Way back in October 2009, I contributed to the AGI’s Foresight Study; predicting the shape of geo in 2015. Seeing as the future is rapidly encroaching, and I have yet to see the study be published, I thought I would share.
After presenting our predictions, some of the surrounding discussion was a sad reflection on the shape of the geospatial industry – the constant clinging to the security blanket of “but we are GIS *Professionals* and our skills are essential” was a particular low point. To me, GIS means clunky desktop software with terrible usability, ugly cartography and elitist terminology – wearing that as a badge of honour is an odd concept.
That aside, my five takeaway predictions for 2015 were:
1) OpenStreetMap to have over one million contributors.
2) Large scale investment in OSM from commercial organisations.
3) Widespread crowdsourcing of geodata to utilise excess cognitive capacity.
4) ‘Big data’ – huge, real-time, actively/passively crowdsourced datasets from the sensor
5) Legislation requiring central and local government to release nearly all PSI to the public
Even Gary Gale gave me a strange look when talking about point 4, though in the brief time since then he has admitted I was correct. I stress that many of the big datasets coming from the sensor web will be closed, and that new commerical opportunities for geo lie there – whether it be for the data or services with the data.
Point 5 is practically enshrined in law now. I would add one little caveat to point 2 though, I expect government and commercial investment in OSM.