For this weeks Geospatial Friday we're off to San Francisco to meet someone who understands the industry very well. Linda Hecht previously held a number of senior marketing positions with Esri and currently works as Managing Partner for a geospatial consultancy called 51by1.
The following are some thought-provoking predictions for 2016 taken from one of Lindas posts earlier this year. Feel free to discuss or share your own ideas in the comments section below.
Over to Linda.
The speed of change is accelerating in 2016 for all things geo, location, geography, spatial, place - whatever it is called - will break away from its traditional silos and become integrated and used in new and game-changing ways.
Why now? Key drivers are enabling rapid growth and uptake. New and innovative companies are entering into the geo space, bringing fresh ideas and skills. At the same time, traditional back office Geographic Information Systems (GIS) companies are unable to move to the app and solution space. The foundation of data and a geo-knowledgeable workforce are built, now is the time to empower these GIS professionals with tools, apps and demand for their skills.
1. Back office GIS will be open source.
There is still lots of room for disruption in the GIS world. A group of passionate and smart developers are building open source GIS that is requirements-driven, open to innovation and collaboration and extremely well designed. More organizations will opt for open source tools that free them up from the yearly maintenance. This in turn enables more control of their software money and where it gets spent.
* update - for an example - see how open source is creating innovation even at in traditional GIS desktop tools. https://gisunchained.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/qgis-features-i-long-for-while-using-arcgis/
Look for more of this in 2016. My hope is that more GIS professionals contribute ideas and code to this effort.
2. GIS platform dead.
Well, it’s not dead exactly but it has yet to be built. Today’s platforms are comprised of products built separately and tied together through marketing. There is a need for a designed platform that supports the key functions needed in a simple and robust manner. GIS professionals will be key in this especially as they become more involved in an open community.
3. Specialized cloud (SaaS) solutions grow.
Solutions will be developed that leverage the ever-growing spatial data but will not necessarily be tied to a full stack of GIS software. Core tools will be shared but solutions will focus on ease-of-use and results. User experience designers and business knowledge will drive these efforts - so we will see an increase demand for these skill sets. This will result in the quick uptake of geo in a wide variety of industries. The business model and pricing will be based on value.
4. Geo will be integrated into systems.
Maps as the sole interface or app will continue to be used for storytelling. Maps are amazing to show results, share ideas and collaborate. We all love maps. Businesses however need results. They need to solve a problem or come up with new ways of doing business. They need to save money while avoiding risk. Integrating spatial into business processes will accelerate innovation by getting answers quicker and more accurately. Traditional GIS and LBS will begin to merge as new geo-systems bring the science of GIS to new problems and opportunities. This will include integration into the IoT.
5. Data- it's all about the data.
Closed proprietary formats will continue to used by those locked into existing systems but there will be a bigger demand for sharing and using data where and when it is needed. There will be ways to track the flow of spatial data and understand how it fits into enterprise IT. Spatial will become an integrated component of an organization’s IT enterprise.
6. 3D models in the cloud.
Anyone with spatial data can build and model smarter cities. 3D simulation won't just be for movies and games. Geodesign will gain traction as new apps and data become available. User will share and collaborate in the cloud enabling shared knowledge to extend today’s model of project-based knowledge.
I believe this is a magical time for geo. I have spent my adult life dedicated to geography, GIS, geospatial and marketing. I now see a critical mass in community and awareness. The vision that we in this industry have created and worked for is now happening. It is fueled by passion and insight. It has fresh new faces and ideas. It is not locked into one way of thinking rather it treasures and values all ideas.
I have listed trends that I think are sign of change in the geo market. What trends do you see?