Just got back from doing a plenary presentation at ESRI UK’s kick-off meeting, wow has that organisation grown some.. came back on the No. 285 bus – I do love these local meetings 🙂
The topic of my presentation was the increasingly mainstream appeal of geospatial technology, not so much the geoweb/neogeography of the tech community but the applications that have real mass-market appeal like the Santa tracking sites over christmas, and yesterdays announcement of geotagging in iPhoto 09.
The mainstream applications all share a common characteristic they are from a user perspective simple applications which provide a useful purpose / entertainment, but which nevertheless are built on a hidden geospatial infrastructure which may be very complex and sophisticated.
Now from what I have seen, iPhoto 09 may have quite limited geotagging capabilities compared to existing services, however the interface is very appealing and the process of geo-tagging straightforward. And it is of course simple, there is no mention of reverse geocoding or geoparsing, all of which is part of the process and necessary – but hidden.
The future of geospatial I believe will increasingly take this form, where complex geospatial functionality disappears hidden behind great interface design and brilliant process engineering.
Today I was drawn to use a wonderful Douglas Adams anecdote.. Douglas was told that one day all houses would have a centralised electric motor to run all sorts of home appliances, and what better job could one have than to be an electric motor repair man.
The study of electric motors was thus recommended as “the” thing to study. Of course today there are no centralised electric motors, and no electric motor repair men, but our houses are full of electric motors invisible in devices all around the house (Just counted over 20 in the very room I am sitting in, computers, hi-fi, coffee maker , etc.).
The parallel is clear for electric motor read GIS.. in the future, important and even more widespread than today; but ultimately invisible.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network