressed. Perhaps,

the most important one is data

quality. Quality issues can be

analysed from different perspective

and can affect heavily

the results when are used for

validating remotely sensed data

or used for modelling applications

in agriculture. Therefore,

knowing these issues is relevant

as quality can affect decisions

making process from the farming

level (i.e. precise management

of the agricultural production

process) to the policy

level (good implementation and

monitoring of economic and environmental

measures). Quality

evaluation of crowdsourced data

owes to cover multiple facets

of data at hand, facets that are

usually not considered when

dealing with authoritative data.

Thus, apart from the welldefined

spatial quality elements

(ISO 2013) of completeness,

logical consistency, positional

accuracy, temporal accuracy, thematic

accuracy and usability that

need to be thoroughly evaluated,

crowdsourced geographic information

should be also examined

against inherent biases. It is not

uncommon for volunteered

datasets to suffer from temporal

biases, as volunteers might be

able to contribute data only on

weekends or after-work hours;

positional biases, as it is easier

for volunteers to reach and

collect data from areas in their

vicinity or wherever the access is

not obstructed; or participation

biases, as there are social imbalances

regarding the people that

volunteer (i.e. it usually requires

for people to have enough free

time and the means to acquire

the needed equipment for data

collection). All these factors

need to be carefully considered

and evaluated (e.g. by defining

protocols for data collection

(Minghini et al., 2017) before

using crowdsourced geographic

information with authoritative

EO data.

34 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

REFERENCES

Bordogna, G.; Kliment, K.; Frigerio, L.; Stroppiana, D.; Brivio, P.A.; Crema, A.; Boschetti, M.; Sterlacchini, S. Spatial Data

Infrastructure integrating multisource heterogeneous geospatial data and time series: A study case in agriculture. ISPRS Int.

J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 73.

Dehnen-Schmutz, K., Foster, G.L., Owen, L. et al. Agron. Sustain. Dev. (2016) 36: 25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-

016-0359-9

Goodchild, M.F. (2007). "Citizens as sensors: the world of volunteered geography".

GeoJournal. 69 (4): 211–221. doi:10.1007/s10708-007-9111-y.

International Organisation for Standardisation, 2013. ISO19157:2013 Geographic information - Data quality, Geneva:

ISO.

Joint Research Centre, (2016). Concept Note - Towards Future Copernicus Service Components in support to Agriculture?

Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/jrcsh/files/Copernicus_concept_note_agriculture.pdf

Minghini, M, Antoniou, V, Fonte, C C, Estima, J, Olteanu-Raimond, A-M, See, L, Laakso, M, Skopeliti, A, Mooney, P,

Arsanjani, J J, Lupia, F. 2017. The Relevance of Protocols for VGI Collection. In: Foody, G, See, L, Fritz, S, Mooney, P,

Olteanu-Raimond, A-M, Fonte, C C and Antoniou, V. (eds.) Mapping and the Citizen Sensor. Pp. 223–247. London:

Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bbf.j.

KEYWORDS

Crowdsourcing; geospatial; remote sensing; monitoring; mapping; agriculture; Copernicus sentinels

ABSTRACT

A big leap in the agricultural sector is expected thanks to the operational deployment of Copernicus data and services, the new Earth Observation

program of the European Commission. The huge quantity of data delivered freely along with the good level of resolution (spatial, temporal and

spectral) will open up new opportunities for achieving the well-known sustainability of agriculture. At the same time, the new trends of crowdsourcing

and citizen science are delivering a great deal of geographical data collected by ordinary users with a bottom-up process. The two type of data

and their integration will be the base for the future application in the agricultural sector, albeit management of big geospatial dataset and quality of

user generated data are issues to be addressed.

