I had lunch with a friend a few days ago. He asked me about what we do as a company. I said Mobile GIS. His perplexed look told me a step back was needed. He knew about iPads, also knew about GPS but what is this GIS thing? I’m sure I am not alone; how do you explain GIS? More than that how to you discuss the amazing opportunities presented by the marriage of mobile, GPS and GIS. My friend is technical but not geospatial. My short and dirty explanation:
“GIS can take location based input – find me homes which are within walking distance of both elementary and middle schools, have a surrounding area dominated by a certain demographic (young, mixed race), and non urban, wilderness areas are within a 20 min drive – crunch the numbers and output in a map form all those homes which fit the given criteria.”
Mobile GIS allows house hunters to use GIS while out conducting their new home search, and to add ‘near my current location’ to the search criteria
GIS has has always been a niche discipline. For those trained in the technology. The maps we work with either on desktops or the web, are built to be used by those who understand buffering, projection, overlays. Mobile devices with their inbuilt GPS sensors present the opportunity to provide GIS tools to a mobile workforce; both GIS and non GIS folk.
Mobile technology is new; GIS on mobile even newer. I commonly come across GIS folk who cannot connect these dots; mobile, GIS and GPS. At the minute the opportunities to create new and exciting mobile apps leveraging these technologies are limited by ones imagination!
Its a field wide open; a new frontier. We live in exciting times.