The use of spatial information is growing rapidly in both the consumer and professional arenas. The growth, with its voracious appetite for data, is moving the geospatial industry into new application domains. These domains have significant variations in the type and precision of data needed, the environments where it is collected and the workflows of the people collecting it. A forester, archaeologist, environmental engineer and wetlands biologist all gather GIS data (features, attributes, positions, etc.), but to significantly different ends. In many disciplines, an object’s location is a minor component among many attributes that are needed.
The increase in data volume and types has had a profound impact on the geospatial industry. Geospatial manufacturers historically emphasized their positioning technologies. Position sensors are still needed of course, but they are not the entire solution. Today’s GIS solutions must speak the language of the users, making it fast and efficient to capture the pertinent data while presenting information and instructions in familiar terms.