AUTHOR

Flavio Lupia

flavio.lupia@crea.gov.it

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)

Via Po, 14 00198 Roma, Italy

Vyron Antoniou

Multinational Geospatial Support Group

Frauenberger Str. 250, 53879, Euskirchen, Germany

v.antoniou@ucl.ac.uk

L’eccellenza dei dati geografici

Toponomastica e numerazione civica

A beneficio degli ambiti di utilizzo più maturi ed esigenti, per la gestione e per la pianificazione geografica e quotidiana

delle reti e delle utenze, della grande e media distribuzione, della raccolta RSU, dei sistemi navigazionali e del car-sharing,

per l’attività politica e per quella amministrativa. www.studiosit.it • info@studiosit.it

GEOmedia n°3-2018 35


REPORT

Rheticus: Satellite-based

Information Services for Utilities

by Vincenzo Massimi

Ground movements are

common phenomena across

Europe and worldwide. It

is known that sometimes

they can be quite severe,

causing displacement of

up to one meter over few

years. Actually, movements

of only few centimetres

can cause damage

around buried pipes and

Fig. 1 - Satellite monitoring to prevent risks over water and sewer networks

infrastructures.

Traditional campaigns for

the regular monitoring

of large and remote

areas, however, employ considerable

financial resources and

time, and are often complex to

implement. This is the case of

utility companies, which need

to manage large and distributed

networks buried under the

ground.

Even if pipes and underground

networks are made with longlasting

materials, they are stressed

and damaged by ground

movements. This leads utility

companies to face continually

the complex and expensive task

of the maintenance of underground

pipelines, in order to

avoid possible heavy stress conditions

and, eventually, leaks in

the pipes.

These leaks can then accelerate

the erosion around the problem

area, disrupting services

and possibly creating larger

problems, damage to surface facilities,

properties and/or infrastructures,

or exposing people

to risks.

Utilities spend a lot of money

maintaining their networks

and fighting against leakages

and structural problems. Right

now, companies' maintenance

policies are strictly oriented to

recovery their assets in case of

disrupting service due to major

problems. A great number of

utility companies put in place

activities for pipe replacement

only in areas where severe subsidence

phenomena reveals leaks

in the pipes. Identifying ground

movements before they become

critical is a challenge.

The use of satellite data allows

overcoming these limitations

and obtaining frequent, accurate

and accessible information

thanks to the wide availability

of spatial information,

even in open data mode (e.g.

Copernicus Sentinels data,

INSPIRE data, etc.).

Satellite radar technology can

give a good predictive indicator

for where this may be occurring

by measuring where the

ground is subsiding around the

pipelines. Radar data, when

pushed through Interferometric

Synthetic Aperture Radar

(InSAR) analysis, can provide

changes in the ground level

with millimetre accuracy. The

European Space Agency’s

Copernicus programme includes

SAR data from the

Sentinel-1 constellation. Thus,

Sentinel-1 data can be exploited

to identify with high precision

where the ground starts subsiding,

allowing maintenance

36 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

Fig. 2 - List of applications by industry of the satellite-based Rheticus services.

strategies focused on those areas

under high risk, and before

structural problems occur.

Copernicus Sentinels + Cloud

infrastructures: the shift to

Information as-a-Service

The Sentinel open data together

with the power of cloud infrastructures

provide players in the

EO sector with the unprecedented

opportunity to design operational

Earth monitoring services.

Shifting from the provision

of data to the provision of

continuous monitoring services

(i.e., continuous access to information)

is the key point upon

which addressing real users’

needs in the new Era of Big

Data. Moreover, shifting from

monitoring services on request

to long time information services

available under subscription

is the real disruptive innovation

in the field of EO: end-users

pay for the information not for

the processing.

At the forefront of this new

innovative model there is

Rheticus, a cloud-based hub

that processes satellite imagery

and geospatial data automatically,

and delivers geo-information

services ready-to-use by endusers.

Designed and developed

by Planetek Italia, Rheticus

moves beyond mapping visualisation,

thanks to a broad range

of advanced geo-analytics. It

allows end-users to gain insight

into patterns not easily

identified through traditional

approaches to better understand

the whole story that lives within

data related to their assets (e.g.

roads, railways, buildings,

dams, mines, water supply networks

and utilities), combining

historical and daily/weekly

satellite imagery acquisitions.

Actionable information are

provided by means of thematic

maps, geo-analytics, pre-set reports,

and alerts. Contents are

dynamically displayed through

an intuitive and user-friendly

web dashboard, available 24/7

on any device or in Machineto-Machine

(M2M) mode directly

within users’ systems.

