So I love running. You’ll find me running often at midday (its true only mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun). Running helps me think. Its often the inspiration behind many of these blog posts. I was thinking today about the current state of GIS. And it struck me there is a key missing piece in the GIS pie. Namely GIS-lite. This blog post is about the growing demand for GIS-Lite. Let’s explore.

The growing demand for GIS-Lite

Today there are 2 flavours of GIS:

1. GIS ‘heavy’ Products – These are the traditional server based GIS solutions. Often license based. These solutions can be expensive and need in-house GIS expertise. But they remain the GIS engine in many organizations.

2. GIS ‘lighter’ Products – These have emerged over the last few years. Platform based solutions which are usually built around subscriptions. Far more user friendly than server based GIS. But, as I often point out in this blog, still requiring GIS expertise. GIS remains complex. Guidance, training or skilled GIS staff are still a requirement to get the most out of these new platforms.

Server dependent organizations are being encouraged to move to platform based GIS. Resistance to this move centers on “Knowing what we have” and “Not fully understanding what we will get”. This is why I often write about staying focused on business problems and helping (see our from Where to There process) clients from business problems to solutions leveraging these new platforms.

We believe a third flavour of GIS is needed: GIS-lite.

3. GIS-lite Products – We see GIS-lite as a way to solve simple problems using GIS. GIS-lite we see integrated into existing business intelligence (BI) solutions. Answering simple where questions. GIS-lite is a true GIS solution, but requires limited training. Business analysts would extend their skills to include spatial concepts. Applying location intelligence and location analytics tools to solve problems.

GIS-lite is a key missing element within the GIS universe. Not a full, complex GIS. But also not a ‘points on a map’ type solution like Google maps (that is not meant as a criticism. Google has a very important place in the geo-universe).

Much of our work as a company is done with ArcGIS, but we were interested to read about the Mapbox-Tableau integration. On first reading this would seem like a GIS-lite solution. We anticipate more of these types of integrations occurring in the future. Developing GIS-lite type solutions is one of our areas of particular interest. We believe there is a huge demand for GIS-lite solutions, which will open the door to much future innovation, and adoption of GIS.

Contact us on 801-733-0723.


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