There is a question I might suggest you ask yourself as soon as possible:

Will we be disrupted by Geospatial 2.0 .. or will we be a disrupter?

I introduced some of the core ideas behind Geospatial 2.0 in my last blog post: Geospatial 2.0: IoT & AI .. Changing our World? And discussed the topic in a recent webinar.

In this article, let’s dig deeper into the emerging Geospatial 2.0 world.

Geospatial 1.0 & Geospatial 2.0 ..

A quick review, before we dig into the meat of this article. By definition geospatial means:

Geo- is a prefix derived from the Greek word meaning “earth“

Spatial – Relating to or occupying space

Geospatial = Place(s) on earth

Geospatial 1.0 has a long history. It is an $8 billion, largely public sector focused, market. This is a GIS-centred universe. As an example, ArcGIS is arguably the most popular Geospatial 1.0 platform. An all-in-one toolbox. Made up of data services, GIS services (geo-enrichment, routing etc), and desktop, web, mobile tools. Experts are a key part of the solution delivery mechanism, These are GIS analysts and/or developers who are either in-house (employed by ArcGIS customers) or external (third-party orgs). Esri have put much focus on their partners. This is a 2000 strong community who take the ArcGIS tools, and build focused customer solutions. These solutions are an important sales mechanism for the platform. Esri have been very successful.

Many Geospatial 1.0 companies provides the tools. Experts deliver the solutions.

Geospatial 2.0 is the next phase of geospatial-powered digital solutions. It is immature, fragmented and, for now, operates in parallel with 1.0. It’s emergence has been driven by new, large scale location-based data collection and production, and new ways to analyse this data. Geospatial 2.0 is made up of 3 groups: data collection and delivery orgs, AI and analytics groups and customer solution providers.

Geospatial 2.0 is disrupting the world because business is realizing more than ever the need to be local and precise in building and executing strategies. Business issues have always been local, but solutions have been general. Now this ‘one size fits all’ approach has been picked clean, sustainable and scalable growth is coming from localization. This is an important concept.

Insight and outcome driven

Geospatial 2.0 is outcome-driven. That is, it is centred on demand or is customer-centric. AI is being used to process the large quantities of location-based data now available. This is the process of AI enabled data aggregation, creating data fusion pools. Leveraging these data pools, collections of algorithms are being built which use machine learning to answer specific user questions. These are questions of varying complexity. The combination of data fusion pools and suites of on-demand machine learning algorithms are forming Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. Geospatial 2.0 moves us from all-in-one 1.0 toolbox platforms, to focused offerings.

Leveraging this pooled location data, Geospatial 2.0 will answer specific questions asked by users for decision making, without the need for experts. That is (quoting Josh Gilbert):

Automated delivery of business insights directly to the executive persona

Disruption ..

Geospatial 2.0 is a digital disruptor. Its impact will be felt across all industries. It will shake Geospatial 1.0 out of its slumbers.

Market leaders of today will come under increasing pressure.

Those with a focus on legacy geospatial solutions, or with solutions looking for problems will go out of business.

Those in leadership positions who do not understand Geospatial 2.0, and have not begun building a 2.0 plan … will be replaced.

Disruptors ..

There has been an explosion of companies focused on data collection (satellite, aerial, drone, terrestrial) and AI respectively. Many of these will go out of business. Why?

Disruptors remain disconnected. Disruptors need to provide not just one small part, but complete customer solutions. If you are selling only one part of the whole you will fail.

Many of today’s disruptors lack both a clear strategy, and solid execution plan. Many are sales led, but lack a solid sales plan. Many are looking to form loose knit complimentary partnerships. Many are hoping to be bought by venture funds or equivalent.

Unless disruptors understand Geospatial 2.0, the implications and opportunities and their place in that universe. They will fail.


Many strong words in this article. We live in a world of huge threats, and huge opportunities. I plan to advance this discussion in future articles.

For those in the cross-hairs of disruption I will provide use cases to shake you out of your lethargy.

For those looking to disrupt, I will provide a reality check. Pointers on avoiding failure. How you might just be able to help make our world a better place.

You can reach me at [email protected]

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