By integrating contents generated

by Rheticus Platform with

Hexagon Geospatial’s Smart

M.App technology, Planetek

Italia succeeded in creating several

monitoring services that

provide timely solutions to

address users’ needs in various

industries and vertical markets.

Planetek released four Smart

M.Apps: Rheticus Network

Alert, Rheticus Bridge Alert,

Rheticus Railways Alert and

Rheticus Infrastructure Alert,

all designed around Rheticus

Displacement fuelled by radar

data. These vertical services

transform data into actionable

knowledge thanks to our business

intelligence tools, overcoming

the concept of static

maps.

Rheticus Network Alert: using

satellite Radar data to identify

ground instabilities.

Rheticus Network Alert is a

turnkey web service that helps

utility companies in the management

of inspections and

Fig. 3 - Screenshot of the Rheticus platform showing displacement monitoring over the city of Milan, Italy.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 37


REPORT

maintenance activities over their

integrated water and sewerage

networks. By using satellite

radar data to identify ground

instabilities, Rheticus Network

Alert provides operators with an

always updated log of hot spots

within their network that can

reveal leaking pipes.

Thus, network's operators can

act on the information they

have. The service provides all the

information by means of geoanalytics,

maps and reports, released

on a monthly basis. Instead

of replacing pipes and connectors

after major leakage evidence,

Rheticus Network Alert allows

an 'a priori' approach, replacing

those pipes classified as possibly

at risk and before larger problems

occur. As a matter of fact,

companies better manage their

financial resources and reduce

service disruptions and/or threats

for people.

Among our Rheticus active

users, there are some of the largest

European utility companies,

which generally face costs per repair

ranging between 2.500,00-

5.000,00 €/km. Benefits of

subscribing our Rheticus services

ensure a high return on investment

thanks to the chance of

prevent severe damages, perform

focused maintenances, and avoid

costs for major repairs. Those

impacts on companies’ financial

statements were remarked

also by EARSC in “Copernicus

Sentinels’ Products Economic

Value: A Case Study”. Benefits

are even larger in areas exposed

to landslides, subsidence

and earthquakes.

Hera Group: exploiting satellite

data to enable the preventive

maintenance of pipelines

Hera, the second largest operator

in Italy by volumes of water supplied

(300 million cubic meters

per year), has always looked with

enthusiasm towards innovation,

the development of new technologies

and their testing. For

this reason, in 2016 it was the

first company in Italy to adopt

a system to search of water via

satellite to address the problem

of hidden leaks from water networks.

Subsequently, HERA decided

to start a test using Rheticus system,

with the aim of providing

an automatic system to exploit

satellite data in order to perform

complex analyses, and simplify

inspection planning.

In 2017, HERA first subscribed

to our Rheticus Displacement

service, activated over the

Province of Modena. In 2018,

HERA has adopted Rheticus

Network Alert and extended the

area of interest, now including

also the Province of Bologna,

reaching more than 6,200 km of

pipelines monitored from Space

over an area of about 3,500

square kilometres.

Furthermore, HERA Group

incorporates sophisticated

equipment (e.g., smart meters,

traffic-monitoring systems) together

with information from

citizens (e.g., distribution of

relevant emergency calls) into

its management processes, collecting

a great amount of data

related to its assets. It is not

feasible to exploit all those data

through traditional approaches.

Artificial Intelligence is the only

reasonable way to exploit them.

Machine learning algorithms

integrated in Rheticus Network

Alert will enable to better exploit

historical and real-time data,

thus supporting decision-making

about all relevant aspects of

HERA assets, from demand forecasting

to workforce capacity

management, emergency planning,

predictive maintenance,

optimized scheduling, more

accurate travel times, seasonal

service patterns, and so forth.

Since HERA is in charge of a

wide network covering a broad

area that requires great management

effort, following a proposal

from HERA, Rheticus Network

Alert will be increased with a

specific add-on functionality: the

ingestion of various information

layers to achieve a predictive

operational level alongside the

current support on daily inspection

planning and mid-term

network management.

In 2017, Planetek won the

“EARSC European Earth

Observation Company of the

Year Award”, and recently received

the “2018 Best Go-to

Market Strategy 2018 Award”

from Hexagon Geospatial,

announced at the HxGN Live

2018 Conference in Las Vegas –

Nevada.

