The Next Generation of GIS
What do we mean by GIS in 2020 & Beyond? GIS is the foundation of newly emerging technology. It’s the science of gathering, managing and analyzing data. This means AI, machine learning and deep learning will be crucial in developing reliable applications that will have a profound impact in the way we go about our lives that run in the background such as; integrated smart cities, self-driving cars, public safety, logistics, telecommunications and even traveling (if COVID-19 still isn’t a thing). These background processes have one thing in common and that is GIS. GIS stands for “Geographical Information Systems” and it enables us to digitalize where and what things are in the real world. GIS mapping has been around since the 1960s when we were just starting to realize, as a species, how computers will make our lives easier, allowing us to make more time doing something else other than – what we would deem now – menial work.
People who do NOT go to university to study GIS may not even know how big of a role it plays in their day-to-day activities outside of using Apple Maps or Google Maps to get directions. Anyone remember printing out directions on MapQuest?😅 This causes pains in fields of work that require collaboration with GIS professionals. Not to mention you having to figure out how to use GIS software to get something small yet important done. GIS software has always been the means for people to customize and manipulate items on a map with data layers in order to convey some sort of idea or communicate information. A more recent example of this would be COVID-19.
GIS & COVID-19
Health experts would find it hard to inform the public where hotspots of COVID-19 are if they had to list places in a word file then list numbers of how many people are infected. This would leave out fundamental visual information. Like how close the radius is to other towns, demographics, population information, etc. GIS solves this by allowing mapping software gurus to take in information, organize it, then make a map that has rich visuals so that decision makers can well…make better decisions (or so we hope). This example show-cases something that will be prevalent in the next generation of GIS which would be allowing the HealthCare Professionals to make the map themselves without the help of the mapping software gurus albeit they could do it themselves if they spent 30+ hours watching Youtube videos on how.
From past to future
GIS in 2020 & beyond entails AI, machine learning and deep learning. These are complex concepts and as you can see, GIS software alone can be confusing to a novice. Since AI runs off of massive amounts of data, how can we contribute to this data when everyone has to get around a steep learning curve with existing software? Existing solutions out there are good but are very procedure heavy. To do one simple task, one has to know all the tasks leading up to that goal. This could take hours of learning! For example, imagine if you wanted to cook dinner. In earlier civilization, you would have to hunt, find wood, make a fire, get some sort of container to cook the food and then you could actually carry out the task of cooking. This took forever and that is how GIS software is today. It should be compared to cooking in the present. You go to a grocery store, turn on your stove top and get to cooking.
How will the next generation of GIS software look?
Well its simple, make the GIS software less intimidating by making it more intuitive.
It is necessary to make computer software more user friendly since they take in commands differently. Anyone remember what operating systems looked like before a GUI (graphical user interface)? You worked a computer by typing in a set of commands. This just sucked 😒 and was very clunky to the everyday user. Now computers are easier to use so that everyone can participate, which has done wonders. The same has to happen with GIS software since it’s the basis of the many processes we need to make our lives easier. When this happens, more people can contribute to data that will be used by evolving technology like AI. This will make more time for the things we want to do. But AI isn’t the only outcome that would benefit from this jump. The new way of creating GIS software will make many job duties easier to perform 😁 .
FlyyMaps makes GIS for everyone. We have created a cloud based and user-friendly version of mapping software that anyone can use. After all, the whole point is to create and collaborate on maps without the steep learning curve that comes with existing solutions. Our vision includes many job titles (construction site managers, healthcare professionals, telecommunications employees and government employees etc.) using GIS in a collaborative way that allows for faster/better decision making. Our journey is finding time consuming processes then condensing them into just a couple steps that anyone can do.
We have also thought about what GIS in 2020 & beyond looks like in education and how easy-to-use software can stoke even the youngest of minds in the early stages of education. Having GIS software that isn’t so daunting to students would open up the avenues of curiosity, leading to more students to contribute to the science of GIS. This in turn could create industries that do not even exist yet and create more jobs. Great examples of industries that could not exist without GIS would be Waze, Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Grub hub and the emergence of autonomous cars… just to name a few…
We hope this little rant has created some interest as to how much influence GIS in 2020 & Beyond will play a role in our lives. FlyyMaps will create an ecosystem that will make “GIS for everyone”, changing the way we go about doing GIS. We want to end this off with a little game. Identify things you do in your life that wouldn’t be possible without GIS. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in future blogs. Till next time 😁