Since the inception of Geospatial Information System (GIS) in the late 1960s, there has been a considerable shift in customer expectations and capabilities. In the last ten years, GIS has evolved from being used primarily as a navigation system for long road trips to being used in every aspect of our travel journey. Digital maps and the inexorable rise of the smartphone have radically changed how we locate, navigate, and plan our journeys. Today we cannot imagine our journey without the support of a map aggregator such as Google Maps, TomTom, Apple Maps and several others.
Since the introduction of the digital map, mapping geographic spaces has moved well beyond its traditional planimetric pancake perspective that flattens a curved earth onto a sheet of paper. GIS technology has evolved further allowing us to view landmarks, streets, and locations through satellite images and a 3D view.
The global geospatialc information system (GIS) market was valued at $ 77 B in 2021. The market is expected to reach US$ 174 B by 2027, at a CAGR of 14.4% during 2022-2027
How GIS find application across industries
GIS has evolved beyond the traditional usage of mapping capabilities. These platforms help gain a better understanding of spatial patterns while reducing costs, enabling accurate decision making and improving overall performance. GIS is used across diverse industries, ranging from education, military and defense, agriculture, forestry, and real estate. Location intelligence, logistics and spy satellites are used in military and defense GIS. The utilization of GIS has also increased in the agriculture sector for precision farming, soil mapping and analyzing crop productivity. It has been incredibly helpful in mapping and forecasting current and future fluctuations in precipitation, temperature and crop output.
With the advancements in the technology, key players are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with GIS to improve the efficiency of route mapping. As end users, we have the ability to find information related to landmarks, points of interest (POI), street views of the location, and real time updates of traffic congestion for our journey through widely used map aggregators like Google maps.
Although navigation systems have revolutionized our perspective on traveling, there are several challenges that hamper user experiences:
- Inconsistencies in real time data of the route
- Authenticity of information curated by users
- Image mapping to locations
- Inconsistencies in location tagging
Some of the largest consumers of GIS systems are retail, insurance, telecom, government, ride-hailing, food delivery, micro mobility and logistics companies whose business models are highly dependent on maps. Many ride hailing companies utilize Open Street Maps (OSMs) as a base layer and build on top of them to create their version of the map.
The future of GIS in everyday life
Navigation systems potentially will evolve, given our increasing dependence on maps to assist us in our daily lives. Companies that are well known to be disruptors of innovation like ride hailing and food-delivery companies are expected to be huge contributors to the growth of this industry. With many countries relaxing restrictions and managing healthcare risks of COVID-19, these companies are on the path to make a ‘U’-turn recovery with demand generation increasing and people returning to their normal schedules.
The application of GIS can be extended to create accurate models for agriculture, crime prevention, weather prediction, last mile delivery, and for logistics companies, cargo operations, and transportation companies in the fields of micro-mobility and food delivery.
Thinking outside the box
Tech companies today have built capabilities to support companies with their requirement for effectively mapping out service requirements and customizing as per their needs. The framework depicted in Figure 1 describes the approach taken by companies to manage end-to-end movement in service enhancementright from product evaluation to analytics and product maintenance.