Rheticus will be showcased

at INTERGEO 2018 (stand:

D.051 Hall: 12.1) in cooperation

with the global network of

Hexagon’s partners. By visiting

https://www.rheticus.eu, it is

possible to read further information

and case histories, or to start

using a Free Trial DEMO.

KEYWORDS

Rheticus; network alert; satellite data; radar;

copernicus sentinels; cloud infrastructures;

ground instabilities

ABSTRACT

Ground movements can cause damage around buried

pipes and infrastructures. Satellite radar technology

can give a good predictive indicator for where

this may be occurring, helping utility companies face

the complex and expensive task of the maintenance

of underground pipelines. Rheticus Network Alert is

a turnkey cloud-based service that processes satellite

imagery and geospatial data automatically to deliver

geo-information services, helping utility companies

in the management of inspections and maintenance

activities over their integrated water and sewerage

networks. Hera Group decided to start using Rheticus

system over the Provinces of Modena and Bologna,

Italy, with the aim of providing an automatic

system to exploit satellite data in order to perform

complex analyses, and simplify inspection planning.

AUTHOR

Vincenzo Massimi

massimi@planetek.it

Pre-Sales Technical Assistant Rheticus

Planetek Italia – https://www.planetek.it

38 GEOmedia n°3-2018


AEROFOTOTECA

L'AEROFOTOTECA

NAZIONALE RACCONTA…

[Italy’s National Archive of

Aerial Photography]

by Elizabeth J. Shepherd

Fig. 1 – © AFN archives. August 10, 1943. Sicily, Siracusa. German Luftwaffe photo over the Great

Harbour, taken one month after the Allied landing, with analysis of the enemy’s naval forces.

Italian archives of aerial photographs have

rich and varied holdings, which are a valuable

source for the study of the landscape

and of cultural heritage, especially in the

vast parts of the country that have been

affected by significant transformation in

the second half of the 20th century.

These archives are mostly military

(Istituto Geografico Militare www.igmi.

org and the Air Force historical archives

http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/storia/ufficiostorico/)

with a single exception:

the Aerofototeca Nazionale (AFN)

http://www.iccd.beniculturali.it/index.

php?it/98/aerofototeca-nazionale, the

Italian national archive of aerial photography,

today part of the Ministero

dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del

Turismo (Ministry of Cultural Heritage

and Tourism http://www.beniculturali.it).

AFN holds 20th century photographs

over the whole of Italy. It was established

in 1958 as a branch of the Gabinetto

Fotografico Nazionale (National

Photographic Lab & Archive) and, since

1975, has been part of the Istituto Centrale

per il Catalogo e la Documentazione

(ICCD– Central Institute for Catalogue

and Documentation), based in Rome.

AFN houses many collections produced

by public and private organizations. Some

of these have been purchased or donated,

while others are on loan to AFN from

military or civil institutions which retain

ownership. Aerial photographs were

produced by military bodies (Italian Air

Force, Istituto Geografico Militare, Allied

Forces during World War II), public organizations

(research institutes, regional

authorities) and private companies, most

of which are no longer in existence. A few

companies which are still operating have

deposited their historical collections with

the AFN, together with copies of recent

flights, of which they hold the copyright.

AFN also holds unique imagery from

World War II, that are not duplicated

elsewhere, despite the large numbers of

photographs of Italy in UK and USA

archives. These include ‘post-strike’ photographs

taken to help assess the success

of bombing raids. They highlight the potential

importance of this imagery in helping

to write history, recording as they do

events, alongside ongoing processes and

landscapes now

changed in many

ways.

AFN also houses

a large number of

maps drawn from

aerial photographs,

most of them accessed

through the

purchase of the

EIRA collection

(= Ente Italiano

Riprese Aeree)

http://www.iccd.

beniculturali.it/

index.php?it/553/

fondi-cartografici

and also https://

www.flickr.com/

people/aerofototecanazionale-iccd/

. There are also

a number of aerial

cameras, acquired with the Fotocielo

collection, and an exceptional array of

aerial photography-based map-making

equipment, part of the Aerofoto Consult

collection. They all illustrate the history

of aerial-photogrammetry in Italy since

World War II.

