Celebrating 25 Years in the Geospatial Community

December 29, 2022
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Has it really been 25 years since Directions Magazine began? In a world with so much digital noise, we’re grateful for the continued support and loyalty of the global geospatial community. On our 20th anniversary we said, “We know what a gift it is to continue being part of the fabric of the geospatial community.” We mean that even more today!

What were they thinking in 1998?

Our first editor, Joseph Schwartz, said, “Directions Magazine is the creation of a long-distance, virtual synergy of an editorial team scattered between the Pacific Northwest and Upstate New York. We are collectively connected through the internet and motivated by a mission to provide you with accurate, interesting, and timely mapping and demographics news. Mapping technology is becoming an integral part of doing business in banking, real estate, and insurance. Educators who recognize the broad applicability of mapping software are creating a growing niche for these products, from kindergarten through graduate school.” 

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Scott Elliott noted that “one of the biggest remaining barriers seemed …to be the absence of an evangelizing voice at the center of the industry, a voice which could serve users with tips, reviews, and examples of best practice uses of mapping and demographic analysis...” He collaborated with Nora Sherwood to discuss many topics, saying, “Change is in the air in the data business. Partners are becoming competitors, competitors are merging with each other, and new players are appearing in the increasingly intertwined fields of mapping software and demographic data products.” 

All of their comments ring true today, down to the mergers and competitors. It feels like the discussions are very similar, while our tools have grown significantly — now, online, nimble, and fast. Just a quick examination of the 2022 top news items tells that story. Dr. Joseph Kerski and I examined some of these changes in a recent article, “Geography in Everyday Life in 2022.” 

As it was for geographers of the past, the map remains our primary means of communication. We’re seeing more use of remote sensing and imagery to learn, communicate, and solve problems. Thoughtful analysis and investigative querying will long be a part of the geospatial community’s pursuits rooted in geography and data

Data was and is a powerful discussion. Data now has a more public face, with the common use of dashboards and accessible online mapping tools. A few years ago, we began curating some of the free data resources available, offering those along with our lat/long converter tool, which is still working hard every day. New trends in AI and machine learning push the boundaries of data exploration. It seems like an article from a few years ago on 2025 predictions was on track!

What’s new in 2023 from DirectionsMag?

First, we’ll be in your inbox less often. We respect your time and hope this change will make a positive impact. Expect editions of the magazine every two weeks, and on the alternate two weeks, our webinar updates. We’ll still be reminding you of each webinar in 3 or 4 emails prior to that event.

Second, we’ve expanded our media reach and encourage you to check out our offerings on your favorite social media network: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, or iTunes. Also, we have a location intelligence group at LinkedIn and a community blog there as well. If you have recommendations for us in this regard, please send us a note, editors@directionsmag.com.

Third, we’re including some inspiration in each edition. We admit that we love a good inspirational quote, so we’re sharing our favorites throughout the year. We hope you’ll share them with your followers.

Fourth, we’re bringing you some new columnists, so keep an eye out for those contributions throughout the year.

Finally, we’ve updated our email formatting. Please use the hashtags and share your favorite content with all your friends. You are the reason that we’re successful, and we are so honored to begin the new year with all of you!


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