Gazing Into The Geo Crystal Ball For 2014

You can and should read all of the 10 other predictions as part of what will be HOT in geo in 2014 — predictions from the GeoHipster crowd, but here’s what the geo crystal ball divulged to my gazing …

Predictions are easy to get right. After all, look at DEC’s Ken Olsen when he said in 1977 that “there’s no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home”.

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No. Wait. Predictions are hard. But throwing caution and any shred of professional integrity I have to the wind, here’s my predictions for the geo industry in 2014.

Raster web map tiles aren’t going to go anywhere in 2014, but expect to see much more use of vector maps, both in consumer front ends, in open data sources and in development toolkits. The winning combination of Leaflet and D3 is but the beginning.

Due to ever increasing licensing costs for base map data and corresponding reduced terms of use, at least one major maps destination site will either throw in the towel or go for a white labelled map platform deal; MapQuest I’m looking at you here.

We’re already seeing the stratification of the geo industry. We already have data-as-a-service (think Open Cage Data – [disclaimer; I’m an advisor to Open Cage Data] and GeoFabrik) and maps-as-a-service (hello MapBox). Next up will be imagery-as-a-service as companies such as Planet Labs and Skybox Imaging disrupt Digital Globe’s imaging hegemony.

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More people will end up doing web-based GIS without actually knowing they’re doing web-based GIS. Think less of Esri’s ArcGIS Online and MapInfo’s Web GIS and much more of CartoDB.

Web based map re-workings of Harry Beck’s iconic London Underground map will die out and Ken Field will be a happy man.

Finally, this is less of a prediction and more of a plea. Will someone please please bring to market a low powered, always on GPS unit that I can fit in my pocket and that has sufficient onboard storage to carry at least a day’s worth of GPS traces. It can’t be that difficult can it?

Ken Olsen picture courtesy of the Boston Globe, Crystal Ball image by Scott Kublin.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Written by Gary

Husband, Father, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user.