The large collection of aerial photographs

of Italy taken for military reconnaissance

purposes by the Allies during

the Italian campaign of 1943–1945 are

of course of extraordinary historical interest.

They were produced by strategic

photo-reconnaissance units of the Royal

Air Force (RAF) and the United States

Army Air Forces (USAAF), part of the

Mediterranean Allied Photographic

Reconnaissance Wing (MAPRW). The

sheer quantity of these photographs (roughly

1 million) and their historical significance

make this the most important collection

of aerial photographs in Italy. This

material includes unique imagery that is

not duplicated in the large holdings of

photographs of Italy held by NARA and

TARA.

Just as large is the historical collection

of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana

(Italian Air Force) deposited in AFN since

its foundation. The initiative of Gen.

Domenico Ludovico was crucial in this

regard, since he arranged for the transfer

to the archive of a large number of military

photographs which included areas

of archaeological interest; the collection

was subsequently enlarged with other

photographs, taken up to the 1970s. As

well as Gen. Ludovico, an important contribution

to the birth of AFN was made

by archaeologist Dinu Adamesteanu, who

was its first director, and Gen. Giulio

Schmiedt of the Istituto Geografico

Militare in Florence.

A photographic analyst of international

Fig. 2 – © AFN archives. Villafranca di Verona, Base Camp of the 3rd

Storm AM, May 1967. Activities of the photographers of an RF84F.

Courtesy Aeronautica Militare, Historical Photo Library.


standing, Gen. Schmiedt spent the whole

of 1960 organizing the AFN photographic

collections into an accessible archive. In

establishing a system that functions to

this day (www.iccd.beniculturali.it/aerofototeca/),

Schmiedt sought to put into

practice the aims of the founders, which

were, in the words of Adamesteanu, to

“gather, coordinate and make available to

the archaeological authorities all the aerial

photographs in our possession that may be

useful in streamlining surveys of the terrain”.

In the sixty years since its creation, the

fundamental task of AFN has been to gather

aerial photographs from all available

sources, provide for their conservation,

cataloguing and study, thus making them

available for a wide range of research and

survey purposes. Over time this has become

an irreplaceable resource for both historical

research in various disciplines and

regional planning, providing fundamental

documentation for many of the activities

of regional organizations in Italy.

WWII aerial photos in AFN

During World War II reconnaissance

flights by RAF and USAAF proved decisive

to the advance and victory of the Allied

Forces; however in southern Italy, immediately

after the Allied landing in Sicily in

July 1943, there were flights by the Regia

Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) and

the German Luftwaffe. These flights are

today a powerful historical record of the

appearance of the country before the great

infrastructural works and urbanization

that, from the early 1950s, have often deeply

altered the Italian agrarian landscape.

Regia Aeronautica

(Italian Royal Air Force)

Since 1923 every Italian army corps had

a group for aerial observation, assigned

aircraft already in use during WW I. In

1943 Guidonia (a military airport near

Rome) was chosen as the base for the

310th Photographic Recognition squadron,

equipped with panoramic cameras

mounted on the Macchi MC 205 aircraft.

German Luftwaffe (LW)

Some of the German photographic reconnaissance

flights were carried out before

the beginning of World War II, and

LW supplied Italy with various kinds of

aircraft, so that after four years the Italian

Air Force stood at 700 aircraft. War time

reconnaissance was carried out over Italy

by both German and Italian crews. AFN

holds in its archives about 100 images in

a 30 × 30cm format, generally taken after

the landing in Sicily and covering various

strategic areas in Southern Italy, such as

Fig. 3 - © AFN archives. May 4, 1944. Pontedera, near Pisa: the Allied bombing of the Piaggio

factory. MAPRW-RAF 683 Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron aerial photo.

harbours and airports. Aerial coverage in

the same format carried out by the Regia

Aeronautica with the same equipment has

also been acquired by AFN.

British Royal Air Force (RAF)

Photographic reconnaissance by the

RAF over Italian territory began as early

as September 1940, covering southern

Italy and Sicily from Malta and went on

until the end of hostilities. This included

the aerial reconnaissance by Adrian

Warburton on 10th November 1940 in

advance of the large-scale attack on the

Italian Fleet the following day – the Night

of Taranto.

