What will be HOT in geo in 2014 — predictions from the GeoHipster crowd

GeoHipster asked several GeoFolk to predict what will be HOT in geo in 2014. Here are their answers:

Bill Dollins, Senior Vice President, Zekiah Technologies, Inc.

I think 2014 will be the year Javascript takes over mapping and visualization in the geospatial world. That may seem a bit odd given all of the attention it’s gotten in 2013 but I think the rapid maturation of frameworks such as Angular, Backbone, Bootstrap, etc. in terms of capability, documentation, and samples will bring more mainstream developers into the fold, especially as Microsoft emphasizes Javascript and HTML5 more. Additionally, there’s a lot of work going on inside Esri in terms of extending to various mapping libraries so I think the Esri user community will get on board more, in addition to the mature support that currently exists in the open-source geospatial world.

I also think 2014 will be the year that sees more traditionally Esri-centric developers and end-users/shops exploring open-source geospatial offerings. I don’t think it will lead to wholesale switch-overs but I think we’ll probably see more integrated, hybrid systems coming online. I suspect we’ll also see Esri being somewhat okay with this.

Paul Ramsey, PostGIS

I’m not sure I agree w/ the GeoHipster premise, or want necessarily to inculcate it too much. There’s something self-consciously exclusive about being a “hipster”, and the last thing I think folks who are interested in new technologies or boundary pushing should be doing is setting themselves up in an exclusive club. Hipsters feel that the value of wearing Doc Martens goes down as the number of people wearing Doc Martens goes up. I wouldn’t feel that way if more GIS users started adopting open source. So the GeoHipster is “fun”, but not one that I want to give any more life than any other decent joke.

Editor: Paul brings up a very important point, which I will discuss in more detail in a future post. I agree with him 100%, and will do whatever necessary to make sure that the GeoHipster movement does not engender division and exclusivity.

Josh Livni, Google

  1. rasters: image ‘analysis’ made easy and powerful.
  2. improved creation widgets: excellent webmaps will need zero coding.

Nicholas Duggan, Dragons8mycat

OpenGeo is going to be the word on everyones’ lips in 2014, with its integration with QGIS and ArcGIS it provides a complete web map system.

GIS will become more 3D, CityEngine has shown huge potential for 3D OpenGL and sharing 3D through the web.

Finally, I hope to see more cohesion between the GIS factions and more integration between developers and the surveyors/ data captors.

Tim Waters

A crowdfunded mapping site. Fund people to crowdsource maps. Founder to be millionaire by end of year, acquired by mapbox or ESRI.

That is a kind of kickstarter thing, but where you say “pay me and my mates will map St. Albans” . Top funders get a map tea towel. etc.

Stephen Mather

While the last decade has been dominated by the growing hegemony of the global base map, mapping will swing now for a while towards the principle of mapping the world, one organic pixel at a time. 2014 is the beginning of artisanal satellite mapping, where we discover the value in 1-inch pixels from personally and professionally flown unmanned aerial systems (drones). There is, as all things military-industrial, the dark side of drones. But as with all of these technologies, we will be discovering the great democratizing power of the artisanal, as applied to ‘satellite’views.

OpenDroneMap anyone?

Sophia Paraphina (spara on Twitter)

  1. Imagery – both satellite and photos
  2. hardware hacking – arduino and raspberrypi
  3. diy drones

More on the ‘sproke blog.

Jim Barry, Esri

Working at Esri I’m probably biased, but I expect that a hot item in 2014 will be the Geotrigger Service and API, not just because it’s new but for the simple practicality of it. I mean, we’ve been doing event-driven programming for quite a while now, giving an app the ability to accomplish things on its own, linked to rules connected to actions swirling around it: UI clicks, data updates, state changes, etc. Seems natural that since devices are now really good at knowing where they are, its location and movement are now in the list of events that give the app life and usefulness.

Gary Gale

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”.

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 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.

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?

North River Geographic Systems, Inc .

OpenStreetMap gets kicked out of Mom’s basement (finally!) only to find a world it is unprepared for. The good news, it will live in a van down by the river.

Organizations are forced due to tightening budgets to become more hybrid GIS setups where QGIS, PostGIS, GDAL, Geoserver, MapServer become tools for maintaining the data and avenues to reducing maintenance costs from commercial software.

ESRI picks off Mapbox while Google keeps trying to fix Google Maps. OpenStreetMap finally hits the mainstream as a recognized database and ends up splitting into two separate entities: one for the people who see it as a hobby and one for the companies who see the commercial opportunities behind it.

Glenn Letham, GIS User

Moving into 2014 I’m rather curious to see how the Open software scene is going to pan out. With Governments in particular having such tight budgets and forced to cut spending and staff I have to think that many may start seriously looking at open source solutions, most notably, OpenGeo. There’s no question that the OpenGeo effort has ramped up in the past few months, heck just look at the size of the team they have! The lights really went off as well when OpenGeo scored some big time funding late last year (Think InQTel) and rebranded as Boundless (See PR http://www.gisuser.com/content/view/30956/2/). Couple these business moves with the serious effort on the part of Government (big and small) to be more Open and transparent and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the efforts of Boundless start paying off big time. I’m really curious about this one… heck, can you imagine the meetings in Redlands should a major Fed. agency flop to the OpenGeo Suite… ohmy! FYI, it was only shortly after the name change and investment that they also rolled out the OpenGeo Suite R 4.0 and this thing is getting some pretty serious attention (See PR http://www.gisuser.com/content/view/31360/2/).

Happy New Year… Glenn Letham (@gletham)

Related Links:
Boundless – http://boundlessgeo.com/
In-Q-Tel – https://www.iqt.org/

Mano Marks, Google

2014 will be the year of indoor maps: Google is dramatically increasing the size of it’s indoor data. Apple is encouraging the deployment of iBeacons. There are tons of startups in the space. It’s going to be a great year for indoor.

In 2014, we will likely see where location starts to trump the map. Everyone can get a map now, and customize it as they wish. Location, that is the ability to tell a user more than just lat/long or address and directions is becoming increasingly important. Location based apps, long a promise are actually here.

In 2014, something will happen that surprises us all. I don’t know what that is, probably no one does, but something will take the mapping world by storm. Next year you can change that to 2015 and it’ll still be true 🙂

Week two summary: What defines the GeoHipster

GeoHipster officially launched two weeks ago. In the two weeks since launch, the GeoHipster website received over 2,517 page views from 1,382 unique visitors. Our inaugural poll “What defines the GeoHipster?” received 869 responses (poll results) from 217 users in 25 countries (thanks to all who responded (the poll is still open)). This shows that GeoHispterism is alive and thriving.

According to the top poll results, GeoHipsters like GeoJSON, ogr2ogr, and rolling their own map tiles. They are sometimes in denial, but have a sharp sense of humor. They shun the mainstream, but don’t always agree on what the mainstream is.

What’s next? We want to open the platform to GeoHipsters, GeoRednecks, GeoDramaQueens, etc. In other words — to all who want to participate and have something to say, directly or indirectly related to GeoHipsterism. Hit me up at atanas@entchev.com.

What defines the GeoHipster?

Welcome to GeoHipster, a website you have probably never heard of. We are not entirely sure where this is going, but an identity-defining kick-off poll seems like a good place to start.

What defines the GeoHipster? Help us find out by responding to the survey below. ([UPDATE January 24, 2014] Poll tally is here, the poll was closed on January 24, 2014.)

Thanks for all the suggestions. (41 from the 45 attributes came from visitor suggestions. Crowdsourcing, yo.)