Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What Next?

Jeff Thurston over at Vector One, and David Maguire at Geography Matters are discussing—what I think we've all been asking—after a year of slippy maps, collaborative atlases, buzz words and acronyms is: "What's next?" Coming out of Where 2.o I got to see a lot of great things; people doing brilliant things; multiple groups converging and ideas being sparked. But to what extent? I saw a lot of ships passing in the night. Jeff is right, what is going to fill the gap between open source, slippy maps, traditional GIS business models, and data provisioning? Now, let's think about this carefully: Someone's going to break out in five to seven months, and they're going to make it big. It's not going to be your traditional GIS desktop builder, nor the the team with the pincushions. I think it's going to be someone who takes the opportunity to technically simplify how geodata is transferred, standardized, communicated, and displayed. They're actually going to redefine what geodata is and eliminate uncertainty. They're going to share data, sell apps, crowdsource, and make money. The goal is place, not space. Just watch. Someone who wasn't so busy talking about themselves at Where is going to take the shot to build that bridge that Jeff and David are talking about. And then who's going to be counting dollars—not L$'s—rather than "services?"

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