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 »
Top Geospatial Predictions for 2013
December 31st, 2012 by Susan Smith
On this first day of the Winter Solstice, it is a time of reflection and quiet, noticing how remarkable it is that the planets are all aligned with the sun. It is also a good time to look at what we might find important geospatial topics for 2013.
1. Climate Change. Although climate change has been around for quite some time, it is a problem that is not going away and in fact showing itself in more urgent ways. The change in climate affects our weather, seas, coastlines, food supplies, natural resources, health, housing, to name a few areas of survival. The increase in natural disasters can be attributed in large part due to climate change. As federal and global agencies spend more funding on disaster recovery and restoration, they will have to pay attention to the longer-range outlook of recovering the global ecology.
The most popular article on GISCafe Today this past year was the following article:
2. Satellite imagery. In July, Herndon-based GeoEye announced plans to combine with competitor DigitalGlobe in a deal worth $900 million, following the federal government’s move to reduce funding for their most lucrative contract. Prior to this GeoEye had tried a hostile takeover of DigitalGlobe, which the Denver-based company refused. This merger was finalized in November.
The companies have been direct competitors for many years, offering photo capture and other imagery from satellites that orbit the Earth, that they then sell them to federal agencies, the military and others who benefit from a bird’s-eye view of the planet. It is hoped that the merger will save both companies money in the production of their satellites.
This merger signals a shift, not only in the one-stop shopping offering of one American satellite imagery for all, but also makes a telling statement about the federal government’s cuts in geospatial spending. At this point the extent of the cuts is unknown nor do we know what aspects of the industry will be affected.
3. Cloud. The cloud appears to be here to stay, and although it is somewhat old news, it is new news in the way it will be deployed going forward.
According to Esri president Jack Dangermond, “With the dawning of the cloud web world pattern for GIS, we’re seeing how we can share this knowledge and create better understanding. GIS drives understanding.”
More Autodesk products are being moved to the cloud to facilitate ease in sharing and ability to store more data.
Autodesk CEO Carl Bass says, “Cloud architecture is the biggest thing to happen to computing since the PC.”
4. Geospatial in Infrastructure. In response to the critical need for infrastructure repair and retrofit in the U.S., geospatial visualization, geolocation and integration has found its way into the world of architecture and construction. There is $53 billion worth of infrastructure that must be repaired or replaced in the U.S. Globally, there is a greater investment in infrastructure. Creating an intelligent infrastructure requires the use of geospatial, for site planning, indoor mapping, weather and soil analysis and many other uses. This increases the urgency for geospatial in the creation of new cities or revamping existing ones.
The industry area that has enjoyed a huge uptake in recent years is Civil. Both Autodesk and Bentley Systems have 3D civil engineering products that are fully integrated with geospatial solutions that can be used with Esri software. The latest trend according to IMAGINiT, an Autodesk consultancy, is that the customer base that was reluctant to adopt Civil 3D now must have it. GIS customers are gravitating toward their Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler.
5. Mobile. Although mobile is not new, it is changing dramatically. More tablet devices are being used in the developed world, bringing more information to more people, and this usage is extending to the developing world. Mobile devices in developing countries are used for banking and healthcare and are in general used for more tasks. This is a market to tap into, making GIS available to more people who might otherwise not have access to it, and thereby giving them a voice which can then influence land ownership, health, analysis of soils and weather, all topics that can make a profound difference to their lives.
6. Security. Teresa Payton, Former White House CIO, Cybersecurity Authority and Identity Theft Expert, made some surprising announcements about security:
“51% of CIOS cite security as their greatest concern regarding current or planned moves to cloud computing.”
“According to the FBI, there are two types of companies right now. Those that have been hacked and those that don’t realize they’ve been hacked.”
One thing she said concerns CIOs and CEOs is intellectual property theft. She gave an example: a big company was hacked of their intellectual property. They had hired some kids from China for the summer, and when they left, so did 20 years of research. “Whoever stole it probably knows what to do with it,” Payton said. “If they had had a vendor partner this might not have been so devastating.”
“I believe with the right best practices and the right conversations with your vendor, you can actually be safer in the cloud.”
Most outsourcing contracts fail to cover security effectively, according to Gartner.
By 2013 the enterprise will turn to hybrid clouds for services, and will look to private clouds for B2B interaction management and governance strategies. By 2014 the cloud will be the primary operating model for enterprise IT organizations. By 2015 economies of scale and cloud security assurances will drive more enterprises to adopt cloud services. Personal computers and devices will get replaced more and more by the cloud.
“There’s a new role emerging – global executive of cloud services,” said Peyton.
Peyton recommended getting a pre-nup agreement for signing with a cloud services provider. If they go bankrupt or you split up, how are your digital assets protected? Right now the courts are confused about data when it is the topic of a subpoena. “If your data had been still in house when it was stolen, you have obligations to your clients to protect their data,” said Peyton. “You need to make sure there is clarity about whose data it is.”
She recommended that companies build a data map of what should be protected and at what level. With the cloud, you don’t have line-of-sight.
Tips for protecting your organization:
7. Data. In recent years, we have had to re-evaluate our relationship to data. There is more of an urgency to share more data today and ways to share it. Again, not a new topic, but crowdsourcing is being used a great deal in disaster recovery. The increasing ability to measure using crowdsourcing tools and sensor tools, brings up other issues of how we make that available which brings up issues of ownership and privacy, according to Esri CEO Jack Dangermond. Computing is growing dramatically with cloud computing and SaaS, physically and bigger bandwidths are getting connected and layered on top of that is social networking. GIS is easier, more embeddable and interoperable with other tools, there is also 3D, multidimensional and integrating real time information. According to Dangermond, this is the beginning of a new pattern that will lead to a collaborative framework, a common infrastructure that can connect different agencies and break down the silos.
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