The MAPRW-RAF collection was transported

from Puglia to Rome at the end

of World War II and deposited nearly entirely

in the British School at Rome, from

where it was loaned to AFN in 1974.

MAPRW-RAF aerial photographs in the

AFN holdings cover the years 1943–44.

These missions generally maintained

high altitudes (c.27,000 feet) in order to

avoid flak and used a 24-inch focal length

camera (c.1:10,000) and a 6-inch focal

length camera (c.1:50,000), generally

carried by Spitfires and Mosquitoes. The

MAPRW-RAF photographs are identifiable

by the squadron numbers (e.g. 680,

683 and 684) and are mostly of a 7 × 8

inch format. The makeshift airports of

the Tavoliere delle Puglie were used in order

to photograph the effects of the earlier

attacks, and these images focus on those

areas where the British military missions

were directed. They are a unique and irreplaceable

document for the study of a

historical situation of the Italian territory

in a particular moment of its evolution,

before the great urban and agrarian transformations.

The majority of the images taken of southern

Italy and the larger islands from

North Africa appear to have been taken

to Britain after the war, though some of

the 1943 imagery in the AFN will have

been taken by Allied units based in North

Africa.

United States Army Air Force (USAAF)

USAAF started its strategic reconnaissance

in Italy during the spring of 1943

when the Allies began preparing for the

invasion of Sicily, following the Trident

Conference in Washington. This imagery

mostly covers north-east Italy, complementing

MAPRW-RAF coverage which

is concentrated in the south. The USAAF

produced square prints at 9 × 9 inches

with prefi xes in the style of 23PS, 32S,

15SG, 5PRS and 12PRS indicating squadrons.

MAPRW-USAAF photos were donated

by the American Academy in Rome to

the AFN in March 1964, and are arguably

the most important part of the collection

as they fill large gaps in the holdings

of NARA and TARA of photographs taken

after air raids. However, they are not

as accessible as might be desired, as they

are stored in their original boxes making

consultation difficult and conservation an

absolute priority (please note that AFN is

asking for financial contributions in this

regard: http://artbonus.gov.it/1070-fondo-aerofotografico-storico-united-statesarmy-air-force-(usaaf,-1945)-dell’aerofototeca-nazionale-iccd.html).

More on the subject in http://www.

iccd.beniculturali.it/index.php?it/98/

aerofototeca-nazionale and (also in

English) https://beniculturali.academia.

edu/ElizabethJaneShepherd/Aerial-

Photography

KEYWORDS

AFN; Italian archives; aerial photographs; historical

collections; cultural heritage;

AUTORE

Elizabeth J. Shepherd,

elizabethjane.shepherd@beniculturali.it

AFN director

GEOmedia n°3-2018 41


REPORT

RUNNING UP THAT HILL

Italian civic addresses and

the quest for accuracy

By Valerio Zunino

The quality of toponymy data

has come increasingly under the

microscope in recent years in direct

correlation to the surge in the number

and functional versatility of new

products available to the geographical

information market.

These augmentations infiltrating the

sector require extremely precise

and comprehensive databases, most

crucially in respect of, for example:

the automatic driving project, 118

emergency services, applications

inherent in civil protection, and other

civil service sectors responsible for

urban and environmental intervention.

STUDIO SIT Srl was

conceived of in 1991, the

dim and distant past for

many, when the few precious

and elusive resources available

were employed to ask the most

talented hackers to find us the

formidable MapInfo, the former,

and in all likelihood best

desktop GIS software ever. At

the time a version had just been

released for MS Windows.

Ever since then the company

has co-operated with pertinent

networks and participated in

the development of flagship

products released by the different

market players; initially

concentrating on the world of

Autodesk and then expanding

its focus to include the production

of applications for the

benefit of local authorities and

others dedicated to the territorial

survey activities on civic

addresses (from 1998).

In 2007/8 two aircraft were

acquired in the service of aerial

mapping, both endowed with

autonymous equipment and restitution

software. In 2010 one

of the first small-to-mediumsized

drones available to civilians

was purchased and subsequently

developed - this having

been produced in Germany and

adapted to the photogrammetric

instrumentation already

available.

