Directions Magazine Editors Look Back at 2012; Make Bold Predictions for 2013

December 18, 2012

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This article summarizes the predictions that Editor in Chief Joe Francica and Executive Editor Adena Schutzberg made during last year’s prediction podcast (summary article) and issues a report card on their success. The article also lists the predictions for 2013 and serves as a companion to this year's podcast discussion. Links to items referenced here can be found in the show notes.

Joe's Predictions for 2012

Prediction 1: Three parts:

Cloud - I think geospatial companies will and should set up their own solution-based cloud services with more than just software. They need to either partner with, or offer themselves, some or all parts of the cloud from infrastructure to platform to solutions to data. Survive or die. Google has Google Earth Builder; Esri has and the others better get on the band wagon or die. I think we might see that some remote sensing software and data companies will merge. I see GeoEye buying a company like PCI Geomatics or DigitalGlobe buying or merging with Exelis VIS. PCI for example licenses software to Rolta, which could also be a bidder on PCI. So, for example you have Intergraph/ERDAS; you could have Rolta/PCI and while that’s not necessarily a cloud play, it might make sense in strategically offering an integrated solution with some of Rolta’s GIS products like OneGIS.

Verdict: Miss

Big Data Analytics – Location Intelligence will move in this direction and lead big data analytics. PBBI needs to grab this concept and run headlong into big data. They’re doing it; they are just not promoting it and it’s because the concept of big data has not been well articulate for the geospatial community. I go back to discussions with Jeff Jonas – understanding information as soon as you get it or as Jonas say, “Organizations making sense of what they learn…as fast as they learn it.” This is big data LI.

Verdict: Hit

Social Business & Mobile Computing – There is a movement toward location-based business (LBB): taking all the aspects of Internet socialization and combining this with the mobile ecosphere. is doing it and you see just about every enterprise software company coming out with some form of mobile business application. The element of location-based business will be huge.

Verdict: Hit

Prediction #2: Location-based services

Apple jumps headlong into location-based services and we will see the Amazoning of America. I predict that retailers are going to drive this effort or else be crushed by Amazon. Amazon and Apple will rule the cloud and LBS-based advertising.

Verdict: Hit

Prediction #3: Open source

Open source gets its act together. OSGeo has had a turnover in leadership. The organization needs to transition itself from movement of programmers to a cohesive group of businesses that can leverage the movement. Open source companies step out of the shadows and become a marketing force. Either OSGeo takes the lead in supporting the group or individual companies will seek other professional support.

Verdict: Miss

Joe's Predctions for 2013

Prediction #1: LBS Trends

Apple and Mapping: Apple acquires more mapping technology. I still think it will be TomTom but let’ just say it is going to be some technology that makes it better than Google. They won’t stand for anything less. If they do, then pack it in now and just abandon the entire LBS advertising market.

Indoor Location Goes Mainstream: Everybody is moving Indoor – we saw it coming in 2011; 2012 was a build out of some data and solutions like those found in Bing Maps that are being provided by Nokia. Now more indoor floor plans are being capturing. LBS companies are finding ways of working with retailers. ROI is becoming real for organizations that need to keep track of assets. And now the convergence of indoor positioning with SoLoMo … social mobile local where retailers begin to engage with the customer.

Watch companies like Aisle411, Navizon, Aeroscout (acquired by Black and Decker).

SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile): This is a cross-over trend with mobile location intelligence big data analytics (see more below). Let’s just say that it is a growing imperative that if you want to survive in the world of merchandising and retail, that companies analyze unstructured and structured  data about customer demographics and sentiment so that there will be faster reactions in pricing and store merchandizing. Location-based advertising will be supported by big data analytics.

Prediction #2: GIS Trends

We are on the verge of a new infrastructure frontier. While most of us who started in the raster world utilized 3D data for topographic data integration, 3D in the vector world is now more practical than ever. Building information modeling is now a standard part of most design projects in civil engineering, architecture and urban planning. The world is incredibly dependent on growth through new infrastructure projects or retrofitting existing infrastructure. New urban planning projects will be designed with climate change and disaster planning in mind. Now, what evidence will we see? BIM design is already a standard element of military RFP requirements such as the Army Corp. The Army is going Net Zero by 2020 for many of its bases meaning that whatever energy they consume they will need to produce on base. This integration of design and smart grid technology will be influenced by energy companies like Schneider Electric which just bought Telvent. Again, watch what RFPs are stipulating.

Prediction #3: Location Intelligence Trends

Mobile LI and Big Data Analytics–We will see a move from dashboards in the office to dashboards on tablets and accommodations for mobile form factors. BI companies are pushing mobile dashboards. As BI moves to mobile platforms, geography becomes more relevant. Last week, a special advertising section similar to ones that you often see and never read … this one was in the Wall Street Journal. It was entitled, “The Intelligence Mobile Workforce. Here’s a quote from that section.

One reason that people are excited about the intersection of Big Data and mobility is the two-way flow: people can both consume and contribute data simultaneously. Every mobile phone is a potential data collection point that could contribute to Big Data stores in companies. Every mobile phone can also receive information from those companies. The challenge is trying to figure out ways to analyze that stored information to help everyone from senior management to field workers conduct their end of the business more effectively.  Watch for the small companies, Yellowfin, Galigeo, Rhiza to release products for tablets integrated with SaaS solutions.

Watch the smaller companies: Yellowfin, Galigeo, Rhiza Labs take the initiative of mobile LI but it will still be Oracle and Google who will have to show us the way on big data analytics.

Adena's Predictions for 2012

Prediction #1: HTML 5 will be the preferred environment for the majority of Web mapping clients on all devices. Flash, Silverlight and even JavaScript are showing their age and limitations more and more all the time.

Verdict: Probably.

Prediction #2: OpenGeo will do the hard work of building credibility (and support) for enterprise use of open source. It will do for open source GIS what Esri did for GIS. The company has and will continue to take the baton from OSGeo to get the software into wider spread use. (And it will make money doing so.)

Verdict: Correct!

Prediction #3: The biggest impact ArcGIS Online will have will be in education. Governments (local, regional, state and federal) will be leery to use it in any significant way in 2012. Educators can and will teach introductory courses using 100% Web resources by the end of 2012.

Verdict: Didn’t happen.

Adena’s Predictions for 2013

Prediction #1: Tablets will still not play a big role in mobile GIS. While the idea of a “bigger” screen and touch capabilities are appealing, sluggishness in operating system developments (Windows 8 and Android) and overall hardware capabilities will slow development for these devices. That, matched with more indecision about “winners” in the space will create enough FUD to keep mobile GIS to basically lightweight data collection and viewing.

Prediction #2: Crowdfunding will come to geospatial in 2013. Smaller hobbyist projects in geospatial appeared in 2012 such as the educational Zombie Geography effort, an open source iOS transportation routing tool (shuttered), and a few drone developers. But, in 2013, creative players will forgo finding angle or venture funding and prove the value of their ideas by having the masses vote them into existence with their pocket change.

Prediction #3: One of the geospatial professional organizations will shut down or merge with another one. With consolidation in data, technology and other areas of geospatial, we need fewer players to represent us. educate us and give us awards. Hopefully, any of the uniquely valuable benefits the retiring organization brought to market will be picked up by the acquirer or another organization.


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