We live in changing times in the geo-space. Our work with location data as a company, began in the 90’s. Its been an interesting ride; from desktop to Internet, to now the cloud and mobile. New conferences appeared like Where 2.0; too many so called experts and innovators were thrust at us. Much of this left us cold; GIS for the masses with venture capitalists lurking in the background. We became a little cynical.

But truly exciting things are now happening. As the term GIS fades; location data and the integration of other business systems (SAP etc) with geospatial services moves our work from its historic niche, to solving real business problems. With mobile, new location data is becoming available. Mobile apps now provide access to location services, for both the consumer and the Enterprise. ArcGIS Online we see as huge. Its a pleasure to hear guys like Sean Gorman talk about our geospatial future. In fact talking about Sean, here is an excellent recent James Fee interview with the man:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-KiyLX8NWYU

The Rise of Location Data and Location Services

We cannot help but concur with many of the points raised by Sean. We asked some time ago (somewhat tongue in cheek) whether the term GIS should be retired. We agree it forms part of a much bigger whole. Much now need focus on location data, and what we do with that data. We often used to wonder when attending Where 2.0 “looks nice but how is this gonna make money?”. It was a case of jump on the geo band wagon (post Google Maps release), build geo-products and expect that “they” will come. But they did not come and year after year, similar ideas seemed recycled.

So what has changed? From our perspective its the emergence of new platforms; the cloud, mobile devices and truly innovative releases such as ArcGIS Online. These will help the narrow niche that was GIS and location systems become more widely accepted and adopted. Location data and the integration of location and other business systems will help widespread market adoption.

As Sean says in the interview we need to start with the business problem and use geo technology as a potential part of the solution. A plethora of new data delivered by sensors and mobiles, and data access from anywhere and at any time. These new platforms will impact both the way we live and work. Bigger than the Internet revolution? Quite possibly.

ArcGIS Online – Story Maps, and the Management and Deliver of Geospatial Data from Multiple Sources

We’ve spoken about our enthusiam for ArcGIS Online elsewhere on this blog. Easy publishing of geo-data from multiple sources, combined with easy access. This platform broadens the reach of geospatial data to a far wider audience. Story maps help to extend this reach. We’ve never liked the term mash up, but a story map is a combination of geo and non geo data types to tell a story. Here is one we have been working on:

If you did not read Bern Szukalski article entitled ‘Enabling the Fifth Part of a Successful GIS’ its well your time:

http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/2012/08/30/fifth-part-of-gi/

So plenty of challenges ahead, but some real opportunities to provide new tools to help solve business problems and engage a much wider audience.

Tell us what you think.

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