GIS is moving into an expanded role that builds on the aggregative properties of the first generation of big data applications. The current iteration of GIS apps has the ability to produce highly organized data for BIM systems, surveyors and engineers. The overlap between 3D and IoT technologies is ushering forward a new era of data integration. However, there is still a demand for an even more holistic purposing of data gathered through GIS tools.

For example, retail business owners may look to cross-reference the demographic information gathered from other applications with the foot traffic that a particular location will generate based upon its location. Architects may look to generate a more precise topographical assessment of a proposed location based upon the findings from GIS analysis. These new requests from monied interests may present new challenges, but they also present new opportunities for GIS mapping and surveying professionals to monetize the value of their analytics.

Changing GIS Academic Programs

Academic programs in many countries are being revised to include the business aspects of engineering analytics. It is one thing to understand how to gather data. It is quite another to translate this data into a format that is immediately actionable to a businessman. Industry experts say that this more holistic education mirrors the approach that NASA took in the 1960s during its huge leap forward in military aerospace programs. There are many takeaways here for pure engineering and surveying companies.

Preparing for New Client Requests

The first thing that geospatial data companies should do is reassess client requests. It is highly likely that those requests are changing away from reports on hard, raw data into requests for applications into that data. The trend may be especially important to recognize in legacy clients. It is natural for companies working together for extended periods of time to assume a higher degree of familiarity as time goes on. For instance, if you are procuring topographical data for an architecture firm, at some point that firm will expect you to have some familiarity with the projects they take on.

If your company is not ready for these new requests, you may need to upgrade your products. An entirely new generation of GIS tools equips surveying and engineering companies with the ability to apply hard data more quickly to specific industries than ever before.

Finding a Workforce That Can Apply Data

Secondly, how prepared is your workforce? Are you digging into the educational trenches to find graduates who come out of school ready to apply data instead of just gather it? You may need to pepper your employment roles with some of these applicants from newer generations – they actually may be able to teach your seasoned veterans a thing or two about blending data into a CAD platform. Are you partnered with a university that offers a combined GIS/advanced analytics training course? You may want to offer a few internships with your local college. You can bet that clients will begin asking for more very soon if they have not already. Do not let egos get in the way of improving the skill set of your entire workforce.

Ensuring Your Vendors Are Advancing With You

Additionally, you may want to check with your system vendors in order to more fully expand the capabilities of your information yields. The manufacturers of GIS, BIM and CAD systems definitely understand the coming wave of holistic applications for their data. As a matter of fact, they have been waiting on retail, manufacturing and government to catch up with the technology. These companies are competing tooth-and-nail against each other to expand their aggregation and application capabilities. Have a conversation with your trusted vendors to see if they are keeping pace with the accelerating industry standard. You may need to make a few moves if you see that some vendors are transitioning more swiftly than others.

Preparing for an Overall Integration with Other Industries

Overall, the GIS industry can expect a new level of integration with other industries in the coming years. Your ability to capitalize on the fulfillment of many years of prophecy relies on your ability to think holistically, bolster your workforce, and create relationships with the appropriate partners. Take the time to upgrade your ability to aggregate data. More importantly, make sure that your company has the capability to scale and expand at the rate that the new GIS industry will require.

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