Thinking limitless means figuring out how to use geospatial technology to make models of the world that mirror reality; they can’t just account for one layer of data at one point in time, multiple layers of data at one point in time or one layer of data at multiple points in time.
The innovations that impact the geospatial profession don’t just raise questions about tool relevance; they raise questions about people relevance. Photogrammetry is just one example of a geospatial specialty that is becoming simplified due to automation in hardware and software.
Small surveying shops or in-the-field companies in industries like construction often operate with skeleton crews at their home offices. They ask office managers to load software and take care of the computers and the Internet, and they often operate without a trained IT person on staff.
While there is a tendency to think that historical big GIS users like construction, civil engineering and surveying are in the vanguard of this new application development, it is actually new users of GIS and GPS that are paving the way to innovation.
There is so much potential and there are so many needs on so many levels with respect to open geospatial data that still need to be addressed. It will require some serious forward thinking to make the data as meaningful as possible.
For utility companies that continue to use map books, there is growing awareness of information lapses and even disconnects between field crews and headquarters. “This is an area where mobile technology that now makes viewing GIS data in the field very practical can deliver enormous benefits,” says Brady Hustad, CEO of Argis Solutions.