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The Geospatial Industry of 2031

What does the geospatial industry look like in 5 to 10 years?

Batched in with other industry leaders, visionaries, and all-round people with options, I was asked to share my view on where we are headed. As an entrepreneur who likes to live in the future, I was happy to share my thoughts. 

So here is me writing down my predictions for a virtual time capsule (this blog). The contents of which to be revisited in ten years time, at the risk of appearing laughably off the mark or hilariously naïve. Then again, the future is of our own making. In the hands of those with a vision, and strengthened by those who come to share it. 

So, without further ado, here’s what I think the geospatial industry will look like by 2031.

2031: The Internet of Spatial data (IoS)

In 2031 we will search for spatial data like we search for any other content on the ‘regular internet’ of today. Which is to say; through a search engine using key terms and browsing the pages suggested to us. This means that in the future, spatial datasets are hosted as public, semi-public or private online maps with a unique url. Like the ‘regular internet’ the Internet of Spatial data will be a standardized, community driven, and non-hierarchical system of reference for searching and sharing content that can be leveraged by everyone. This means that:

– We have transitioned from files to web services
– Publishing spatial data will be like creating a WordPress blog
– We will be sharing data with links rather than with files
– There are always multiple endpoints to access online datasets by design
– Using multiple data sources simultaneously will be without difficulty

This way, spatial data is activated for use and contribution by an absolutely massive audience. A game changer that is not to be underestimated.

The road to 2031

Aside from having a vision for how spatial data will be activated in the IoS in ten years time, I also harbor ideas on how to get there. These ideas are centered around 1) introducing solutions that help users adhere to all sharing standards by design, and 2) applying business models that reward community members for creating content that people want to connect to via the web, rather than making this difficult and expensive.

Closing the capsule

Time to close the capsule and see what the years will bring. My intention is to not leave it to fate. 

Until next time!

Rosalie van der Maas
Co-founder & CEO of Ellipsis Drive

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Top 5 GISc Certificate Programs

What is GIS Science (GISc)

In the US, there are about 120 colleges that offer GIS focused degrees and certificates.  The majority of these are limited with general classes in GIS, Cartography, and Database Development.  They show you how a GIS works and the concepts of producing data, analysis, and map products.  Then there are those programs that have an added focus on developing GIS systems and fall in the subset called GIS Science.  This is often a blend of GIS and IT to serve and scale map information to more people to make more decisions.  We have selected 5 excellent programs that will allow you to develop your GISC skills and attain an online GISc certificate.

Top 5 online programs to get GISc Certification

These were ranked from a student consumer perspective.  A student is preparing for a career and typically cares about the strength of their curriculum, their cost, and time to complete.  All of these programs will be attractive for different reasons to different students.

1. Bootcamp GIS

Cost $5,982
Time to Complete 6 months
Format Online, Start anytime
Description This is a unique platform that is taught by instructors that are working in industry.  Students follow their real world methods within project-based courses in applied topics like: UAVs, AWS Cloud, Python, Data Science, GIS management.  They offer multi-step career services preparation.


2. Penn State World Campus

Cost $11,083
Time to Complete 6 months, Specific start times
Format Online
Description They offer choices of a few different certificate specializations but the one we like is the Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development which covers a nice range of topics including Python, Web mapping, Open Source, and Cloud Servers. They have a wealth of experience doing this for a long time.


3. San Francisco State

Cost $4345
Time to Complete 6 months
Format Online, Some classes start anytime and others have specific start times.
Description Depending on the format you like, they have a flexible attendance format with some classes asynchronous and others synchronous.  The synchronous classes are 8hr classes taught in a full day.  Good selection of classes using GPS, UAVs, Database development, Python scripting, and GIS management.  


4. University of Denver

Cost $17,856
Time to Complete 12 months, Specific start times
Format Online
Description They have comprehensive offerings in GIS systems like Python, UAS, and Web mapping.  Furthermore, we are impressed with their wide number of application courses in Business management, Public Health, Telecom, Crime, and others.


5. Brandman

Cost $10,500
Time to Complete 12 months
Format Online, Specific start times
Description This program has a concise set of classes with a unique range of topics: Data wrangling, Programming, Spatial communications, and Project management.  With a focus on business GIS, this can be transitioned to their bachelors degree in business.


Your marketability with GISc

The GIS industry is growing at a 30% CAGR to $25B.  The largest part of this growth is in new software, hardware, and services that really fall within the GISC category of skills.  We did a survey of 200 recent GIS job announcements and made a list of the required skills. They repeatedly asked for skills in:  Software development, Cloud Architecture, Data Administration, System Integration, and UAVs.  When students follow industry needs and get these skills, they are super marketable.  Be one of these students as the industry needs more of this type of talent.

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