Geospatial Project Ideas

Working on a project is a bit complicated and time-consuming but finding the right project idea is another issue. I share some project ideas which can help you get started.

Geospatial Project Ideas

The process of coming up with a project can be pretty complicated especially if its your first time. It even becomes harder when it is a requirement in order for you to complete a certain stage (like a final year project in high school or University) and you are just not the kind of person who loves working on projects.

Working on a project too is complex. You have to plan, work, plan again, test, and finalize your work. All these stages can be very stressful for some (if not most).

In this article, I am going to share out some Geospatial project ideas that anyone final year, a side project, or for practice sake can adopt during their career.

In each idea I am going to list out;

  • the project name or topic
  • the problem that needs solving
  • the possible tools for implementation
  • a description of how the end product could work.

As you might know, a great and innovative project needs to solve a problem that someone out there is currently facing. Whether you want them to pay for the solution or get it for free, that is up to you.

I have decided to share this out for free as I have had these on my mind for quite some time but not the time to finally settle and work any of them. As they say, Sharing is caring. Hope someone out there can put them to good use.

Ready for some ideas?

1. Workout Route Planner

Photo by Tara Glaser

The Problem - People want to start or plan a workout schedule that they can follow and stay fit each day. For most of them, jogging is a common workout plan to burn some body fat. Finding the best route for jogging can be a bit complicated especially if you are living in a city and are usually at work most of the day. Traffic can complicate your schedule not to mention the risk too. In some countries, they have pavements meant for cyclists and pedestrians.  

What can be done? - you can create an application that uses traffic data and available roads to help the user plan routes for certain days and provide suggestions on the best and safest routes for them.

Most fitness applications only provide you with routes on a map but do not actually give you or suggest any roads that can be safe for you. After all your family and friends want you to be safe don't they?

Tools - This is a data-driven application. It could also be great to make this a mobile application so the user keeps all their data on their phone and can also be integrated into other health applications they might have. You definitely need to find a source for real-time traffic. If not real-time, perhaps analyzing the historical trends could help. Machine Learning + AI could do the trick.

2. Air Quality Monitoring & Warning App

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier
The WHO estimates that: 4.2 million die prematurely every year from outdoor (ambient) air pollution. 3.8 million die from indoor air pollution. 7 million die in total from all sources of air pollution. - Source: Our World in Data

Air pollution is a dangerous factor to pregnant women and newborns, many of whom are highly exposed to traffic-related atmospheric pollutants in urban areas. Such exposure can lead to low birth weight and long-lasting effects, such as respiratory diseases and premature death.

What can be done? - detecting is one thing and providing safe zones is another. In most European countries, an air quality monitoring app exists in almost each and every country. But that is not the case for Africa.

Your application can help detect bad air to every user and provide options for safe zones which they could move to especially for pregnant women.

Tools - Air Quality monitoring can be mainly achieved with Earth Observation (EO) data. Using a series of complicated algorithms to process, predict, locate, and send information back to the user can be a really complicated but very useful piece of work. Python and an EO data source are great starting points. SMS notification would also work best especially in an African setting.

3. Augmented Reality Driving Test

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini

The problem - Learner drivers have been involved in some unforeseen incidents. An incident in Zimbabwe shows some learner truck driver going off the road on a hill start during a road test.  

The truck probably needs repairing now. However several other incidents have been recorded that are mainly caused by learner drivers. Not to mention the amount of corruption associated with acquiring a driver's license in countries like Zimbabwe.

What can be done? - You can introduce Augmented Reality Driver testing. It is basically a simulation of the real world while also testing your driving skills. Just like how Pilots simulate flights during the process before flying a commercial plane. Why can we not do the same for driving?

T0ols - This one is pretty heavy and requires a lot of skill, manpower, time, and resources. You probably need lawyers and people to support you to implement this in government structures too most will face resistance.

One recommendation would be utilizing the ArcGIS City Engine. It can help you depict the 3D view of any city you chose to build for your simulation. With good programming skills and a dedicated team, this can come to reality.

4. Land Surveyors / Engineers Field Notes

Land surveyor on construction site
Photo by Valeria Fursa

The problem - With modern Land Surveying or Civil Engineering equipment, you have a tab or smart device attached to the instrument which can help you capture data and a few notes too. But not everyone has managed to catch up to this technology yet. Some are still using old equipment for their work while some are just resistant to the technology. This also results in the Engineer or Surveyor writing on a piece of paper or field book any notes they need to jot down. The book or paper could easily get lost too while traveling back to the office.

What can be done? - You can provide a facility to help Surveyors and Engineers capture any field notes using their voice. They can record their voice, the device picks up the location where they recorded their voice and also provides an option to convert that voice into text. More of speech to text but with a location component.

When in the office, they can simply see the field notes they recorded for each point within their data and be able to tell things apart.

Instead of writing something like: "ST3 Dmgd + 15mm" the application/tool can jot down "Point ST3 was damaged and we had to place a 15mm iron peg marked with a red cloth in a grassy area".

This also helps anyone who will come after you understand your notes. Not everyone understands our shorthand and our handwriting.

Tools - You can start by leveraging the speech-to-text API from Google. You can then integrate this with the power of location to get the user's location. Try as much to make the backend more intensive in order to get the most accuracy from the user in case they are working on a project that is not that far much spread between an area.

5. A Geo-Portal

A geoportal is a type of web portal used to find and access geographic information and associated geographic services via the Internet

In developing countries, the concept of Open Data is a bit complicated. However, has data is usually not willing to share what they have or they are willing to offer it up for a price.

In one encounter, I basically asked if anyone could provide me with a shapefile for Schools in the country, the first respondent asked for a bid 😢. If the Government had such a platform I definitely would not go around asking in groups for data.

What can we do? - We definitely need a geoportal more than ever. A lot of people who are SDG-driven have failed to provide and come up with solutions due to the lack of data. Not to mention the advantages that come through Open Source initiatives. You could build a geoportal for your community and anyone who is willing to contribute and share data for a greater impact.

Tools - Moreover, they are tools already in existence that you can leverage such as the ESRI Geoportal Server.

This is a free, open-source product that enables discovery and use of geospatial resources including datasets, rasters, and Web services

If you love coding, you could also start to build your own Geo-Portal today.

Did You Know?

Africa through the support from ESRI has its own Geoportal? A place where anyone in Africa can get data, contribute towards open-source and also build solutions for sustainable development.

The Africa-Geoportal Homepage

In summary, the Africa GeoPortal inspires the community through Geography.

The best thing now is anyone can create an account for free. Visit https://www.africageoportal.com/ for more information and join the community that is contributing to building a greater future through geospatial.


I hope these 5 ideas can help someone out there looking and willing to work on a project within the geospatial profession.

What is required is true dedication, motivation, and time.

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I also offer project consultancy services. If you need any help or assistance which is within my capacity, please feel free to reach out to me via my Contact Page.