fredag 8 september 2017

Cognitive routing

A bit background

The last couple of months I have checked out and tried Microsofts preview advanced routing projects. First when it comes to routing it is important to understand there is no rights or wrong. What is the best route? For some it might be:
  • The shortest route?
  • The fastest route?
Those are easy to find. For others they might be?
  • A route with minimun slope?
  • A route with rest areas with parking facilities?
  • The most beautiful route?
  • ... and so on.
So, the best route can be different depending on the purpose of the trip, vehicle and different regulations. So I always keep that in mind when it comes to routing.


So is it cognitive as the URL implies? When I am in the middle of development, it is algorithms and algorithms with predicates. Combining this new routing services with advanced client tools is for sure a powerful tool. Adding historic traffic data to predict calculate routes, isochrones and solving TSP is calculating complicated stuff in short period of time. So the rise of cognitive GIS is coming.

It is at least really powerful and can solve complex problem and will be useful for many organisations.

Down the road

In order to understand what is next I look back to be able to connect the dots ahead. Isochrones is a natural derivat of routing. Although I guess the challenge with an algorithm that is heavily heuristic (which I assume Bing Maps are) is to polish away the heuristic but still be effective to accomplish isochrones. Next in this area would be to calculate things that is n minutes/distances away, but not closer than n unites from a given point as I describes in this post. Another natural evolvement is travelling salesman problem. Natural to integrate into the service module in CRM and may be a Geo-Calendar is on its way from Bellevue/Redmond.  

What to expect?

From a technical perspective I guess this new services will be available in a C# API like the Bing Maps REST Toolkit. That feels like a safe bet. On the client side I would except modules for routing, including the new services.

Another thing I would like to see is that Microsoft truly adapts GeoJson as in every time geographical data is send as JSON - I expect GeoJson.

Moreover, I hope the new services will cover at least Europe as well. If it scales in North America, the hard job with scaling is probably already done.

Thanks to Fredrik Jonsson for illustration.