Systems Engineering and Geospatial/Geodetic Engineering

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This is the Geospatial/Geodetic Engineering knowledge area. It provides a broad introduction into the overall topic of related applications in order to make the reader aware where those technologies are actually used in systems and systems of systems.

For this purpose, this article reflects the abundant uses and applications of geodetic and geospatial technologies (like GNSS & GPS; GIS; spatial reference systems; processing, analysis and visualization of geospatial data) in Systems and Systems of Systems. It briefly analyzes to what extent the Systems Engineering Specialty Activities listed by INCOSE and modeling and simulation may be supported by related subject matter expertise. In addition, it discusses whether Geospatial and Geodetic Engineering should be considered as dedicated Specialty Engineering activities themselves within the frame of Systems Engineering.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and/or geospatial applications and infrastructures are widely used respectively integrated in systems or systems of systems. It is a common statistic that about 80% of all data have a spatial reference (Hahmann and Burghardt 2013), i.e. it can be referenced to a coordinate. Systems and their constituents reside or operate in space and often need to know where they or their parts, constituents, etc. are, and where their mobiles go or where objects observed by the system are. In other words (Longley et al. 2015): “Almost everything that happens, happens somewhere. Knowing where something happens can be critically important.” Extending this, potentially the system(s) and their associated constituents require synchronization of their activities and actions which is often achieved by triggering of actions via time stamps; for this purpose, systems need to be timewise synchronized to a certain extent or accuracy.

Aside from SE processes and their application, the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook (INCOSE 2015) introduces a set of Specialty Engineering activities. However, little attention is given to the circumstance that many (Systems of) Systems rely to a significant extent on geodetic or geospatial technologies. This article attempts to shed light on the abundant uses and applications of geodetic and geospatial technologies (like GNSS, GPS, GIS) in Systems of Systems and discusses whether Geospatial and/or Geodetic Engineering should be considered as a dedicated Specialty Engineering activity on its own within the frame of Systems Engineering.



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