Through the WebMapSolutions youtube channel we received a very interesting question. I thought it worth posting in our blog with our reply on the mobile GIS challenges and opportunities in 2014.
“I am a Geography student from the UK doing a module on Geospatial technology. As part of this module, I am attempting to gain an overview of the research challenges that face mobile geospatial computing. Since there isn’t a huge amount of approved literature on the subject, I have been using your videos as a source of information, and have found them very useful and informative.
I was basically wondering what you feel are the few challenges most relevant and problematic to functionality and development to apps such as mobile GIS, as well as location-based geospatial computing tools. Many of the tools you talk about in the videos require an online server to exploit some of the tools of ArcGIS. Do you know of any other mobile software that does not require any online server but provides all of the perks of programmes such as ArcGIS.”
Maturity of the Technology
In 2013 we saw a rapid acceleration in the evolution of GIS technology. Cloud and mobile computing were key drivers, and in 2013 GIS reached a tipping point. As a company WebMapSolutions recognised back in 2011 the potential impact these technologies could have on GIS. At that time, we began talking about location services rather than GIS. Cheap mobile devices with built in GPS, and cloud platforms we believed would transform our industry. It has taken nearly 3 years, but our prediction is proving correct. Now we have low cost GIS available at any time and place on any device. But the technology is still maturing. ArcGIS Online was released in early 2013, and continues to evolve; new services being rolled out gradually. New companies like GISCloud offer low priced cloud based GIS but remain limited. That will change.