I’m always sad when winter’s snows melt. But the arrival of Spring, with its burst of colour, tempers that sadness: ‘It’s the time of year when everything in nature is changing, promising new life and new hope.’

My sense is we are in a geospatial SpringThat we are moving into an incredibly exciting new phase filled with amazing possibilities.

Geospatial 2.0 is upon us.

Before we dive in, Approaching Geospatial 2.0: Unlocking billions, across verticals, at scale by Josh Gilbert and Gopal Erinjippurath defined the term Geospatial 2.0. Credit to them both. I agree with much of their thinking. They have placed that ‘marker in the ground’. In this article I hope to advance the thinking around Geospatial 2.0.

What is Geospatial 2.0?

Let’s set the stage. Geospatial 2.0 is evolving in parallel with Geospatial 1.0. So what is Geospatial 1.0?

At a high level:

  • Map-centric.
  • Public sector is its sweet-spot.
  • Architected largely for 2-dimensional data.
  • Designed for experts.
  • Centred on desktop applications.
  • “A collection of tools for analysts to ‘download, view and analyze’”.
  • Solution-centric, which regards ‘Spatial as Special’.
  • Characterized by one-size-fits-all platforms
  • Characterized by ‘lock-in’ business models.

Geospatial 2.0 heralds a major change.

Advances in sensor fusion capability and emerging business models, we will soon have scalable, tailored geospatial products which can be applied at scale to an array of markets.

Geospatial 2.0 is disruptive.

Geospatial 2.0 is being powered by new location-based data, and new ways to analyse that data.

Geospatial 2.0 is quite separate from Geospatial 1.0. The evolving Geospatial 2.0 world is being powered by a different collection of companies; new, small, innovative organizations.

The real world is organized around people and places. Geospatial 2.0 is moving us towards a digital world version of our world.

The opportunity here is significant. [this is] a market projected to hit $86 billion by 2023

Josh and Gopal place much of their emphasis on geospatial analytics. That requires geospatial data plus a framework which brings everything together and provides visualization capabilities.

Geospatial 1.0 has a technology focus, targeting geospatial experts. Characterised by toolkit, subscription based business models, and an “if we build it they will come” mentality: That means solutions looking for problems.

Geospatial 2.0 is quite different. It is focused on business users. More than simply BI users, this is the wider user group Geospatial 1.0 has struggled to reach.

In the Geospatial 2.0 landscape, technological and computational advances allow automated delivery of business insights directly to the executive persona. This new paradigm is a significant lever for the creation of business value

Geospatial 2.0 is not focused on selling products or subscriptions, it is truly solution focused. The real value of Geospatial 2.0 lies in the data and the insights derived from that data.

There’s no shortage of tech to build products or solutions, but those that endure will be those that are built in close collaboration with the customers they set out to serve.

Location ties everything together – our historical worlds of CAD, Mapping, and GIS, with 3D modeling, [analytics], BIM, Digital Twins and IoT, and even out to AR and full VR.

What is missing?

The evolution of Geospatial 2.0 is very organic. Nothing is centred on any one group. It is made up of an expanding, loose collection of (often) small innovative organizations whose products/solutions are centred on location. These are organizations and companies who are collecting and providing multi-dimensional data (satellite imagery, aerial/terrestrial/indoor LiDAR, real-time IoT data etc) and those analysing that data through AI and other methods respectively.

Many of those operating in the Geospatial 2.0 space may not even know the term geospatial.

Location data is at the core of Geospatial 2.0. Demonstrating to customers the value of location data to tackle problems, through analytics and new ways to view that data, is at the heart of Geospatial 2.0.

The future success of Geospatial 2.0 will require geospatial thinkers. Those who can bridge the gap between the customer, problem and path to a solution. Those who can bring the currently disconnected pieces of geospatial 2.0 together.

This is the missing piece in the Geospatial 2.0 jigsaw puzzle.

These are not the geospatial developers or analysts who dominate Geospatial 1.0. This is a new breed of geospatial folks: those who are business-centric, and speak the language of both the customer and technologists.

I’m in the process of building an organization which will help fill this gap, and drive Geospatial 2.0 forward.

Conclusion

It is my belief that Geospatial 1.0 remains important. It serves a large audience, providing mission-critical tools. But Geospatial 1.0 is a niche. Geospatial 2.0 is quite different. It will revolutionize the geospatial industry, and beyond. It will provide new answers to tough questions.

It will drive innovation, and spawn new services, solutions and businesses almost unimaginable today.

Geospatial 2.0 is about to change our world.

You can reach me at [email protected]

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