We’ve mentioned before in this blog how, too often, we feel expert GIS predictions are focused on the new unproven shiny toys: VR, AR etc. A change is in the air for location technology. New demand for information about location, driven by the popularity of mobiles, is driving this change. New players are coming into the market. Esri, Google (See our post Is-Google Getting out of the Mapping Game?) and other key players are changing.

Exciting, unpredictable times.

We like the new GeoHipster web site. In particular we liked the HOT in geo in 2015 blog post, since many took an industry rather than than technology or product focus. Many of the themes fit with our thoughts.

We were interested in Bill Dollins thoughts around geo. He suggests geo will supercede GIS. So new geo tools will appear which do not require a full blown GIS. Adding geo-awareness is key, with or without GIS. To quote Bill:

“2015 will start to expose the fact that ‘Enterprise GIS’ is really only relevant to GIS enterprises.”

Nicely put.

Carl Reed shares a similar viewpoint:

“Geo has been and is being quietly and effectively integrated into many, many application domains with little or no fanfare… In all of these cases, GIS need not apply”

It was great to see Paul Ramsay, of PostGIS fame, inteviewed. We picked up on his mention of:

“‘GIS’ results, without ‘GIS’ software”

Geo data without map, and GIS: embedded spatial everywhere. Indeed. This actually may fit well with Ed Freyfogle mention of “services/apps will emerge that assume/require continual knowledge of the consumer’s location”. Geo with or without GIS.

Many business models are moving towards the concept of the ecosystem and ‘pay for play’. We were pleased to see mention of this in a number of the interviews. Randal Hale says:

“You can’t rely on one software ecosystem to provide all your needs and wants”

We have long felt this is the idea behind Esri’s ArcGIS Online credits, you pay for just the pieces you need.

Our blog discussions have centered around traditional versus emerging GIS. We’ve suggested GIS is polarized between “business as usual” and “new appoaches”. We see emerging GIS as part of the movement to make GIS more accessible. Gary Gale expects:

“ESRI to make ArcGIS online much less GIS-like”

We already see it is moving that way. This is part of the ‘democratization’ of GIS. At WebMapSolutions we have long wondered (as have others) whether the term GIS is itself redundant.

Moving along we saw HTML5 and Javascript mention. True they are the current flavour of the month. We find Andrew Zolnai comment interesting:

“HTML5 will make apps redundant”

Not sure we agree with redundant, but of increasing importance no doubt: one code base ->cross-platform->cross-device->web or installed (PhoneGap). A small plug. At WebMapSolutions we have been pushing hard on Javascript. We have just released DisconnectedJS; a Javascript library which provides offline capabilities to any ArcGIS web app. Also GeoIntegrator, another Javscript library which simplifies integrating ArcGIS with other platforms.

A moments digression (but fitting with the general theme in this post). Head scratching continues at WebMapSolutions over the recent Google announcements (ending Google Maps Engine, Google Earth plugin and API). Something is going on. We don’t believe for a second Google are getting out of the geo space. But a new strategy ?

Back to the GeoHipster article. We found Damian Spangrud of Esri thoughts fascinating:

“Battles continue to be fought between ‘old guard geospatial experts’ and the new comers. ”

He talks about the need to work together and break established norms, with judgement applied to context and content. Great stuff.

We are GIS folk through and through at WebMapSolutions, but we see too many of our peers hanging on tightly to their niche mentality. Its time to open up, engage, and welcome all to the wonders of location technology.

What do you think?

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