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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
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 »

GISCafe Industry Predictions 2020 – Part 5

January 30th, 2020 by Susan Smith

GISCafe Industry Predictions for 2020 move forward into February. Topics covered this week are cloud-based asset management systems, artificial intelligence, smart cities, citizen science, open source mapping and data, GNSS advancements, big spatial data analytics, drone industry, enterprise scale and dashboards and data visualizations.

Companies participating this week are AssetWorks EAM, RoadBotics, EOS Positioning Systems, Timmons Group and vHive.

Marion Spencer, GISP, EAM Product Manager for AssetWorks Enterprise Asset Management

“In 2020, the AssetWorks EAM team predicts that cloud-based asset management systems outnumber premise-based systems. Today, many organizations are running their GIS software through on-premise systems. While once an innovative solution, on-premise software cannot compete with the new, efficient software and features that are available through cloud-based options. These include, but are not limited to, ArcGIS Online and remote access options through integrated software, like AssetWorks EAM and Esri.

These cloud-based technologies open a new host of features that work to decrease overhead while simultaneously increasing each organization’s ability to be more transparent with their constituents, customers and citizens about what the organization is accomplishing.

It comes as no surprise that cloud technology can host fast, accessible and interactive maps for organizations to create, edit and adjust as needed. With visual tools at the organization’s disposal, they can highlight important features or trends that a viewer needs to be on the lookout for. In addition, all users can view these maps from wherever their access points permit – this includes remote locations where apps have store-forward technology. This means that the latest version of the map is loaded on the app when the field worker leaves the office. While in the remote forest with no internet connection, the worker makes updates to an asset or feature on the map. Once back online, the edits are transferred, and the map is updated.

Most importantly, the clients cannot be forgotten. Whether they are customers, citizens or constituents, they are often eager to know what an organization is doing with their money or to improve their environments. With shareable maps and reports, only the most important and publicly available information needs to be shown. This valued audience can rest assured that their best interests are at heart, and the organization is aware of and working on any trends or issues that need improving.

To learn more about cloud-based asset management, visit”

Marion Spencer, GISP works as the EAM Product Manager for AssetWorks Enterprise Asset Management. Before her role at AssetWorks, she supported the United States Navy, Air Force and Army through geospatial analysis.  

Lisa McCune-Noll, Cartographer with the Products Team at RoadBotics

“At RoadBotics, we strive to provide customers with the best, most accurate road assessments possible. We are always looking to the future of how we can improve and add to our assessment offerings.

So looking down the road, here are some of my predictions for the future of GIS technologies for 2020 and beyond.


Municipalities at all levels will employ Smart City infrastructure technologies to assess, maintain, and plan their communities in both urban and rural environments. Citizens expect better infrastructure maintenance and greater data accessibility — and are asking for it.

These infrastructure components include roadways, parking lots, street lights, traffic lights, road signs, guardrails, jersey barriers, gutters, sewer grates, above ground & below ground utilities, greenspaces, parks, vacant lots, sidewalks, and bike paths; with even more components added in the future.

AI & Data Analytics

With AI, proper and regular assessment of infrastructure components will become a streamlined, automated process.  Data will be condensed into concise reports for officials to use — improving and integrating everything from transportation networks and construction status, to emergency response and public safety. This data will provide valuable context for making and prioritizing informed decisions efficiently, as well as a reduced cost.

This will leverage itself into disaster mapping & climate change preparations as well, by assessing infrastructure impacts from catastrophic weather events utilizing highly accurate ‘before & after’ data sets.

The impetus is there for businesses to commoditize data collection apps and other technologies, and provide these services to governments, municipalities, nonprofits, and industry alike.

Apps, Accessibility, and Citizen Science

In addition, the easy access to cellphone mapping apps will be a game-changer for the hyperlocal ‘Citizen Science’ movements. They will enable new GIS users to collect & conduct analysis on their own data using open source software and share it to the cloud.

Cellphone apps will provide increasing functionality with GPS and mapping tools accessible to everyone from municipalities for tracking infrastructure assets to citizen scientists recording biodiversity in their own backyards.

Open Source Mapping & Data

Open Source mapping platforms such as Open Street Map (OSM) increasingly will provide adaptable, portable, and customizable tools for producing maps available to everyone from citizens to municipalities and businesses. More and more citizens are asking for it, and more municipalities are providing it.

Likewise, nonprofits will greatly benefit from open source data to collaborate with each other as well as with citizens, businesses, and governments. Sharing data openly will also greatly influence future developments in sustainability.”

Lisa McCune-Noll is a Cartographer with the Products Team at RoadBotics, with 16 years of experience in the GIS & Photogrammetry industry. She is also co-founding a new community mapping OSM group in Pittsburgh, PA, called GeoPgh.

Jean-Yves Lauture, CTO, Eos Positioning Systems

“The past three years have seen considerable innovations and trends in the GNSS industry. Receivers are becoming more and more affordable, and the adoption of higher-accuracy (submeter, centimeter) positioning by other industries, outside of conventional surveying, is growing.

Considering the now four usable GNSS constellations and the aggressive launches of Galileo and BeiDou, the number of available satellites and the list of frequencies they use has considerably increased. Although accuracy itself is not really improving, performance is – particularly in tougher conditions. It’s not uncommon for customers to use 30 to 35 satellites out of 40+ in view using an Arrow Series™ GNSS receiver. The numbers are even higher in the Pacific regions, thanks to geostationary BeiDou satellites. This is, by far, more than double the number of satellites available with just GPS and GLONASS.

