Traditionally, the New Year is a time to reflect on what has passed and what’s on the horizon. So, with the help of my colleagues, I thought this was a good time to take a look at some possible trends in the geospatial industry, and to even to make a few predictions for the year ahead.
I thought I would stay clear of the areas that other bloggers have covered so well, and try and give a little more left-field perspective.
1. A significant open data application.
We’ve seen an increasing amount of open data released in recent years and there has been a huge amount written about it and how it could be used. There have been a number of implementations (dare I mention the ASBOrometer?!) but what I haven’t seen, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is a huge consumer app, or killer app which is commercial and actually makes money.
I think 2011 could be the year it happens.
2. More online geospatial service providers.
I think this area will inevitably grow. Last year we saw the launch of online based GI services from both the traditional vendors as well as new entrants to the market, such as GIS Cloud. Why do I find this an area of interest? I think it’s because the barriers to entry are now so much lower.
Most GI functionality is now available as open source, so hosting and delivering online is considerably cheaper and faster to implement, thanks to cloud infrastructure.3. The implementation of the Government Cloud.
I think it will be very interesting follow what happens as this comes into being. Will there be a consolidation of solutions for government? Or will new niche players find the government market easier to enter?
4. The ‘gamification’ of geospatial.
As per the Wikipedia definition – “the use of gameplay mechanics for non-game applications.” Last year we began to see this to some degree with applications such as FourSquare where users earned badges for ‘checking into’ places.
This simple technique has helped build of a significant dataset. So the question is, will we begin to see this applied to other areas? Will OpenStreetMap, apply gamification to data collection and maintenance, moving this task away from its diligent volunteers?
5. Increasing use of geodata in citizen activism.
This is not a new area, but certainly one which, with the advent of flash mobs, we will no doubt see more of. With more and more people owning location enabled devices that are continuously connected to social networks, the rapid organisation of groups of people is now possible within minutes, rather than as the result of weeks of planning. One to watch over the coming months.
So, there we go, perhaps a little different to most geo-trend discussions, but hopefully it’s complementary. It’ll certainly be interesting to look back in 12 months time to see how many came true!
And if you disagree with any of my predictions, I’ve love to hear your own take on what the future could hold.