The Future of Geospatial
Diversity, Location-based Business and 3D GIS
In 2013, the geospatial profession continued to feel the impact of a tough economic climate. The bad news is that I believe this cycle, particularly with the federal market, could continue for several more years. As firms struggle to survive in this environment, we will continue to see consolidation within the market with firms being forced to sell and merge just to survive. Two types of firms will thrive in these conditions: firms with a broad range of services and market diversity and small firms that fulfill a needed niche in the market.
As we enter 2014, there are many exciting technological developments underway that will reshape our market. Much work is being done to enable the UAS market. The miniaturization of sensors and inertial measurement devices will allow for precision photogrammetry from unmanned platforms. Hardware technology is rapidly developing to allow us to perform on-board processing, eventually allowing for real-time downloads of processed data from the aircraft. All of these technological enablers will create a market for immediate and repeated data collects on a cycle we have not yet seen in the market.
For more than 40 years, the geospatial profession has collected 3D data that is delivered in a 2D format. This is changing. In the near future, we will see more data delivered in a 3D format. Picture a GIS data set with all the layers and assets located accurately in 3D space. All of the data inputs are here now; the last piece of this puzzle is the software and dissemination piece. Non-traditional, location-based firms are leading a considerable amount of this effort, but I see it becoming more mainstream in the traditional geospatial market.
This is definitely a challenging and exciting time in the geospatial market. Firms that solve some of these remaining technical puzzles will realize great success. Woolpert intends to lead the way.
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