Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest post - GIS Technology - Future Perspective by Huma Irfan

            Today we have a post from a guest blogger. Hope you enjoy it!

About the guest:

           Huma Irfan, the owner and CEO of Geonergy Ltd., a GIS company based out of London, UK.

           Here is what she shares with us!

GIS Technology – Future Perspective

©Huma Irfan
Founder & CEO, Geonergy Ltd.

           There is no human activity on Earth that is not impacted or impacts a location or space, thus the spatial element’ is an integral part of all human action. Geographical Information Science (GIS) or ‘Spatial Science’ has evolved through decades into a discipline in its own right, amalgamated from the very fundamentals of Geography, Computing, Statistics and other related fields in the broadest scenario. The role of GIS is increasingly recognised and accepted throughout all major disciplines in public and private sectors.

            A picture speaks better than a thousand words; it is aptly proved to be true through GIS. GIS has helped to achieve ‘knowledge’ from merely ‘data’ and ‘information’. Spatial analysis is becoming an imperative force as more and more of the remarkable possibilities of its application, integration and interoperability are recognised due to the fast-paced materialisation and advancement of technology. With the availability of affordable and cost-effective computing hardware and advance developments in software technology, mobile computing and flourishing open-source initiatives, crowd-sourcing, mash-ups, cloud computing and unlimited access to dynamic and real-time data through internet and employing GNSS, the possibilities are everlasting and endless. Having acknowledged its enormous potential in the past and present, and recognising that geographical information is in its most effective and powerful form in a digital environment, we seek to envisage how can GIS change our world in the future?

            The outlook grasps that the primary use of GIS technology in the information age may not change greatly, such as to manage and analyse data, but its relative importance is likely to be impacted and the implementation capacity accelerated and shifted manifold. The world is apparently liable to be adversely affected in future with factors such as population explosion, shortage of food, climate change, increase in energy demand and novel technology and information outburst, we seek to envision how GIS can embark upon to tackle these problems. We have witnessed the GIS journey from description to simulation, virtual and augmented reality, from basic 2D to 3D visualisation and 4D capability through integration of ‘time’ via agent based modelling such as fire, pollution, traffic, Geohazards etc. How far can we perceive the path of possibilities for 5D, 6D, 7D and 8D or more through incorporating other media/sensors/transducers using temperature, pressure, speed, texture, touch, sound, smell etc. into simulation and modeling environments? Technology has limitless boundaries, and so it is the moment to think about which avenues can still be explored and new ideas be implemented into reality. When we think of GIS, we think of our world and all its astounding data, information and knowledge, whereas the path of GIS may lead us beyond the precincts of Earth in future such as planetary and space GIS; for GIS - The world is not enough!