Natural Language Query

James Fee
James Fee
Jul 23, 2018 · 2 min read

Cityzenith uses Natural Language Processing every day even if it is just to set a timer or remind yourself to take out the trash. Straightforward tasks that cannot take much longer to pull the phone out of your pocket yet we ask our phones or our speakers to handle it for us. The tools that accomplish this have come a very long way since Siri was first introduced to iPhone users with the iPhone 4s back in 2011. Most houses now have an Alexa, Google Now or Siri speaker system just waiting for them to ask it to tell them a joke or play some music. Heck, we have multiple units in our house working together, not to mention that phone in your pocket waiting. However, this is such a simple problem, “What is the weather?”. We can do so much more than this.

Asq query in Smart World Professional

Amazon, being Amazon, has released the power behind Alexa as a service called Amazon Lex. This is powerful because you can hook up just about anything you wish and let Lex parse out the human words recorded and then run (at least in our case) Lambda instances to perform analysis on data. It can be something as simple as “Take me to London,” and the map pans to London, or run a report, “Area analysis for Chicago” and you get a detailed analysis of what is in the neighborhood. The technology behind this was part of our Asq engine which we released over a year ago. As much as someone like me enjoys thinking about this as a command line for Smart World, most people don’t look at the world this way.

So we have always said you can use Asq to “ask” questions of your data and now we’re releasing this to our users. Rather than learn our query language or even using SQL (which we support), you can speak your query and Asq will interpret and show you the results. It even will ask for clarifications if your question was vague. See the video below:

We’re extending this out to every function that Asq can perform and bringing in Amazon Comprehend to teach Asq what architects, engineers, planners, real estate professionals and anyone who wants to know a little bit more about their project want to know. If you want to learn more, we’re here to talk.

James Fee

Written by

James Fee

VP-Professional Services at Spatial Networks. Fan of @SFGiants.

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