What we’re seeing now is that automotive companies are becoming major players in the mapping ecosystem and are shaking up the industry. It’s a time of rapid innovation, which will motivate some of the predicted trends below.
- Automotive mapping takes off: The automotive industry has huge momentum right now and will continue to be a driving force behind the evolution of maps (pun intended), motivated by the development of connected and self-driving cars. Up to this point, digital maps have only been vitally important for a few use cases, and have been simply convenient for the majority of the population. But with self-driving cars, digital mapping will become indispensable to a much larger population.
- Deep learning and AI: 2017 might be the year where we see more machine-generated edits to maps than human edits. With constant improvements in deep learning technology, we may soon get to a point where digital editors are annotating maps more efficiently than teams of humans ever could. This will be especially important as we look to extract as much useful data from digital photomaps as possible.
- Lots of outsiders: In the GIS industry, you’re only as good as your data. The gap between the big corporations that have data and the smaller ones that don’t will grow over time, because good data collection requires substantial resource allocation. The more their datasets become dwarfed by other companies’, the more independents and small players may struggle in 2017.