Guide to geospatial annotation services and choosing an outsourcing partner

Guide to geospatial annotation services and choosing an outsourcing partner

One of the ways in which we can see the world is as data, or information, that is constantly changing. A row of shops on the street side is data, as is a blue sky with wisps of cloud, as well as a car parking lot.

Much of this data is classified as ‘unstructured,’ as opposed to ‘structured’ data, such as a spreadsheet with labeled columns and rows, or a document with headings and subheadings.

What is the difference between the two?

The primary difference is that structured data can be read and understood by machines and software programs, enabling them to take decisions and execute, freeing up humans from routine decisions and speeding up processing. Unstructured data, on the other hand, does not lend itself to being understood by the same software programs and machines.

oWorkers has been working with data right from their start many years back. Today, they are proud to be known as one of the top three providers of data based services, including geospatial annotation services, amongst BPO companies anywhere in the world.

 

Artificial Intelligence – making sense of unstructured data

Who can understand such data?

The human brain, of course, which is a marvel of creation. Because human intelligence is superior. Its ability to consume any data and make meaningful conclusions out of it remains unsurpassed. The human brain inside the human body which is in the middle of a busy street can make out when to cross the road. It knows which store to step into for a cup of coffee, and it understands how to approach a stranger and strike up a conversation.

Perhaps that is something to be thankful for, else we would have been replaced by machines and software programs, as doomsday books and movies have long predicted.

Mankind is forever pursuing advancement. The rapidly growing field of digital technology is a manifestation of man’s efforts.

One of the most talked-about developments in digital technology has been in the sphere of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Loosely described, AI is the ability of machines and software programs to acquire human-like intelligence.

Why is it needed?

So that, as with structured data, they read and understand unstructured data and make decisions and execute, freeing up humans from routine decisions, expanding capacity and speeding up processing.

oWorkers finds and trains the best human brains in each of their delivery centers. They are able to do this because they have created a pre-eminent position as an employer in these locations, drawing steady streams of job seekers interested in working for them. They pay social and local taxes for all staff and operate on the ‘employment’ model, and not the ‘freelancing’ or ‘contracting’ models preferred by many other providers.

 

The annotation process for data enrichment

It is done through a process of ‘annotation,’ or adding information to the data, so that meaning can be assigned to it in a language that is understood by machines, which is the first step in equipping them to make decisions based on it. Without annotation, an image is just a random collection of pixels.

In simple terms, if we have an image of a corn field, or many images of many different corn fields, this process will identify a corn stalk and associate it with being a corn stalk. This way, the program will be able to create a repository of what a corn stalk could look like. Thus, when it next encounters a stalk of corn that has not been annotated, it should be able to recognize it. The next step, of taking a decision based on it, then follows.

This process takes place in conjunction with the interdisciplinary field of ‘computer vision,’ which is the process of computers ingesting image and video.  

After all, a picture says a thousand words. Geospatial annotation services is an example of the preparation of training data for teaching software programs to understand and make decisions based on such information.

Whether the words spring out of an image, or are in textual format, oWorkers can understand them in over 220 languages. This is the organic outcome of their focus on creating a multicultural and multinational talent pool in each of their offices. No piece of data, in any language, is beyond the capability of oWorkers.

 

What is geospatial data?

It is information pertaining to location and features on or close to the surface of the earth. These could be natural, such as mountains and rivers, or man-made, such as buildings and roads.

The data combines its location with a set of features that could vary depending on the source used for collection of the data. The attributes covered could describe its characteristics, as well as changes over a period of time. Weather, cell phone usage, features, are some examples of what it could contain.

Is it the same as GIS?

As opposed to geospatial, GIS is used to refer to the technology that stores information related to geography and its features, with some of the constituent parts contributing to the geospatial dataset. GIS technologies permit us to use and apply information connected with geography.

Just as other types of unstructured data, such as text and images, can be annotated to train computers to understand them, so can geospatial. This facilitates the process of its use in human applications.

With relationships with technology companies nurtured over their lifetime, oWorkers is in an enviable position of being able to leverage the latest technologies, including GIS, for driving client projects. It is an edge and a competitive advantage.

 

Geospatial annotation services

Annotation needs to be done based on the objective. For a government agency interested in tracking the increase or reduction in the tree cover over a period of time, the software needs to be trained to understand what a tree is and what it is not. For a company developing autonomous cars, the same landscape may need to be annotated in a different way to make the software understand road signs and direction of driving and speed.

When it is acquired it is information that has been acquired the way it is. At this point there is no use or application built into it. The acquiring systems and devices do not have the capability of understanding them. They cannot understand that the landscape that they just acquired has a field of corn in it, or that there is a road going across the mountains, or the difference between a river and an ocean, or whether the set of buildings and equipment in the distance is an airport or a railway station.

