The third lecture of the PAIR Distinguished Lecture Series was successfully held on 6 September 2022. We were honoured to have invited renowned scientist, Prof. Li Deren, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Member of the International Eurasia Academy of Sciences, and Professor of State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS), to be the distinguished speaker. The webinar was hosted by Prof. Christopher Chao, Vice President (Research and Innovation) and Chair Professor of Thermal and Environmental Engineering of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). It attracted over 300 participants from 24 countries and regions on Zoom, as well as over 18,000 online viewers on online-streaming channels. Honourable participants include:
(In alphabetical order of their last names)
- Prof. Fuu Jen Tsai, Provost of China Medical University, Taiwan
- Prof. Christian Wagner, Provost of City University of Hong Kong
- Prof. Richard K Yuen, Chief-of-Staff of City University of Hong Kong
Prof. Qingyan Chen, Director of PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR), Chair Professor of Building Thermal Science in the Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering of PolyU, briefed the audiences on the establishment of PAIR and the Academy’s determination to address societal challenges and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the opening, Prof. Christopher Chao expressed that “the research works of Prof. LI provide special meaning to PolyU’s research developments. As our two research institutes under the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR), namely, the Research Institute of Land and Space (RILS) and Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things (RIAIoT), are working on research projects in areas like land analytics and management and big data analytics with artificial intelligence technologies, and the generation of new solutions which essentially involve the fusion of geospatial information system (GIS) and internet of things (IoT) towards our goal for a more liveable and sustainable city.”
Prof. Li began the lecture by introducing the State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) at Wuhan University. He presented an overview of LIESMARS’ history, research focus and directions, organisational developments covering human resources, facilities, research, publications, industrial and international cooperation, education programmes, laboratory’s awards, rankings, and recognition.
Subsequently, Prof. Li gave a summary of the emerging trends in GIS in the era of IoT. He highlighted the characteristic application of communication network infrastructure (5G, IoT, industrial internet, and satellite internet), new technology infrastructure (AI, cloud computing, blockchain), and computing technology (big data, intelligent computing) in different GIS-related areas, such as surveying, mapping, and remote sensing, for the study of people, places, nature, and processes of the earth. Super high-speed cyberspace modelling is the current development trend in GIS.
Prof. Li further elaborated on the five characteristics of GIS in the era of IoT. First, satellite positioning technology will move from the Global Positioning Satellite System (GNSS) to the Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) system, and further to the Positioning, Navigation, Timing, Remote Sensing, and Communication (PNTRC) system. Second, remote sensing technology will elevate from the Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) to the Earth Observation Brain (EOB), an intelligent earth observation system. Third, GIS’s map database will be developed to enable accurate 3D imaging and digital twinning. Fourth, integrating GIS, RS and GNSS for mobile mapping and measurement will bring intelligent robot services. Finally, GIS that focuses on observing earth processes and environmental changes will later emphasize the observation of human and related activities, such as car flow, heat maps, people flow, etc.
Prof. Li then discussed three scientific issues of GIS in the era of IoT afterward. He pointed out the need for map product that serves the needs of both humans and robots, the technical bottleneck of choosing between classification and semantic description for remote sensing image intelligent interpretation, and the need for geographic big data mining to support sustainable human development in harmony with nature.
Prof. Li concluded with his final remarks and advice that future developments in GIS should leverage IoT to provide real-time data, develop smart GIS, explore the value of big geographic data, and adopt GeoAI for a more brilliant earth.
The lecture was followed by a fruitful 30-minute discussion, moderated by Prof. Christopher Chao and joined by two panellists, Prof. Chen Qingyan and Prof. Weng Qihao, Associate Director of Research Institute for Land and Space and Chair Professor of Geomatics and Artificial Intelligence at PolyU.
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