The same year saw the resumption

of the surveying and

mapping of civic numbers, so as

not to be aban-doned. At that

time the company’s software development

activity concentrated

first on the Environment Map

Server, then QGIS, and finally

the world of ESRI - a culmination

of nearly thirty years of

development and experience.

For suppliers such as HERE

Global Content B.V. and

42 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

TOMTOM Global content

B.V. involved with the surveying

and mapping of Italian

civic numbering, the Ligurian

company has been able meet

current requirements for very

high-level accuracy, for the positioning

of points and for the

entirety of national built territory.

These needs derive fundamentally

from two causal factors,

manifested gradually over

the last two decades – the catalyst

being predominantly the

evolution of the toponymy data

market and mobile communications

sector, which has seen

its scope of application expand

from the initial world of car

navigation, fleet management

and market research, into the

Multiutilities (the planning and

management of utilities) i.e.

emergency services, politics and

the electorate. These latter areas

of interest demand the availability

of a complete and precise

geo-referenced civic numbering

database, as well as an enhanced

sense of responsibility towards

its users, who have over the past

few years become much more

sophisticated, finally reaching a

necessary qualitative standard,

inexistent until a few years ago

and therefore not applied to either

supply or demand.

It’s fair to say that the causal

factors that have mobilized the

market in question initially

were the evolution of a product

which is today able to reach

more and more people comprising

a wide range of end-users,

along with the ensuing awareness

of the need to finally have

geographic data that is much

more reliable and complete

than in the past.

In order to maintain a high

level of satisfaction among its

customers, STUDIO SIT has

remained true to the initial

specialities of its own surveying

activities – fieldwork that covers

the entirety of our national

territory - through a network of

professionals that now numbers

almost 50, assembled through

programs of education and

experience pertaining to rigid

selection criteria. A network

consistently looking to cooperate

on integrative interventions

with reference to the dynamic

regulatory framework, in-depth

cartographic data and software

applications used in the context

of digitalizing, editing and autovalidating

operations and data

pretesting.

The resulting qualitative system

exceeds a 95% degree of accuracy,

completeness and high-level

updating, a unique case in our

country.

These three elements already

mentioned combine to apply

the same values to the sphere

of geographical toponymy. The

issue of quality, until a few decades

ago passively suffered by

the end-users that characterized

the demand, cannot be disregarded

and has today assumed

crucial importance, even for the

very survival of some areas of

operation.

Stemming from the three qualitative

factors above, a comprehensive

survey of the whole

municipal territory, accuracy in

the positioning of the numbers

and the degree of updating,

where located and verified,

generates a greater interest on

the part of a wide nucleus of

users, who in the past did not

deem certain geographical information

sufficiently detailed

for their own purposes. Among

those looking to exploit the

mapping of addresses are the

management of multiutilities

(in the context of the maintenance

operations of networks

and utilities, as well as those

involved in administrative management),

professional services

firms, car sharing companies,

large commercial distribution

activities and, furthermore,

some departments responsible

to the Ministries of the

Republic.

Also relevant is the fact that in

Italy there is an increasingly

sharp contrast between the

perceived quality of geographical

toponymy data at central

government level, compared to

that experienced by most sectors

of industry, including multinationals

and the SME world.

This first example, central government,

does not anticipate

a need for geographical data

pertaining to addresses that is

comprehensive and geometrically

precise. While the second

category, industrial players

(including their end-users) of

car navigators and other mobile

mapping application, up to the

most cutting-edge apps employed

by those in creative fields,

insist on yet higher quality in

the form of accuracy, completeness

and maximum updating of

information.

GEOmedia n°3-2018 43


REPORT

At the forefront are the major

players involved in car navigation

who, along with Google,

currently have a stranglehold

on the market due to a competitive

advantage accumulated in

now well over two decades of

data collecting and acquisition;

these majors being involved

in perpetual competition to

adapt the quality of their data,

augmenting its reliability and

completeness, often to the

point of rebuilding their geographic

databases from scratch.

