If geotechnology companies don't start making products that are more intuitive and simpler, according to Knauer, they're going to be even more relegated to the "back office" than they are now. He also said that such companies should be thinking along the lines of the Nintendo Wii, and how its simplicity has changed the face of its industry.
Geospatial Leadership Awards
At the start of the conference, the winners of the Geospatial Leadership Awards were announced.
Geospatial Innovator Award, which is given to a geospatial tool developer that created new software or hardware that expands the possibilities of the geotechnology industry, included the following nominees:3-GIS, for Network Express
Appistry, for Cloud IQ Platform
CartoPac Field Solutions, for CartoPac Enterprise
DigitalGlobe, for WorldView 2
PCI Geomatics, for GeoConference
Pitney Bowes Business Insight, for MapXtreme
Rolta Canada, for ROLTA OnPoint
The winner of the Geospatial Innovator Award is PCI Geomatics for GeoConference, a live geospatial meeting system that operates via the Internet, and it allows users to share maps, imagery and data simultaneously and interactively in real time. It has been used to assist with the planning, monitoring and coordination of land security and environmental activities.
Accepting the award for PCI Geomatics was David Stanley, the company’s chief technology officer.
The Private Enterprise Award is given to an organization that successfully extended GIS throughout the enterprise or contributed significantly to the advancement and adoption of geospatial technology. The nominees were:
Critigen LLC, for Visual PM
Denny’s, for Pitney Bowes Business Insight’s Site Evaluator Model
ESRI Inc., for the Twitter add-in for ArcGIS Explorer
Geo-Plus, for Geo-Plus VisionCivil 2010
TeleAtlas, a TomTom Company, for MultiNet 2009
The winner of the Private Enterprise Award is ESRI for its Twitter add-in for ArcGIS Explorer. Combining social networking and GIS, this add-in provides the ability to geotag tweets and perform several geospatial operations against the Twitter API with the 3-D ArcGIS Explorer display. And the technology was recently proven to be helpful for earthquake support in Haiti.
The Public Enterprise Award is given to a government entity or non-profit association that has pushed the boundaries of what's possible to achieve broad system buy-in and use by a large number of constituents. The nominees were:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for the HAZUS Program
Government of Mongolia, for the Mongolia National Land Information System
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation and Public Works, AE&ES Division, for the Milwaukee County Interactive Mapping Service
OpenGeo, A Division of the Open Planning Project, for the OpenGeo Suite
Rockland County, N.Y., for its GIS Portal
The winner of the Public Enterprise Award is Rockland County, N.Y.
Rockland County’s innovation in GIS led to the development of a GIS Portal that provides Web-based, centralized access to data, maps and applications. The county has advanced its GIS initiatives to streamline internal efficiencies, enhance public service, and increase safety and emergency response.
Accepting the award on behalf of Rockland County was Patrick Graham, the director of engineering at James W. Sewall Co.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!
The GeoTec Event Exhibit hall attracted a lot of interest and action!
Industry Outlook Panel
Day Two started with a very successful Industry Outlook panel, featuring Joe Berry, principal, Berry & Associates; Xavier Lopez, director of spatial technologies, Oracle Corp.; and Nigel Waters, director of the Center of Excellence for Geographic Information Science, George Mason University.
This panel of GeoWorld magazine key contributors provided a wealth of knowledge for attendees, discussing, among other things, "geoslavery" and whether the topic will regain prominence in privacy discussions; technologies that will change the geotechnology landscape; and the effects that an aging population will have on geotechnology and vice versal.
The GeoWorld Industry Outlook panel featured (from left to right) Joe Berry, Xavier Lopez and Nigel Waters.
As far as geoslavery, Nigel Waters predicted there might be a new industry called location-protection services that may specialize in protecting clients' geolocation. Trust will become a central issue.
Some emerging technologies discussed by Xavier Lopez included new use of 3-D into business applications, the Semantic Web, and "Map Reduce" technology for very fast, large-scale transactions. Joe Berry wondered if we could incorporate "participatory GIS" or "crowdsourcing" to calibrate decision models and not just locate things. Could it be used to decide what's important and replace stakeholder meetings?
Questions from the audience then discussed Climate Change, local issues around Markham and Twittering. When discussing Climate Change, Berry noted that a fish travels on average 14,000 miles to reach its consumer, and there's a major push toward local goods.
There were popular sessions for three days.
The third and final day of the event started very strongly with a Data Issues panel featuring Josh Knauer, CEO, Rhiza Labs (and the event's keynote speaker, above); Brian Maloney, director, Geographic Information Branch, Science Information Resources Division, Ministry of Natural Resources; and Lou Milrad, associate counsel, Miller Thomson LLP.
The standing-room only crowd witnessed a lively discussion, which touched on service-level agreements, crowdsourcing and open data licensing.
Maloney noted that nobody wants to commit to a long-term service-level agreement. Milrad stated that the work order is not the core document, replacing the contract. And Knauer believes that peer-to-peer data storage and dissemination if the future.
When discussing crowdsourcing, the group agreed that the ease of acquiring has improved dramatically, and that "authoritative data" is a bit of a misnomer. All data has some level of uncertainty, and crowdsourced data aren't necessarily any less authoritative that standard data acquired in more traditional ways.
And according to Maloney, "There's a serious movement toward open data. If businesses grow from free governmental data, they pay taxes. So money can come back that way." An audience member also noted a survey that found that charging for data often cost more than just giving the data away, in terms of costs to administer and track such data.
Thanks again to all of those who helped make GeoTec Event 2010 such a success! We couldn't have done it without you!