The use of GIS continues to find its ways in many fields out there with time compared to some years ago. This growth has been facilitated by various factors in the industry and more plans been put in use to even better the sector. In this post, I explore the key opportunities that exist in the industry that spearhead the use and the growth of GIS.
Changing Institutional Structure
Over the past few year, many organizations were not leveraging the power of GIS in their day-to-day operations. This might have been due to a number of reasons(depending on the organization). As time moved by, the integration of GIS in many sectors of business, education, health, public transport has ever since improved the consumption of Geospatial products by both individuals and organizations. Today, most companies out there have either a GIS personnel, a team of GIS professionals or even an entire department to deal with the “spatial element” in the company. Being from the private sector, I look at it as an opportunity to many professionals out there to offer services in various dynamics in the industry. With many organizations accommodating for the use of Geospatial technology within their businesses shows the need for more research, work and capacity building as far as this sector is considered. This also means that the products from companies(dealing with Geospatial services) find application areas once they are complete. The full potential in this sector is yet to be realized.
Improvements in Technology
As explained in this GIS as a service post, the emergence of GeoIT has really improved the Geospatial industry in both its understanding and applications. One of the greatest discoveries, the Internet, has revolutionized how we work, interact and share with our friends and colleagues. As Marshall McLuhan puts it, we are living in a global village with an information superhighway. This makes it possible to access world news on devices in a near-real-time mode anywhere on the planet. While these technologies grew, the Geospatial sector wasn’t an exception. Rapid developments have been evident in the last half decade with massive platforms for data storage and processing being rolled-out for the users to leverage this awesome technology. This has created opportunities for many companies out there such as Mapbox, CartoDB and GIS Cloud whose formation and existence is mostly based on the Internet(Cloud). The integration of emerging technologies such as AI, ML and Big data, the GIS industry has a great future ahead.
The use of products and services in the Geospatial industry has always been associated with huge investments due to the high costs of acquisition. This, therefore, limited individuals and organizations that couldn’t afford these huge amounts of funding from using these commodities. This would of course slow research and discovery of new and affordable products. As time went by, the world has become a better place, in terms of affordability of products in this industry. Today, licenses are affordable, business models have changed giving access to products on better pricing plans and other dimensions of the industry have really grown. With the presence of the FOSS4G products, everyone can use GIS in their work with no limitations. Things are getting cheaper day by day and we still hope for a better tomorrow. Programs such as the Technology Transfer Program by NASA, are an indication of what to expect with software in many fields that integrate with GIS.
Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)
The development of the sustainable development goals, led by the United Nations involved a number of countries(UN Member countries). The SDGs are geared towards achieving a number of issues such as combating climate change and making cities more sustainable. GIS finds its application in almost all these goals thus creating great opportunities for the actors in this field. The realization of the SDGs will involve intensive research, innovation and mobilization to ensure we meet the targets. These are all directed towards a better living for all. All the 17 goals under the SDGs are interrelated as in this story map and thus their realization will form an incremental model. GIS will play a big role in the realization of these goals and thus much emphasis is being put in terms of the application aspect of GIS.
Systems are comprised of a number of components, some of which are a bit technical. The technical components of a GIS require hands-on training to ensure the user can make use of the software, for example, to produce an output. Compared to the earlier days, training on various software and equipment is cheaper and readily available. With the increase in the number of institutions carrying out training in these fields, a user can easily get training and later on add value at their places of work or organizations. With such services available, the number of professionals has also increased making it for starters to learn easily. The number of GIS projects being carried out in the fields today has also increased compared to some years ago.
In your opinion, which opportunity do you think will enhance the growth of the Geospatial industry? Leave a comment below!