We have often spoken about the fact that GIS is a small part of a much bigger geospatial whole. A new report commissioned by Google puts numbers against this assertion. And the results are surprising.
GIS is $5bn part of a $400bn Industry
More than half of this revenue was driven by location-based data services, including satellites, environmental, and human data. Another 39% was contributed by geospatial apps and devices. 4% came from consulting and academic services.
That makes GIS just over 1% of the overall geospatial sector!
The geospatial sector as a whole is expanding at an unprecedented rate. New developments such as autonomous cars will only accelerate that expansion. With GIS projected to grow to $10.12 Billion by 2023, its slice of the geospatial bigger pie will continue to shrink.
So what is the future of GIS?
Projected growth remains healthy, but the landscape is changing. Competition for customers (heavily focused in the public sector) is hotting up. Expansion into the wider geospatial world is proving challenging for many traditional GIS providers. That is particularly true in the commercial sector where the value proposition of GIS is poorly understood. With popular business platforms like Tableau offering ever better digital maps, its hard to justify a GIS purchase for a technology which is perceived as “nice to have, not must have”. From within the GIS industry we have heard comments like “We have always been successful doing things this way, why would we change?”.
As GIS staff begin to explore opportunities in the wider geospatial world and GIS consulting companies look to build new partnerships, these are interesting times for traditional GIS. Yesterday’s ways of doing business will not work today. Change is needed. And fast!