Bhavin Makwana took part in a panel discussion at GEO Business 2019 this week – exploring mapping for connected and self-driving vehicles.

Event summary 

Quote from Zenzic Business Analyst Bhavin Makwana

When did it happen?

Tuesday 21st May 2019

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Let’s Talk Geospatial Data

So, what exactly is geospatial data? After all, it brought Zenzic to GEO Business 2019.

It is a somewhat complex question. But put in its simplest form, it is data about a location. Its importance lies in the impact it makes to each and every one of us; the increasing use of geospatial data is helping to create a more integrated, connected and efficient society.

Being the UK’s largest geospatial event, GEO Business 2019 provided a particularly unique opportunity for Zenzic. It is the widely renowned hub for experts to demonstrate, to an international audience, the impact geospatial technologies are having on our society. Bhavin Makwana, Zenzic’s Business Analyst, joined the event to demonstrate how building a consistent approach to collecting geospatial data will enhance Testbed UK and deliver mapping solutions for connected and self-driving vehicles.


What is Testbed UK?

The UK is a global centre for the innovation and development of connected and self-driving vehicle technologies. With six core test and development facilities, Zenzic is spearheading the UK’s position as a global leader in testing and development, which also generates vast amounts of data – leading to the creation new value chains that take in raw data and, in turn, add value. 

Geospatial data is crucial to Testbed UK. It is the first step to an efficient, seamless experience that enables interoperability between testbed sites, allowing geospatial data to be utilised to its full potential – making the UK a particularly attractive place to test and deploy connected and automated mobility technology. It is vital to note that this is one objective along a widespread journey – there are indeed issues we must resolve in order to allow this free-flowing collaboration to commence.

With five physical testbeds, five different ways to collect geospatial data and five different test environments, the objective is to create a seamless experience for partners to test vehicles within Testbed UK. It is a challenge with enormous complexity – especially as the testing conducted needs to be both physical and digital. So, how do we solve this issue?


Double the power – digital twins

The ‘digital twin’ is a commonly used term within connected and automated mobility. It is the digital replica of a physical object. When applied to Testbed UK, it means that we are using different cross-reality environments; a digitalised version to simulate the physical counterpart. In order for this to happen, a digital twin needs to meet a baseline specification for conformance and interoperability – but can then be used to inform simulation tools.

The next challenge is to create interoperability that allows alignment across Testbed UK. Now, this is fairly obvious in concept, but in reality, difficult to realise. In order for this to be successful, there are six key areas of alignment that have been identified:


  • It is vital that there is strong governance to coordinate the multitude of projects and testing being undertaken by industry, government and academia.
  • It is important to have a body that can lead the agenda in terms of timescales and content, providing the necessary direction could be needed in the future.


  • An impartial body, or hub, could be used for coordinating safety requirements and for working alongside standards bodies such as BSI, security specialists and government to ensure consistency security and compliance.

Data formats

  • Reducing the set of file formats could be considered with feedback sought from testbeds, simulation companies and manufacturers to establish any known limitations or challenges these formats may present.
  • If there are none, they could be recommended to the industry

Data quality

  • The Geospatial Commission must be engaged with to ensure requirements for self-driving vehicles have been adequately considered and represented.

Data Hosting

  • There could be the need for neutral hosting with the Geospatial Commission and DfT to consider available options regarding data hosting.


  • There is potential for an overarching body to promote the adoption of common standards for terminology.


UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030

Clearly, from the six identified areas, we can see why interoperability is important to achieve objectives. Gathering geospatial data is crucial and we need a common direction to strive towards across government, academia and industry – leading us to confirm just one of the main benefits of the UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030.  

Attending GEO Business 2019 allowed Zenzic to demonstrate how working with government, industry and academia helps to provide a clear direction and create a consistent approach to mapping for connected and self-driving vehicles. Collecting geospatial data is at the heart of what we require to achieve our collective aims. The UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030 has been constructed with collaboration at its forefront – indeed, where this roadmap is unique, proving its value, is its purpose for alignment. This one tool removes risk for decision makers, giving them the confidence that the geospatial data being collated can be used towards a common direction.


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