Annotating the data provides that crucial missing link.

With a leadership team that has hands-on experience in the industry aggregating to several decades, it is no surprise that oWorkers offers industry leading solutions such as geospatial annotation services. The same DNA that helps them in launching these services also ensures that they are offered in the most effective manner to all clients and matched to their needs.

The embedded Quality Analysis (QA) and Quality Control (QC) process that allows the management to keep an eye over proceedings on the shopfloor and ensure client requirements are fulfilled before they impact client processes, are a testimony to their vision and experience.

 

Collecting geospatial data

Though applications could be varied, the fundamental data set remains the same. The Pacific Ocean will continue to be the Pacific Ocean, whether your company collects data pertaining to it or some other company. Annotating it imparts richness to the data, which takes it from computer unreadable to computer readable data, which is where business applications begin.

Various technologies and devices now have the capability of acquiring, or copying, or making a note of this information, and using it for applications meant to benefit humankind. The most common methods of collecting this data are:

Drones

Drones, flying low over earth, create sharp data sets that can be used for applications requiring accuracy, such as for navigating autonomous drones themselves.

Satellites

Satellites are able to cover vast areas, on account of their much greater elevation. However, the pixel richness of such data might be limited. They are also able to cover uninhabited landscapes, and difficult terrain such as mountain tops and huge oceans and deserts.

Remote sensors

LIDAR light detection and ranging and RADAR radio detection and ranging, constitute some of the richest sources of data.

Field data collection

The relevance of this source continues, because of the need to connect the real world with data collected through various sources and ensuring accuracy.

Their unique positioning in local talent pools becomes particularly advantageous when oWorkers needs to hire short-term resources, as is often the case with field projects. It has the capacity to hire an additional hundred people, over and above the normal hiring numbers, when a client has a requirement. Its relationship with its employees can be judged from the rating of 4.6 and above that it regularly received from employees, both present and past, on external platforms such as Glassdoor.

 

Application of geospatial data

From aerospace to urban management, from shipping to forest surveillance, from mining to construction, many industries use this data for increasing productivity and accuracy. It can also be used for the improvement of human life with its contribution to the predicting of events like earthquakes and floods.

Here are some popular applications of geospatial annotation services:

  • Environment and Conservation – Views of the Earth’s surface allow scientists to estimate land-use patterns and changes in them over a period of time to estimate, for instance, the rate of deforestation.
  • Augmented Reality – Enables reconstruction of life-like high resolution maps to enhance the AR experience.
  • Archaeology – Helps in reconstruction of models without having to assemble them piece by piece and also running the risk of damaging artifacts.
  • Autonomous Vehicles – Perhaps the most widely known application of AI, it depends on geospatial annotation services for creation of high-resolution images based on which the vehicle identifies objects and navigates its way around them.
  • Agriculture – Can be instrumental in the promotion of productivity and health of plants by identifying suitable landscapes for each type of crop and monitoring development thereafter. 
  • Security Systems – As the world has become a more unpredictable and dangerous place, security systems have struggled to keep pace. Today, the intrusion of surveillance cameras in our lives is no longer offensive. It has become a need. The application of geospatial data is also relevant in matters of national security, like monitoring the boundary between adversarial nations, without risking the lives of soldiers.

Clients have concerns and remain unsure about the security of their data when outsourcing to a supplier. oWorkers puts such doubts to rest with the help of its super secure facilities & protocols as well as its ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certifications. As the icing on the cake, it is also GDPR compliant.

 

The oWorkers Advantage

Your partnership with oWorkers for their geospatial annotation services will bring positive social and economic change through employment in underserved communities, while ushering motivated individuals into the global digital economy.

With delivery centers that are located in three recognized, accessible global locations, oWorkers is in a position to provide the benefit of business contingency in times of need. They have been at the forefront of industry changes in the wake of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring uninterrupted service during the height of the crisis. Today, their workforce remains prepared to work from home when required, depending on the situation at any given time.

Their BPO services offering cost savings upto 80%, as compared to Western Europe and USA, without any compromise on the quality of output, has been noted by several clients. As a result, they have been a trusted partner of several unicorn marketplaces and leading technology companies from around the world, over the years.

The benefits of working with an industry leader can be summarized as follows:

  • High level of quality and commitment to accuracy
  • Competitive pricing, with flexibility of choosing between different models resting with you
  • Responsiveness, quick turnaround with 24×7 operations in each of their delivery locations
  • Width of experience across multiple lines of business, useful in handling exceptional situations
  • Value added services
  • Experienced change management and project management functions that have seen active service over the years
  • The stability and support of a committed, financially sound organization

oWorkers is trusted by leading companies around the world.

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