M.App Chest: Hexagon Geospatial’s Content Hosting and Delivery Service

In this HxGN Radio podcast, Anjul Garg interviews Bruce Chaplin, the VP for Business Development at Hexagon Geospatial. They discuss the challenges for geospatial content hosting and delivery, and how cloud-based solutions like M.App Chest make it simple to house, manage and distribute high volume geospatial data on the cloud.

Anjul: Bruce, we are here to talk about M.App Chest, a geospatial content hosting and delivery service that is also a Hexagon Smart M.App®. Before we get into M.App Chest, can you briefly tell us about what Hexagon Smart M.Apps are?
Bruce: Sure, if we look at traditionally the kind of applications that we’ve used in the geospatial industry, most of them have been fairly general-purpose, heavy-weight applications. Hexagon Smart M.Apps is a different approach to delivering applications. Each Hexagon Smart M.App is a lightweight targeted application focused on solving a unique business problem. Typically a Hexagon Smart M.App is going to combine fresh content with geo-processing workflows to deliver an information service. Building upon that, there is a heavy focus on the end-user experience. Hexagon Smart M.Apps typically utilize powerful visualizations to indicate to the user what was, what is, what can be, and what will be.

Anjul: Can you briefly describe the M.App Chest project?
Bruce: M.App Chest is one component of the Hexagon Smart M.App platform. It’s a geospatial content hosting service. It’s designed to make it simple for users to house and manage high-volume geospatial data. It supports both imagery and point cloud data, and allows end-users to easily get data up onto the cloud and then distribute it securely with ease. M.App Chest can operate as a stand alone product for data hosting and data delivery, and it can also work in conjunction with Hexagon Smart M.Apps, providing the content that can fuel Hexagon Smart M.Apps.

Anjul: What are the challenges that M.App Chest involves and solves?
Bruce: More and more today we are seeing large volumes of content being produced. We have a lot of these new so-called microsets being launched, capturing data in a high-frequency basis, UAV’s are skyrocketing, the number of drones capturing data. With this expansion of data sources, customers have come to expect very rich high-resolution data on a very timely basis. It creates new challenges for data providers. They need the tools to be able to take the content, process it and make it available to end-users. Many organizations are looking for simpler and more cost-effective ways to handle their geospatial data, including how to securely store, manage it, and deliver it.

Anjul: Who is M.App Chest for?
Bruce: Our primary targets for M.App Chest are both the data providers and the owners of these large geospatial data stores. By M.App Chest offering a full-scale geospatial content management system, it provides them the tools to easily upload, to store their data, get imagery and point cloud data onto the cloud, allow access to it from anywhere, and distribute it securely through popular web-service protocols. M.App Chest also provides optional compression capabilities. Storing data on the cloud comes with a cost, typically geospatial data can be very large in volume. We have industry leading compression that allows users to reduce the storage foot print that in turn helps manage costs.

Anjul: What do you feel are the key features of M.App Chest that meet the needs of organizations today?
Bruce: First, it’s flexible on the kinds of data that it ingests, both point cloud and imagery. It supports a large number or formats−a large number of different coordinate systems−addressing the needs of users on a worldwide basis, and of course the various protocols for distributing the data. Second, it’s all hosted on Amazon Web Services, using their resilient storage, this means your data is resilient and safe and insures the long-term safety of your investment. Third, as a part of uploading your data on to the cloud, we extract metadata from the data itself automatically which then allows you to search and find the data that you need. Other features include the ability to stream and download data. It’s quite flexible in the different protocols that we can use to deliver data to users. Along with that, we have very fast data delivery image service capabilities. It also supports the Hexagon Smart M.App platform. Partners and customers can bring their content into the cloud to fuel Hexagon Smart M.Apps

Anjul: What are the benefits of using M.App Chest over competitors?
Bruce: We see a lot of these UAV operators−who may not come from a geospatial background−they are looking for tools that are accessible, that are easy to get started with, and that are easily available. M.App Chest meets those needs, ingests a variety of different data types, and provides accessibility on a worldwide basis. Getting started, is very simple and cost effective. There is no installation required, no IT infrastructure. You simply sign up and pay-as-you-go. Also, being a part of the Hexagon Smart M.App ecosystem−being able to take your data and combine it with Hexagon Smart M.Apps−allowing you to create these very compelling solutions.

Anjul: Where is the M.App Chest already being used today?
Bruce: One example that we have today is from our partner Geosystems. They’ve built a cloud-based UAV processing product, called GeoApp.UAS. It is a Hexagon Smart M.App that supports cloud-based processing for unmanned aerial systems. It’s an elegant cloud-based solution, without requiring a lot of expertise from the users. It makes it easy for data collectors to process their data, quickly upload it to the cloud using M.App Chest, and then use GeoApp.UAS to process the information and ultimately deliver it to their users.

Anjul: Where can we get M.App Chest from?
Bruce: The Hexagon Smart M.App platform includes a component called the M.App Exchange. The M.App Exchange is an online store−a central repository for Hexagon Smart M.Apps. This is where our partners are able to publish their Smart M.Apps that they’ve built and this is also where end-users would go to discover, to purchase, and inter-manage access to their Smart M.Apps. M.App Chest is considered a part of the content category on the M.App Exchange.

Anjul: Any closing remarks?
Bruce: The Hexagon Smart M.App platform is all a part of the M.App Portfolio. This portfolio is a modern cloud-based platform. It includes the M.App Foundation, which is the hosting platform, the M.App Studio, which allows partners to build hexagon Smart M.Apps, and it includes the M.App Exchange, where end-users can discover and experience new Smart M.App applications.

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