Another exciting thing to notice is the modernization of GNSS signals. They will, in the relatively near future, allow much more flexibility and compatibility between the 4 global GNSS constellations. It will be particularly interesting to follow the final definition of some of the Galileo and BeiDou signals that are supposed to provide with real-time differential corrections for their own constellation. To what level of accuracy will they bring us to? Decimeter?

Some of the existing SBAS (Space Based Augmentation Systems), like WAAS and EGNOS, are also being modernized to support dual-frequency corrections with the stronger L5/E5 signals. The Australia/New Zealand SBAS test-bed might also be the first to support DFMC (Dual Frequency Multi-Constellation) by broadcasting corrections for both GPS and Galileo constellations. It might also be the first SBAS to provide with PPP-like corrections for their countries with decimeter accuracy being the target.

It is a pleasure to watch all these evolutions in the GNSS technology take place, one after the other. All these current and future developments can and will only benefit us, the users, in all types of industries requiring accurate locations.”

Jean-Yves Lauture, CTO, Eos Positioning Systems

Lowell Ballard, Geospatial Solutions Division at Timmons Group

“As we enter a new decade, I have taken the time to reflect about how GIS trends have evolved over the years. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is location awareness. It has become a commodity that is integrated into almost every daily thing we do, from checking into a location on a Facebook post or getting navigation routes when changing gates at an airport. Location has become “part of doing business” for about everything we do in modern society. This has provided a wealth of new data the industry is working hard to turn into actionable and marketable information.

This wealth of new data has made GIS become more mainstream in every type of organization. As location intelligence continues to become cheaper, faster, more powerful and easier to perform analysis workflows, “non-GIS” users can contribute. The ArcGIS platform has evolved from traditional GIS workflows hampered by siloed data and primarily desktop workflows, producing only paper maps, into a system of engagement that allows all users of an organization to interactively convey their message through highly configurable technologies and integrated data practices.

As we look ahead to 2020, there will be an increasing interest in big spatial data analytics, dashboards and data visualizations. There is so much that can be derived from spatial context and we’re just now tapping into the power of that.  The adoption rate is going to continue to increase as technology becomes easier to manage and configure. This spans from knowing exactly where you are on a map and providing location specific information (at eateries, options for easier travel, or attractions) to understanding where failures are on local government assets and doing more proactive capital planning. Location data is now part of everything we do on a day-to-day basis. Turning raw data into useful and actionable information will be key moving forward into the future of GIS.”

Lowell Ballard has led the Geospatial Solutions Division at Timmons Group since 2009. He is a recognized leader in the integration of geospatial and traditional information technologies and GIS Strategic Planning. Lowell is a regular contributing author and has been profiled by Esri as an industry expert.

Lowell works with clients across numerous markets on strategic planning and visioning and implementation of strategies to increase efficiency, realize ROI and maximize investments in geospatial technologies.

Yariv Geller, CEO and co-founder of vHive

 “2020 is going to be an exciting year for the drone industry, as Autonomous things and Democratization of data will continue to be part of the Strategic Technology Trends (according to Gartner) for the upcoming year, I believe it will impact on the drone industry as follows:

Scale: 2020 will be all about enterprise scale. We will see customers executing more missions than ever to digitize their field assets and operations, getting better actionable insights. As expectation evolve, enterprises will need to address increasingly complex scenarios that will be bring more challenges of scale.

Crystallization of value:  Now that we are past the hype of “drones can do everything”, industry understand what drone are really good at. Clear use cases have crystallized with the required track record to demonstrate true ROI. Enterprises are continuously evaluating new use cases, adding drones into their workflows and developing long-range plans. 2020 will be the year that drones become common practice in industries such as tower, asset and structure inspection while new use case continue to emerge.

Power of AI: AI is increasingly developed as the means of automation. Whether it is to enable truly autonomous flight and data capture or in analyzing the huge amount of data captured by drones, AI will continue to radically transform the drone industry. Convergence of drone technology with Machine learning helps infrastructure managers identify quality defects, malfunctions, as well as inventory errors like never before. I am truly excited about what AI and analytics will further do to the drone space.

Partnerships and consolidation will continue, with the goal of delivering end-to-end, state-of-the-art solutions. Market players will consolidate globally, to deliver demonstrated business applications that provide customers with ongoing value across various verticals.”

Yariv Geller, CEO and co-founder of vHive brings years of expertise in developing markets for innovative products, technology strategy and execution. Geller was previously CMO of Comverse (NASDAQ: CNSI), a large IT corporation for the telecom industry . Before that, Geller managed marketing and business development of Polychromix (acquired by Thermo-Fischer Scientific), a technology startup in the domain of advanced material sensing. Before that, he was a Team-Leader at POC Consulting, managing strategy, marketing and business development for tech startups and corporations. Geller holds degrees in Physics and Business Administration from Tel-Aviv University (TAU) and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


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Categories: 3D Cities, airports, analytics, ArcGIS, asset management, autonomous driving, autonomous vehicles, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, citizen science, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, data, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, Esri, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, GNSS, government, GPS, handhelds, health, image-delivery software, in car navigation, indoor location technology, indoor mapping, integrated GIS solutions, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, mobile mapping, real estate, reality modeling, remote sensing, resilient cities, satellite imagery, sensors, small sats, spatial data, survey, transportation, underground mapping

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