Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Welcome to the GISCafe Voice
October 19th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Welcome to our new offering, the GISCafe Voice. This is a new editorial blog-type content that will provide more timely coverage of breaking news to be posted two-three times per week. The articles will provide rich editorial content on topics important to GIS and geospatial professionals, including conference coverage, coverage of geospatial being used in emergency response and disaster recovery, and new products and trends that shape the industry.
Why the GISCafe Voice at this time?
We’re noticing that as geospatial information and geographic information systems become more pervasive, they are becoming critical in more industries than ever before. They are a part of the defense military and homeland security departments, tracking and identification of weather systems such as hurricanes , tsunamis, floods and earthquakes. Organizations without large GIS departments still need access to GIS information which is possible now with technologies that allow individuals to view, markup and access GIS information on the internet or in the cloud. Crowdsourcing has added another dimension to GIS and geospatial, opening up the technology to anyone who wants to contribute current information about an event, community or disaster.
What is in demand?
Portability, mobility, collaboration, availability.
We have become accustomed to the ubiquitousness of technologies such as Google Maps and Google Earth that have made the globe and geography a part of everyday life. The GPS on the iPhone or Android makes it possible to throw away paper maps and rely on the GPS to find your way in a strange city, or to find a restaurant or hotel. Added to this is the sheer bandwidth available today to bring large spatial images and data sets to a small mobile device! What does it mean when most of what you need to access is available at your fingertips, on a small interactive pocketsize square?
At this year’s Esri User Conference, CEO and president Jack Dangermond said this new pattern of GIS – making it available to everyone – can mean bringing authoritative source information in and blending it with web with social network information, then making it available through lightweight mobile devices.
GIS is now being used by people who do not know GIS. Lamont Norman, global product manager – OnDemand, Geocoding & Risk Data of Pitney Bowes Insight, jokingly said that they “do GIS to people and they don’t know it,” in other words, they provide GIS without the map. This is common in the world of risk management, where what is important is a geocode of an address and latitude and longitude.
Where once GIS technology customers were experts in utilities, telecommunications and other industries, with the advent of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the role of the GIS administrator has changed dramatically – to provide GIS for everyone – CEOs, marketers, administrators, city planners and other stakeholders who need geospatial answers and data quickly without needing to know how the technology works.
County and city administrators can build a website in no time, making it possible for citizens to report activity in neighborhoods, on streets, with utilities, and ingest information for their projects. Just look at the difference a few years has made in the ability to respond to incidents and disasters from what it was.
“During the recent Hurricane Irene that hit the East Coast, one colleague said the customer went from a request to having imagery in their hands within three hours,” said Tony Frazier, GeoEye senior vice president of Marketing. At one time, people may have had to wait days or weeks for critical information; now it can be available within minutes or hours and can reach numerous people, and can help shape the decision making process.
GIS is becoming invisible as it becomes ubiquitous and powers various consumer, location, tracking, real estate, imagery and other applications. The convergence of design and geospatial is cutting edge and worthy of note. At the January 2010 Esri GeoDesign conference in Redlands, numerous organizations offered their perspectives on the convergence of architectural and geospatial and what it means to the future – GeoDesign.
With all this rapidfire growth, standards organizations work hard to keep up with the various demands for new standards to manage social networking, mobile, satellite imagery, authoritative source information, sensors, geodesign, 3D geocities and much more.
As you can see, there is a lot to cover these days and we want to bring you the best coverage in whatever form is best whether it be text, video or other content.
Staying in touch, providing a perspective and “Voice” to what’s happening in GIS and geospatial, that’s what the GISCafe Voice is here to do.