All this is driven by the demand

from the multiutilities, which

have identified the need to

maintain management services

using GIS, which are based on

the civic addresses in their territories

of interest. At the same

time, some smaller companies

have specialized in the field of

geographical toponymy data,

making their services widely

available through distribution

to a clientele that ranges from

transport and logistics, modern

geomarketing, civil protection

and emergency services. In all

these areas of demand, there

is now a need to have all civic

numbers geo-referenced in the

correct position, given that this

information plays a fundamental

and decisive role, for example,

even the saving of human

lives.

The market's drive towards improving

the quality of the data

is fuelled by two imperatives:

one coming from a product

where each frequent new version

renders the previous version

obsolete, and one from the

demand by increasingly more

discerning users - an awareness

that requires a higher and higher

quality level, composed of

accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive

data to ensure the

development and maintenance

of modern, toponymy-based,

mobility applications.

As regards the availability of

open data, some Italian regions

and large cities offer a good

quality open data service, which

also includes civic numbering.

However, these are rare

exceptions since the process of

surveying and mapping civic

numbering is hampered by the

fact that it has often been based

within some regional procure-

44 GEOmedia n°3-2018


REPORT

ment procedures awarding these

contracts to construct topographic

databases, which were

containing a preponderance of

cartographic details and a paucity

of requirements for qualitative

mapping components, such

as civic addresses.

These same contracting companies

are traditionally tied to

pure aerial photogrammetry,

with no other corresponding

competencies and therefore

consider/have considered the

logical level of civic numbering

as an accessory, an appendix of

the photogrammetric activity

of restitution and cartographic

dressing.

This situation allows companies

to interpret this meagre

specification to their advantage,

detailing just the position of the

existing:

- without the insertion of the

corresponding toponym;

- without the inclusion of buildings

which were displaying no

number.

Unfortunately it is also necessary

to take into account the fact

that often the contracting companies

produce georeferenced

house numbers according to

mere mathematical algorithms

(or Google Street View...), in

which numbers are distributed

in an unreal, uniform way,

adhering to the vagaries of the

road network which is in itself

already inaccurate in terms of

length and route.

All this inevitably leads to an

average quality reduction of

around 65% of the value of the

geographical civic toponymy

data. As a consequence, italian

toponymy open data, is largely

unusable on many of today's

most widespread applications,

whose procedures require data

capable of withstanding a level

of use almost unimaginable until

a few years ago.

As of today (30/06/2018), considering

a total of 19.5 million

civic numbers, STUDIO SIT

srl has comprehensively mapped

territory equal to 12 million of

them (whose place names are

taken from official municipal

routes). This coverage comprises

5000 municipalities with

their approximately 42 million

inhabitants. The average update

of data refers to the year 2016.

Among provincial capitals the

coverage is 98%, that of the

130 most populous cities is close

to 96%, and that of municipalities

with more than 40,000

inhabitants is now 89%. By

2020 we predict that we will

reach 16 million civic numbers

contained within 6900 municipalities.

We're still running up

that hill !

KEYWORDS

GIS; map; localization; civic address; italian

toponymy data; georeferenced; multiutilities

ABSTRACT

The quality of toponymy data has come increasingly

under the microscope in recent years. These

augmentations infiltrating the sector now require

extremely accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive

data, most crucially in respect of, for example,

the automatic driving project, emergency services,

and applications inherent in civil protection.

STUDIO SIT Srl was conceived of in 1991, the

dim and distant past for many. For suppliers such

as HERE and TOMTOM involved with the surveying

and mapping of Italian civic numbering,

the Ligurian company has been able to exceed a

95% degree of accuracy, completeness and updating,

unique in this country, which traditionally

lacks the availability of good quality toponymy

opendata.

AUTHOR

Valerio Zunino

Valerio.zunino@studiosit.it

STUDIOSIT srl

Droni Idrografici polivalenti

• Rilievi batimetrici automatizzati

• Acquisizione dati e immagini

• Mappatura parametri ambientali

• Ispezione fondali

Dighe, laghi, cave in falda, bacini, fiumi e

canali fino a 15 4 m/s. Km/h. Insensibili ai bassi ai bassi

fondali e alla presenza di alghe e detriti

Vendita - Noleggio - Servizi chiavi in mano,

anche con strumentazione cliente

GEOmedia n°3-2018 45


AGENDA

3-5 ottobre 2018

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