Geo technologies ecology, software, hardware, applications and social networks related to the territory, is going through one of its best moments. In less than five years the industry has undergone radical changes: going from simple production of digital maps to the creation of new geo information businesses, passing through the massive prediction of facts in the territory together with geo social networks like Foursquare and Yelp based on GPS and smart phones.
In 2013 we experienced the rise of maps and apps linked to social networks , also witnessing geo-oriented social tech events . 2014 promises us to consolidate these advances by enhancing the role of citizenry in the geo information disciplines, new and better geo mobile applications and the arrival of wearable computing used to generate information on the territory (such as glasses, jackets or watches).
Changes will keep on coming. Therefore, we present 10 opinions on the trends that we believe will be more important in 2014 according to the result of a semi-structured survey required by GeoCensos to experts of a wider community.
1- Success of the geo communities model According to the founder of Mapufacture Mikel Maron, we will see more collaboration in the territory following the success of the model of geo communities of mappers like Open Street Map. Thus, using the same or similar tools and the same approach, each community will specialise in their geographical data of interest. Bekim Kajtazi - iMMAP - thinks Google Maps or Bing will be challenged in its position by these open source platforms that will enhance their usability.
2- More GPS, but now in doors Argentine developer Ignacio Harriague, co creator of the Fanwards fidelity app, believes that the trend of systems such as i Beacon will be replicated in other apps on the market. iBeacon is Apple´s indoor positioning system, that allows a iOS device to identify others close by and enables them to send messages.
3- Dressed for success Wearable computing is another trend most mentioned by experts, this technology provides information on the go and in situ, beyond Smart phones. Among others, Google Glasses is mentioned as a benchmark in 2014, especially now that more suitable and local applications on that platform will be developed. Accessories such as Maptor - a portable lantern that projects maps guided by an internal GPS - will be disseminated on a larger scale in 2014.
4- A whole new generation of start ups Another trend that is expected to arise in Latin America is the booming of geo start ups or ventures that will give value to geographical data. For Mario Padilla, manager of CASATIC of El Salvador, "... we will have a geographical mobile application´s boom due to the higher penetration of smartphones throughout the region, as well as lesser investments required".
5- To open or not to open data, is that the question? For the development of applications, it is necessary to have and make readily available large amounts of data. Christopher E. Gerty, Deputy Program Manager of NASA innovation program says trends we'll see will be those related to the Open Data bottom up approach promoted by President Obama, using citizen knowledge and the opening of data to make Governments more open and intelligent.
6- It´s all in the context Availability of growing volumes of open data is linked to the trend of Geo information related to the context. From the point of view of Juan Francisco Martínez of the multilatina CONCISA geo information will improve the quality of people's lives through smart choices contextualized to their physical location. Using existing applications enriched by opendata new generation apps will give advice based on daily personal patterns. Daniel Carranza - DATA. UY - from Uruguay believes that, in addition to Big Data, the ability to geo locate data more efficiently through GPS, IPS, WiFi networks or trilateration, new apps will deliver information and applications based on the context of the user.
7- Incubating projects on a large scale. Several of our experts point out the emergence of mass incubation for geographic applications. They explain their opinion on the many hackathons and technological events that took place in 2013 that will force companies to innovate through a more direct relationship with developers.
8- New spatial data management concepts According to Raúl Ponce Corona, a Chilean international consultant, we will see in next years the transformation of the concept of Spatial Data Infrastructures, a data management concept that will be permeated due to the influence of neo-geography, open government and open data policies and also new and less expensive cartographies and the need for smaller scales, such as the the sectorial SDIs.
9- New markets of aerial photographs Available knowledge is predicting a dynamic restructuring of the aerial images market, we will see the results of big mergers and the appearance of new low-cost technologies, including the use of cuadricopters and hot air balloons for low-altitude images that will open in turn new markets.
10- Dimensioned maps In Colombia, hacker spaces prefer 3D printing when it comes to betting on trends. Indeed, the emergence of a geo oriented "maker" movement that will begin to use 3D cartography to define urban issues will emerge as one of the socio - technical trends in the near future. It is expected that there will be a spread of local projects similar to Street Factory or MapCube 3D.
We look forward to start this new year optimistically, hoping to further develop these and other new geo technologies. We wish all that in 2014 we could keep on mapping the future together.