Turmoil, resistance, adjustment, fear, confusion …. this is what I am sensing from the GIS community over the enormous changes we are experiencing in the industry.

From the non-GIS community, education is the main challenge. What does location intelligence bring me that I am not getting from my business intelligence system?

Change is good. Change is scary. But with change comes opportunity. In 2014 its all about realizing those opportunities.

Reflections on GIS in 2014

Looking over the current landscape, many of us are still pushing our ‘old’ solutions; targeting ArcGIS Server or equivalent directly. That is natural. Esri are doing a fantastic job, their technical teams are pushing ahead of us all. The platform message is still sinking in. Moving to ArcGIS Online and portal, still needs explaining (see our ArcGIS Online DeMystified article). This is a time of evolution.

We are seeing the adoption of mobile and cloud GIS technology as a slow process. We’ve had many conversations with large organizations who are looking to implement mobile cloud GIS solutions “maybe in the next 2 years”.

Its the early adopters among clients, and most far sighted of GIS companies who are implementing these new solutions. We’ve been seeking out, and working with some of these more far sighted clients. Those who see the real possibilities mobile and cloud GIS bring. These clients reactions to how this technology changes their workflows is truly priceless. Its easy to show ROI when you get your daily tasks completed in a third of the time!

Looking Beyond 2014

Slowly cloud and mobile technology will move past the early adopters. One suspects, beyond a certain critical mass, we will see a rush to the technology. This may mean a shakeout of existing GIS companies. Those who cling too long to existing legacy – I use that term with caution – solutions will be particularly vulnerable. Will the mass adoption be driven by clients or GIS practitioners? That is a key question. Esri and other GIS core providers will have a key part to play here.

The integration of existing business systems with GIS is truly intriguing. Pushing location data in, pulling business data out to map and analyse in new ways. We see huge possibilities here and are in conversation with SAP and other large BI solution providers around integration.

We are truly in the midst of a GIS revolution. In 2014 we are feeling the first reverberations. Big changes are all around us. Are you jumping in or sitting on the sidelines? Let us know.

For more on this topic see our current blog post: It is amazing what is now possible with mobile and cloud GIS

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