Land surveyors and geospatial professionals continue to adopt geographic information systems for the value they bring to workflow and decision making. There are still challenges for education and training.
Use of geographic information systems (GIS) is on the rise among land surveyors and geospatial professionals. As a group, two thirds of respondents to POB’s GIS Surveying Trends 2016-2017 study use GIS in workflow and/or client service offerings. Non-users dropped from just below half (48 percent) in 2016 to 37 percent of respondents.
GIS Tools Used
Though desktop applications still dominate GIS tool use, the number of geospatial professionals reporting use of cloud-based GIS and mobile GIS applications grew dramatically. When asked about new tools they began using in the previous 24 months, 15 percent more respondents reported using cloud-based GIS or Web portal applications, and 14 percent more users said they had begun using mobile GIS applications.
More surveyors and geospatial professionals see potential to improve workflow through use of cloud-based, portal or mobile GIS applications. Two thirds (65 percent) saw potential improvements in 2017 vs. 52 percent in 2016.
Improving Service Offerings
An interesting shift was taking place among users reporting on use of GIS tools for client services. Cloud and Web portal applications continued to be the top tools for improving service offerings, but GIS data collectors saw a dramatic increase from 5 percent in 2016 to 16 percent in 2017. Some of that came at the cost of desktop GIS software.
Demand Growth for GIS
Perceptions still do not indicate GIS is seeing a sudden surge, but a very clear majority, 70 percent, still see strong growth in demand.
Most Important Capabilities
The biggest demand driver for GIS is the recognition of the value GIS brings to the decision-making process. That said, the most important capabilities for GIS include the ability to add imagery and LiDAR data. Equally, the ability to translate easily between different data formats and applications also ranked most important among capabilities.
GIS Education and Training
Education and training in GIS technology continues to be a challenge with most users saying all current sources are inadequate. Though the numbers shift by a few points year to year, the shift isn’t enough to indicate real progress or improvement.