I’ve written past blog post’s referencing Speedo’s. Well I am now in Speedo land: Nice in the South of France. And truly; what a place.
I’ll share that as a Brit I spent many happy times skiing and laying on beaches in France when younger. And I never wanted to go home! Variety.. Beauty.. Class. Simplicity. This country has it all.
“Je voudrais une bière” .. if only I had a better grasp on the language.
GIS from the South of France
So I am in holiday mode. But still thinking about GIS. Its sometimes good to step out of your day to day world and reflect. I spend most of my time in the GIS maelstrom. A few moments outside of the craziness is refreshing. And insightful.
So where do I see GIS in mid 2017?
I am going to say in a very odd place.
That is neither good nor bad: somewhere in between.
My sense is that the GIS industry is at a crossroads. There is a great demand for:
- Information about location
- Answers to where questions
But traditional approaches and mindsets are being challenged. Its true we are seeing technology advances, and the emergence of new terminology (see Web GIS). But to me we are taking from elsewhere and applying to our world. I’m not seeing enough internal evolution.
Sometimes I feel like we are running around like “chickens with our heads cut off”. Ouch.
Something is missing. Traditional GIS (public sector, utilities, energy) is moving slowly forward. The commercial sector (real estate, banking, insurance, retail etc) don’t understand the benefits of GIS. And GIS is using old approaches to ‘sell’ the benefits. From some of our commercial customers that is a thumbs down (which is actually why we are working together … shameless plug? .. no.. just the truth)
So where does that leave us?
Not Kool Aid that is for sure. I’ll be guided by my gut. I don’t want talk of shiny toys nor tiring sales messaging.
I want refreshingly simple and new. I want the past left behind. I’ve never been a big fan of Steve Jobs. But he did bring together a team who were able to take the old (existing tech) and forge a new path. That is what we need in GIS. I’m still not seeing it. But I’m sensing change is in the air. With the explosion of geospatial in silicon valley (see Uber, Airbnb etc), the times they are a changing.
Time to kick down the barriers and move forward.
Author: Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter: