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The Future of GIS


A map of the nearby Universe --- some 9300 galaxies each ... Surveys like the one above map the local Universe by measuring ... ( ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Future of GIS

The Future of GIS
  • if I really knew, would I still be here?

Popular Mechanics, 1954???
  • Lessons
  • There are perils in predicting the future!
  • Never believe what you find on the Internet!

Picture submitted to an image modification
competition in 2004, taken from an original photo
found on U.S. Navy web site of a submarine
maneuvering room console mock-up at the
Smithsonian Institute in 2000
Uses of GIS no change
  • The primary three
  • manage data
  • analyze data
  • communicate information
  • BUT
  • relative importance shifting
  • implementation technology changing

informationdata which serves a purpose
Changing EmphasesFrom Data to Analysis
Spatial Analysis
Spatial 5 Analysis
10-15 Attribute Tagging
Attribute Tagging
75 Data Conversion
Data Conversion
Changing Emphases
From Description to Simulation Modeling
Visual simulation virtual reality real time
display of how is, and how might be -forest
fire -freeway traffic flow Web portals serve
continuous sensor-derived data
Picture worth a thousand words maps diagrams
of how is, or how was Web portals serve static
data sets
Symbolic models based on logical relationships
in mathematical or statistical form
Iconic models scaled down representations of the
real thing
915 am
1015 pm
430 pm
Population density (green is high) at different
times during the day tracked by cell phone data.
Rome, Italy, July 10, 2006. (note cell phone
location is constantly tracked by the network to
enable calls to be received.) Applications real
time traffic information, transportation
planning, taxi-cab location, retail store
location, etc., etc..
Source The Economist, March 10-16, 2007 p. 20.
Changing Emphasesfrom 2-D description to 4-D
  • Past
  • 2-D flat map displays
  • User as observer
  • Future
  • Effective 3-D visualization
  • Via the merger of CAD and GIS?
  • What is the data model?
  • 4-D incorporation of time The time has come for
  • Via agent-based modeling / cellular automata? Or
  • agents (e.g. vehicles, fires or people)
    interacting over time in a raster (cell)-based
    environment according to established rules
  • 5, 6 and 7-D incorporation of touch (pressure,
    texture, temperature), sound and smell into
    modeling/simulation environment
  • Aldous Huxleys Brave New World feelies become
  • User as participant
  • Users (researchers, professionals, the public)
    interact with the model
  • Participatory GIS the public as the planner

Changing EmphasesOut of this world
  • Past
  • GIS applied to Planet Earth
  • Future
  • GIS as a methodology for the analysis of spheres
  • Other planetsMars, Jupiter,
  • The human brain
  • One earth but many brains
  • visa-a-versa does the brain use maps for

  • A map of the nearby Universe --- some 9300
    galaxies each represented by a dot. The survey
    shows two slices across the sky  plotted against
    the redshift (or indirectly, distance) of each
    galaxy. Several large structures (walls) can be
    clearly seen as well as large voids where
    galaxies are relatively absent.

  • Surveys like the one above map the local Universe
    by measuring the position in 3-D space of
    galaxies up to a few hundred Mpc away. The
    observable Universe has a diameter of order 10
    Gpc. To find and observe galaxies at large
    distances (and therefore in the early Universe)
    requires large or special telescopes. The
    formation of galaxies is not well understood,
    although the field is beginning to open up. The
    figure above shows the start of the art at
    present, in which galaxies have formed in a
    computer simulation of the gravitational collapse
    of the initial perturbations which came from the
    big bang. The simulations are difficult to
    compute because the effects of gas dynamics and
    star formation in the forming galaxies is very
    poorly understood.

Brain Mapping
Technological Trends Underlying the Transition
  • Defense Conversion (and other) spin-offs
  • Location via GPS
  • millimeter accuracy
  • available in every cellphone for E-911
  • super high capacity mass storage
  • pettabyte and more systems
  • high resolution (
  • High resolution 60 cms now, 10cms soon?
  • Real time Google Earth?
  • the communication revolution
  • super high capacity networks (Internet X), even
    to the home
  • NSFs 100x100 project 100 Megabits to 100
    million homes
  • wireless (cellular) communication with anything
    that moves anywhere on earth
  • Information Technology Evolution
  • Interoperability easier sharing of data between
    users, and among vendor products
  • Metadata
  • Spatial Data Transfer Standards
  • OpenGIS
  • Mash-ups
  • commercially enhanced data
  • public data made dramatically more usable/useful
  • Navtech maps replace TIGER
  • spatial data tools in commercial DBMS and
    software dev. environments (e.g. VB)
  • ESRI SDE (spatial database engine)
  • ESRI Map Objects ArcObjects
  • 3-tier computing, separating
  • user interface (client workstation)
  • analysis (applications server)
  • data (multiple distributed data servers)

DBMS data base management systems Visual
  • GIS gone by 2010?
  • (I used to say by year 2000)
  • Hopefully not!
  • it will become mainstream

Wither GIS?some scenarios
  • fundamental component of IS/IT
  • value explode, name gone
  • foundation for all data management?
  • at best geography becomes the basis for data
  • at least spatial data base management tools come
    with all commercial DBMSs so geography can
    enhance the enterprise data base
  • gis components embedded in everyday objects
  • cell phones, pagers, cars, truck cabs, aircraft
  • gis capabilities available as modules within
    standard software application development
  • VB, C, Java, Peoplesoft, Delphi
  • gis/am/fm functionality purchased as
    undifferentiated component of a business
    application information system
  • outage management for utilities
  • city business package
  • package tracking system (pizza or spare parts)
  • general public as GIS analyst
  • Web-based community information systems
  • neighborhood crime control police or citizen?
  • poets that dont know it
  • Google Earth Sketch-up
  • Bloggers as GIS analysts they know the local
  • And Google is bringing free, simplified mapping

Consequences for GI Services
  • Services now the 4th S in GIS
  • location based services
  • for organization . for individual
  • Map facilities where I am
  • Geocode customers where I want to go
  • Route deliveries how I get there
  • Analyze the market what is there
  • Content tailored for current location, not the
  • Mobile
  • Handheld
  • Interactive
  • Evolution involves
  • Past Future
  • Few applications - many and varied
  • Few users - many
  • Standalone - web
  • Fixed - mobile

Consequences for GI Specialists(the fifth S
for GIS?)
  • geospatial information scientists, specialists
    (or students)
  • appreciative of the broad ranging, integrative
    role geospatial data can play
  • location is the most common common denominator
    for all data
  • highly knowledgeable with respect to the unique
    challenges of geospatial data
  • The challenges posed by a spherical earth
    (datums, projections,etc.)
  • The complexity of spatial data representation in
    2-D and 3-D
  • The challenges of spatial statistics and modeling
  • fully conversant with mainstream information
  • and how to store and program spatial objects
  • sufficient expertise in an application area
    (geology, local government, marketing, etc.) to
    make a contribution.

Consequences for GISData is still at the heart
  • Dominant IT (Information technology) issues
  • Hardware in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Software in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Data in the 2000s
  • Not an issues of acquiring data, but of managing
  • Will we be short of it, or drowning in it?
  • Will its availability be
  • Plentiful and cheap
  • in infinite detail, if you can afford it
  • Severely curtailed by legal controls to ensure
    personal privacy

Consequences for GISis a Tragedy of the Commons
in the making?
  • Invasions of privacy through detailed data
    collection and its pervasive distribution
    produces a backlash of demand for privacy
  • No call, no spam, no appraisal photos, no red
    light cameras (now reversed) are they the
  • Could geotagging with RFID devices become reality
  • From pets to people
  • for sex offenders, service personnel, employees,
    evacuees, everybody?
  • The expense of data production, but the ease of
    re-production and distribution, reduces the value
    of data to zero and chokes off its availability
  • Is public domain data the information age
    equivalent of the agricultural commons?

What are the appropriate public policy responses?

Below Which of the three locations should be
associated with the resulting photo?
  Above Map showing photographer's view (
  5919'39?N 1804'21?E59.3275, 18.0725) of two
buildings at a distance of 270 meters (
  5919'42?N 1804'38?E59.3284, 18.0772) and 1200
meters (   5919'45?N 1805'35?E59.3291,
Or is this the future?A Self Generating System
Better data
More GIS use
More investment in Data/GIS
Better decisions
Or this?
Microdrone 21,367 Base Station 19,424 Video
Transmitter 1,545 Video Receiver 1,000
Daylight Video 1,545 Lowlight Video 3,100
GPS Hold 1,934 Complete Package
59,681 August 2007
Source http//
  • Our only model for the future is the past
  • think back as many years as you are looking
  • change has been both revolutionary.. and glacial
  • dont forget that the pace of change is
  • maybe just gearing-up for the information age,
    not reaching its climax
  • but remember,we have to get there from here
  • can you envision a path?
  • if we knew the future, we wouldnt be here!

GIS FuturesSome Detail on earlier concepts
  • What GIS Technology Could Deliver
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Targeted Communication
  • data as an institutional asset
  • Operating Environments in which Delivered
  • business and governments
  • computing technology
  • information architectures
  • interoperability

What GIS Technology Could DeliverEfficiency and
  • Cost efficient, quality service to customers the
    key to future business success
  • mapping to manage potentially transforms
  • geography is the key to cost efficiency for pizza
    delivery or cellular radio towers
  • communications with citizens the key to future
    public sector success
  • map based information is the key to intuitive
    information delivery
  • travel directions (
  • natural or social environmental degradation
  • land ownership (
  • General public data (,,

What GIS Technology Could DeliverTargeted
  • Displaying data differently for todays target
  • governor
  • recalcitrant group of legislators
  • activist (pissed-off) citizen posse
  • CC, DRT, DAR, VFW, CCNA Tuesday luncheon
  • general public
  • 6th grade class
  • Do-It-Yourself extraction from Societal Databases
  • large, networked databases accessible to public
    at low/no cost
  • free browser software (e.g ArcExplorer)
  • Content tailored for current location
  • The mobile, handheld, interactive GI services

CC Chamber of Commerce DRT Daughters
of the Republic of Texas DAR Daughters of
the American Revolution VFW Veterans of
Foreign Wars CCNA Canyon Creek Neighborhood
What GIS Technology Could Deliver Data as an
Institutional Asset
  • Data holdings, managed by GIS, as an asset on
    private and public corporation balance sheets.
  • no company does this today, yet
  • billions spent on data acquisition and
  • In the information age, information is an asset
    no different from buildings, unsold inventory,
    and machinery.
  • In 2000s, companies delivering information
    content become dominant over hardware (1980s) and
    software (1990s) companies.

Operating EnvironmentsBusiness Governments
  • customers and citizens take charge
  • requirements for service defined by
    customer/citizen not the provider
  • demand more in shorter time at lower cost than
    you ever intended to deliver
  • lower taxes/prices and more service
  • Henrys any color you want as long as its black
    no longer cuts it
  • competition is relentless
  • more people wanting to do what you do
  • private sector assumes (or re-assumes) many gov.
  • change is constant
  • Government evolves from driver to consumer of
  • Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software rather
    than custom designed
  • decentralization to the individual
  • Much new technology is not new its been around
    for a while, so whats new?
  • Computers, video recorders, fax, wireless
  • Dramatic price drops make it as available to
    individuals as to organizations

Operating EnvironmentsComputing Technology
Predictions from Spring 96
  • 2,000AD desktop machine
  • 1,000 MIPS/MHertz
  • 8 Gigabyte RAM (permits data in memory)
  • 100 mb/sec comm. line (to the home?)
  • Windows95/NT merge challenges UNIX
  • Java /Netscape challenges Microsoft

(prediction as of Spring 96)
Operating EnvironmentsComputing Technology
Predictions from Fall 99
  • Desktop loses its dominance
  • Variety of computing appliances palmtops on up
  • Computers act rather than just process
  • Old model human enters data, computer processes
    it, human receives and acts
  • New model data from sensors transducers,
    computer processes, computer acts to get job
  • Data and computation become real time
  • Old model processing archived data to guide
    future action
  • New Model processing current data to control
    current action
  • Information and its processing at any and every
  • Mobile and wireless dominate over fixed and wired
  • Info access no matter where I am, where data
    resides, what its format is

Concepts derived from Tennenhouse, Director,
DARPA, May 1998
Operating Environments Information
Architecture(more 1999 predictions which have
come to pass)
  • server and client clearly separated
  • GIS vendors specialize in client and/or
    applications server
  • mainstream database vendors provide data
    server(s)(traditionally, GIS vendors used
    proprietary, not mainstream, databases)
  • client systems primarily comprise browsers which
    receive data combined with software as applets
    or objects from the applications server
  • e.g. receive data and zoom/view software
  • potentially simplifies software management
  • big software systems are decomposed into
    components (objects), which are then
    re-assembled by user (or developer) as desired.
  • mainstream data base vendors meet GIS/AM/FM
    needs for
  • long transaction processing
  • current DBMS systems assume immediate transaction
    processing, but
  • a drawing or map takes time to be modified
  • replication of data files
  • considered a no-no in current DBMS, but
  • two people need to work on the same map area

Operating Environments Interoperability
  • Spatial Data Interchange Formats
  • VPF (Vector Product Format) US Military for map
    products directly useable by applications
  • DXF (Data Exchange Format) originated by AutoCAD
  • SDTS (Spatial Data Transfer Standard) currently
    required for Federal Agencies
  • Except for VPF, involve translation (from
    internal private to external public format),
    therefore inefficient.
  • Between Standard Data Base Systems
  • SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • standardized (supposedly) user-oriented
    (supposedly) data request
  • ODBC (Open Database Connectivity)
  • standardized (by Microsoft) programming (call)
    level interface to databases
  • Between GIS Systems and other applications
  • COM/OLE (Common Object Model/Object Linking and
    Embedding) originated by Microsoft
  • CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture)
  • Two competing standards for object-based
  • Between GIS Systems Themselves (for data)
  • SQL3 --SQL extended to support spatial (and other
    multimedia) data queries
  • ISO TC211--International Standards Organization
    Tech. Committee on spatial data
  • ANSI X3L1 (American National Standards Institute,
    GIS Committee)--US view for ISO
  • OGC (Open GIS Consortium)--Open Geodata
    Interoperability Specification (OGIS)
  • Metadata--data describing data
  • datum and projection, accuracy and lineage, etc.
  • FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) Metadata

Next Generation Satellites
  • NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
    signed NextView contracts for development of
    next generation of commercial satellites, with
    DOD being given priority access in times of need
  • Digitalglobe contract in fall 2003, focused on
  • Higher resolution
  • Delivery time to customer
  • 3 hours now (Iraq war)
  • Future 90 minutes standard, 20 minutes rush
  • WorldView-1 launched September 2007
  • .5 m panchromatic
  • 1.7 days revisit
  • WorldView-2 launch 2008
  • .5 panchromatic and 1.8 multispectral (4)
  • 1 day revisit
  • Supplier for Google Earth
  • Orbimage contract in fall 2004
  • OrbView 5 satellite to launch early 2007 (now
    early 2008)
  • 0.41 m panchromatic, 1.64 m multispectral (4
  • 3 m. position accuracy
  • 3 day revisit
  • Downlink imagery real time to ground station