Are We Nearly There Yet?


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ConsultingWhere Director, Andrew Coote, recently presented at the BURISA annual conference at the Royal Society in London. The presentation reviewed the state of the geospatial industry 20 years after the landmark Chorley report, focusing on the rapid pace of change in technology and business drivers and looking at their implications for the future.

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  • Over 20 years since Lord Chorley’s committee set out a blue print for our industry’s future, we are entitled to ask the question. The answer is of course . .. Yes and no.
  • GIS software now does just about anything we could have dreamed about in 1989 Handling geographical information is now a mainstream ICT activity – but careful what you wish for ..
  • The idea that we can continue to slowly adapt is dangerously complacent
  • Supply-side Assessment
  • Who is going to make money in the future
  • Are We Nearly There Yet?

    1. 1. Are we nearly there yet? Andrew Coote ConsultingWhere Ltd Independent Geospatial Consultants [email_address]
    2. 2. Yes: we’ve arrived <ul><li>Many of the technology challenges we faced at the time of Chorley have been swept away; </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical Information is now a part of the Informational Systems mainstream; </li></ul><ul><li>More digital spatial data exists than we could have ever imagined in 1987. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geotagged photos on Flickr (50m in 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15cm Aerial Photography for 600 cities worldwide </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Massively improved awareness of the power of geographical information. </li></ul>
    3. 3. No: the destination has changed <ul><li>Depends on where we want to get to.... that’s moved </li></ul><ul><li>Since Chorley the industry has been changing but in relatively small increments – there were breakthroughs but their effects emerged at a rate businesses and Government could absorb and adapt to. </li></ul><ul><li>What we are seeing now is the biggest paradigm shift the industry has seen in my professional career – the cheese has moved! </li></ul><ul><li>The industry will look a lot different in 2-3 years time. </li></ul>
    4. 4. What is different now? <ul><li>Pace of change (demise of the record industry: as we knew it) </li></ul><ul><li>Speed of Communication (e.g. Twitter) </li></ul><ul><li>Medium of Communication (television / newspapers -> web) </li></ul><ul><li>Chips with everything (e.g intelligent fridge) </li></ul><ul><li>Globalisation (China has more internet users than the US) </li></ul><ul><li>Artificial Intelligence (the web has a level of consciousness) </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generation Y </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work / Life balance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The truth is for the first time no one can control information </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Operating Environment Analysis
    6. 6. UK GI Market Size £650m* in 2007 * Estimated within +/- 10% Source: Size and growth prospects for the UK Geospatial market, downloadable from
    7. 7. UK Industry Business drivers <ul><li>Continued recessional outlook, leading to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis everywhere on cost reduction rather than new investment; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More important Green agenda </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Moving climate change, flood risk management, alternative energy applications into focus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Greater regulation / reporting requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>already affects utilities and can be expected to increase in commercial and Government sectors; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enterprise Computing – Geospatial enters the mainstream </li></ul><ul><li>Location Strategy </li></ul><ul><li> – offers some hope of a more coordinated approach from UK Government </li></ul><ul><li>OS Re-structuring </li></ul><ul><li>INSPIRE ? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Information management Paradigm Shift <ul><li>Few data providers </li></ul><ul><li>Striving for perfection </li></ul><ul><li>Passive users </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist GPS </li></ul><ul><li>Total stations </li></ul><ul><li>2D Representation </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnected information “silos” </li></ul><ul><li>Data Centre </li></ul><ul><li>Periodic Update </li></ul><ul><li>Private Data </li></ul><ul><li>Many data providers </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance of errors </li></ul><ul><li>Participative Consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Ubiquitous SatNav </li></ul><ul><li>Laser scanned Point Clouds </li></ul><ul><li>3D Reality </li></ul><ul><li>All data on the geoweb and “mashable” </li></ul><ul><li>Remote Hosting (cloud computing) </li></ul><ul><li>Real time feeds </li></ul><ul><li>Public data </li></ul>
    9. 9. Software Paradigm Shift <ul><li>Informational web </li></ul><ul><li>Client-server </li></ul><ul><li>Desktop software </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Software development </li></ul><ul><li>Visual Basic </li></ul><ul><li>Records management </li></ul><ul><li>Onshore Development </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative web (web 2.0) </li></ul><ul><li>Service-oriented Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Software as a Service </li></ul><ul><li>Ubiquitous computing </li></ul><ul><li>Configuration </li></ul><ul><li>Flex / Flash </li></ul><ul><li>Decision Support </li></ul><ul><li>Nearshore Development </li></ul>
    10. 10. The changing shape of the Industry <ul><li>Growth of Consumer Location-based Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mass market Visualisation services e.g. Google earth, Virtual Earth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Device manufacturers e.g. Nokia, Tom-Tom, Apple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>System Integrators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big bones need big dogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GIS vendors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software margins under pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased emphasis on solutions (GIS + application software + services) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resurgence of CAD / GIS Integration Products </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crowd Sourced data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neogeography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Niche Applications </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Whither the GI professional? <ul><li>We come with “spatial inside” </li></ul><ul><li>New skills required: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical to Business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manufacturing product to Delivering Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture to Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Management to Consultancy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understanding quality is still marketable </li></ul><ul><li>GIS Specialists -> geo-enabled domain experts </li></ul>
    12. 12. Summary <ul><li>We’ve gone a very long way to achieving Chorley’s vision in many respects; </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional barriers remain but the web will sweep many of these away; </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the industry; </li></ul><ul><li>There are new kids on the block – the balance of power is changing; </li></ul><ul><li>As an industry – we need to adapt or die. </li></ul>