GIS was once a technology used only by those with the deepest pockets. Today things have begun to change. In this post we will discuss 3 reasons GIS is now more affordable, for big and small organization alike.
Low Cost Web and Mobile GIS Apps
Go back a few years and the cost of Web and mobile GIS apps was sky high; $20,000, $30,000 … And that was just for the application, add ArcGIS server or equivalent to the mix and costs could easily push north of $50,000. Today all that has changed. Web and mobile applications are now easier to build. The emphasis has been on simpler, more intuitive GIS apps. Those built to provide a specific purpose, maybe data collection, map annotation, dashboard or routing. Gone are the days of bloated expensive applications loaded with tools. There are now many free apps available. Esri’s mobile Collector app is one example. In addition many basic application frameworks have been released which can be extended. No more reinventing the wheel. At WebMapSolutions we have been extending our own and others frameworks to simplify and reduce the cost of Web and mobile application development.
Cloud GIS Computing Helping to Make GIS More Affordable
Remember the days of buying your $25,000+ ArcGIS license. For many smaller organizations this was beyond their budgets. Today, cloud technology has helped lower these costs dramatically. Esri’s new ArcGIS Online mapping platform, and open source solutions offer low price options.
The pricing of ArcGIS Online has caused some confusion. Avoiding the details, the bottom line is that this new mapping platform is a excellent low cost option for organizations with tight budgets. Starting at $2500, this platform provides all the power of ArcGIS, plus security, simple data publishing and much more. Also; no more waiting for the next release (as is still the case with ArcGIS server); upgrades are ongoing.
There are now many excellent open source solutions available. One of our current mobile projects leverages Geoserver and the leaflet mapping library. Providing disconnected functionality, the application is proving a huge success. Open source technology can potentially offer big savings.
Increasing GIS Popularity Means More GIS Expertise
As GIS becomes more popular, so the GIS talent pool increases. At WebMapSolutions we have always had a core of GIS experts, but we find as we expand that it is becoming easier to hire GIS trained staff. We have long held the view that building GIS apps is better done by those who understand the core technology. Web and mobile apps are built quicker, with far better end results.
If you are struggling with tighter budgets, or are a small organization, the good news is that GIS has never been more affordable.