Predictions, predictions. I’m not one to go off into la-la land when it comes to looking ahead at this new year for GIS. Drones, 3D, sensors etc I’ll leave to others. I like to go for a more grounded approach, look at what we saw in 2015 and extrapolate into 2016. But I do believe this is a time of huge opportunity for our industry.
GIS in 2016 = Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity
1. Integration of GIS into Business Intelligence (BI) platforms
GIS really forms part of the much bigger world of business intelligence. We can tout location intelligence (LI) until the cows come home. Alone that is a hard sell. But built into BI it becomes another business tool. We have already seen this process begin with the MapBox Tableau integration. We will see more of these integration’s in 2016.
2. New players entering the market
The location technology market is rife with innovation. We will see new players coming into the market in 2016. Many will not use the GIS tag. These companies will be building both new solutions, and better solutions than already exist: that means competition. Traditional GIS solution providers will see new, nimble upstarts enter the market. Lean and mean, these companies will begin to shake up the location technology market. Companies like Novotx who provide asset & work management software.
3. Rise of Mobile
The use and adoption of mobile GIS has been slow. Mobile has been big news across the IT landscape for many years now. But in GIS things have been moving at a glacial pace. All eyes have been on Collector for ArcGIS. But towards the end of 2015 we began to see a shift: a realization of the potential of mobile GIS. For 2016 we predict there will be greater interest in mobile Web GIS. Why?
That means there is no need to build multiple versions of the same GIS application for mobile use. Pull up a browser on your mobile device and go! The popularity of hybrid laptops will help drive the demand for mobile Web apps (as well as Windows as an operating system) providing a seamless GIS experience or:
4. Morphing of the GIS Big Boys
The GIS industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Technological advances with cloud and mobile computing has created an environment for disruption. Location technology is coming out of the shadows. Mainstream demand has created huge opportunities. Change is in the air. And that can be confusing and a little scary. For 2016 I believe we will see morphing of the GIS big boys. What does that mean? Transition, gradual alteration that is what! Our comfy little industry is being turned on its head. No longer the bastion of geography nerds (like me). Business folk are moving in, focused on problem solving and talking the language of the non-GIS community. 2016 will see the successful transformation of the GIS big boys, driven by this world of opportunities.
5. Rise of Corporate, Commercial GIS Jobs
The public sector has been the bread and butter of GIS historically. Many of us (have) worked for or with cities, counties, state and federal entities. In 2016 we will see a rise in demand for GIS professionals in the corporate sector. Geospatial will be one of the more in demand (job) skills. Universities will see increasing demand for geo-science courses. The employment picture overall for our profession will be rosy in 2016.
6. Integration, integration, integration
Ok, a play on the location, location, location mantra. But we will see a big demand for integration with GIS in 2016. That’s more than just with BI platforms. We spent time in 2015 integrating the mining focused Acquire platform with ArcGIS. There will be an increasing demand for these types of integration’s in 2016.
There you have it. Evolution not revolution is what i see for 2016.
If 2015 was a year of understanding, 2016 will be the year we see action. The changes will gradual, but very discernible for those who keep their eyes and ears open.
Happy New Year.
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