Have you noticed the progression of the music and video industry in the distribution of their media? In the music industry we went from the LP’s to the 8-Track to the Cassette tapes to the CDs to Napster where files where being shared between users to now are heavily intrenched in the iTunes/MP3 world of digital music. Where now I am buying all my music through iTunes. The same progression is in the video media space to where now I am streaming as much of my video experience as I can either through Netflix, YouTube, any broadcasting network who archives their shows online, and even live baseball on MLB.TV. Once college and NFL football is completely streamed online there will be no need for me ever again to have an antenna on my roof. Streaming online is the next generation of media consumption for our world and much the same way GIS is the next generation of data integration for our organizations.
Jack Dangermond, Esri President, wrote a blog post on ESRI Insider in August titled “Geography as a Platform“. The whole premise is that as GIS matures and becomes more integrated with systems as well as technology today the power of maps is growing at an extreme rate. When you add cloud technology into the mix then you really have not only the visual map to look at but also the ability to really distribute the information to a mass audience very effectively at a cost that is very manageable. Hence the Esri’s push with ArcGIS Online especially for those organizations who cannot afford the upfront software and man power costs of the full blown GIS. But even those organizations who can, being able to take the data mobile is a huge advantage and work flow saver. Other services/products such as GIS Cloud also allow for taking advantage of the cloud technology.
For cloud technology to be fully taken advantage of in today’s and future world there must be a paradigm shift in how top level executives down to c-level executives look at GIS. GIS is much more than a map today. GIS as been billed and pushed a way to create powerful maps giving us a visual for issues to solve, growth of demographics, analyze trends, etc. Now GIS is maturing past this idea of being just about maps. I agree with Jack that geography is a huge component of GIS but I take it even a little further to say the “Information” component of GIS is more important than Geography. Without the information being accurate then it really does not matter how great the map looks or even how it is distributed.
Cloud technology is our next frontier for data in distribution but GIS is the structure for all organizations to harness the “Cloud”. GIS is moving at a extreme rate of speed going beyond the map paradigm to a new paradigm. This paradigm is “GIS is a full organizational system in creating a seamless environment in which data silos are no longer silos but working together for common good of the organization.” In essence we are all on the same team now. GIS is the platform which allows us to accomplish this if it is allowed by the executives. There must be a champion in the organization who sees the whole picture but that is whole other post.
I am curious to your thoughts. Please engage in the conversation.
Jason Tuck is the owner/founder of Providence GIS Solutions as well as a GIS evangelist. He can be found on twitter, facebook, and linkedin, you are welcome to follow and connect with him. Jason is always open to dialog about GIS and the impact on an organization. His passion is to educate organizations about the full power of GIS and GIS is “More than A Map”.