Real-time Map Matching in Streaming Analytics Service

By: Samantha Chan

Real-time Map Matching in Streaming Analytics Service

One problem that has started to become more and more frequent in today’s “Internet of Things” is that we want to know where exactly in the world our things are.

Maybe you’re in the control room of your city’s transit commission and you want to know where all your buses are and whether they’ll reach their next stop on schedule.  Maybe you need to provide directions to the nearest restaurant to someone walking down a street using their smart phone to try to find somewhere to eat.  Maybe you’re an insurance company and you want to know which of your customers follow the speed limit and which don’t.

More and more of our daily lives are becoming increasingly connected, and the natural extension of that is that as things move across the world, we want to know about it and do interesting things with that information.

The interesting commonality between the examples above however is that although we do certainly care about what the object’s raw position is on the Earth’s surface, we care even more about how the object’s location relates to the streets, roads, and highways in our world. Want to estimate when the bus is going to get somewhere? Well you need to know what road it’s on, what the speed limit is, etc. Need directions to somewhere? Well if you’re going to take roads to get there, then you need to know what road you are on, which roads connect to that road, and so on. Need to know if someone speeds a lot? Well then you need to know what road they were driving on so you can relate the vehicle’s speed to the posted speed limit.

Streams Geospatial Toolkit handles location data

IBM Streams is an in-streams analytics platform.  Streams provide many useful toolkits (both shipped as part of the product, and as open-source projects on GitHub), containing over a hundred of operators, that help you easily build advanced analytics to understand your data.  One of the most interesting toolkits from the product is the Geospatial Toolkit.  The Geospatial Toolkit contains utilities functions for working with location data.  More importantly, the toolkit contains operators for advanced geospatial analytics, that help you extract interesting insight and events from any entities that can move around the world.  We have done the hard work to design and optimize these advanced algorithms, so you don’t have to!  For more information Geospatial Toolkit operators, refer to this documentation for details:  Streams Geospatial Toolkit.

In Streams 4.0.1, we introduced a new PointMapMatcher operator.  This operator solves the problem of relating raw GPS data to road networks on the map.  While the concept of map matching is simple, there are many challenges involved to accurately determine which road an entity is travelling on.  This video demonstrates this new operator and will describe some of the challenges involved.

Relating GPS data to a road map in real time with streaming analytics

The Streaming Analytics Service was made generally available (GA) a few weeks ago.  As part of the GA, we have updated the Streaming Analytics Service to v4.0.1.  Therefore, you now have access to this very cool analytic function from Streams.

Ready to try it out? Below are helpful samples and tutorials to get you started:

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