Posted on Feb 13 2022
APPLICABILITY OF BLOCKCHAIN IN GIS
Geographic Information System (GIS) is described as a computer-based system including software, hardware, people, and geographic information used to create, edit, analyze, display information on the computer through maps, and most importantly, retrieve and update data. There is growing interest in the various modern approach to GIS that uses open source and cloud-based standards to solve some of the world’s most complex problems, including climate change and resiliency, equitable access within communities, supply chain and logistics, evolving consumer patterns, and substantial improvements in mobility and human movement. Blockchain is a data storage mechanism that makes it difficult or impossible to modify, hack, or cheat it.
This means that if one block in a chain is changed, it will be evident that the entire chain has been tampered with. To bring down a blockchain system, hackers would have to change every block in the chain across all distributed copies of the chain. In short, a blockchain is an open distributed network of computers that hosts an immutable, trustless registry of entries. It has the potential to be safer and less expensive than traditional centralized databases and be more resistant to assaults, increasing openness and accountability and giving individuals ownership over their own data. Some geospatial applications are already using blockchain technology.
Public-good data such as street maps, parcels, terrain models, aerial footage, or sea maps made publicly available without a central hub that can restrict access to the data, contributors to the map are rewarded with tokens. A public record of modifications and contributions can be preserved. Previously inaccessible to most people, public-good geospatial data has become considerably simpler to obtain. The software to display and analyze the data gradually grew less expensive, if not free, but the information itself remained unavailable. Although at a cost, some national mapping organizations and cadastres began sharing data through the internet. Only in recent years have a few European countries made public map data freely available. Meanwhile, projects such as OpenStreetMap have evolved to fulfill people’s demand for free data. However, it is hardly surprising that a slew of new apps, mock-ups, and business cases appear in an area quickly after data is made available to the public in that location.
One of the reasons this data has been unavailable for so long is that it is gathered and delivered by a centralized organization. A small handful of people oversee massive libraries of geographic data and can limit or allow access to it. This is where blockchain and related technologies may help individuals design systems where the data is essentially public, where no one controls it, where everyone can access it, and where anybody can examine the whole history of contributions to the data. OpenStreetMap is free to use, extremely popular, and people eagerly add to it.
Consumer apps that rely on geographical data and processing include Uber and Airbnb. They offer a centralized method in which the intermediary owns and controls the data and charges a high fee to link clients and suppliers. Such self-driving apps may now have to rely on third-party geospatial components, such as Google Maps, Mapbox, OpenStreetMap, and so on. Such apps would be considerably more dependable and cost-effective to run if they had access to accurate, publically disseminated data. Distributed peer-to-peer apps might eliminate the need for a mediator and reduce dependency on third parties for navigation and other geographical components.
Inland ownership, there is mapping of parcels or documentation of title available to genuine landowners for people in a few developing nations. These individuals frequently want confirmation of identification and proof of ownership for their legally obtained land to produce money, invest in their future, and avoid fraud – although they often encounter issues with inefficient, overpriced, or corrupt government services. Reliable and simple-to-use blockchain-based solutions allow people to map and register their land with their neighbors — without the need of government authorities, attorneys, or other intermediaries.
The popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has pushed blockchain technology to the general public’s attention. Other blockchain applications include updating a data block while concurrently changing and sharing information via a cryptographic security environment. It’s a decentralized, open system that allows for real-time and concurrent transactions. Scholars have only lately begun to investigate how blockchain technology could improve Earth monitoring and spatial technologies. The European Space Agency recently requested new blockchain concepts and applications for the Earth study. The European Union has recently funded projects that utilize blockchain technology in research, such as scientific data exchange and simultaneous usage. The European Space Agency intends to create new ways for information to be used across and inside institutions. Already, in China, a protocol based on the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) system has been developed to allow satellites to communicate and share resources, as well as apply communicative functions that do not duplicate the roles of other satellites, using the standard format of TCF for sending data. This effectively means that a blockchain-based protocol might allow satellites to collaborate on data exchange and communication simultaneously, even if they weren’t constructed with the same operating systems. While Earth observation is one application for Blockchain, the medical industry has already begun to study the technology for exchanging and distributing secure patient and provider data. The use of crypto-spatial coordinate systems is a significant benefit of Blockchain, which combines an immutable spatial context with temporal and geographical references as part of the record kept in a blockchain. Forecasting has been achieved by integrating Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), which may be used to evaluate patients and healthcare providers. AI can use a secure chain of historical movement data to identify healthcare needs based on daily actions.
Other fields, such as land management, have begun to look into Blockchain’s applicability. Various applications were used in this scenario to explore how having simultaneous access to secure data could aid in more efficient and real-time information about land parcels, including tenure, vegetation, and seasonal changes. However, applications have been limited thus far, and more advanced applications have not been thoroughly investigated.
Blockchain is a new technology that many of us are learning about. However, its use outside of cryptocurrencies is currently limited. This is the case in the case of spatial technology. The bulk of apps are either experimental or have a small scope. This may change when the benefits of concurrently sharing safe data and enabling communities of providers to track sensitive information over time and space, such as in healthcare, become increasingly evident.