9 Interesting topics in the Geospatial Industry for 2017

We are living in an ever-changing world, full of new discoveries to help in different fields of operation. The Geospatial industry has experienced a big change in all aspects; file formats, visualization platforms, forms of data and even the GIS software themselves. As this trend continues, every day has its own new story or innovation that’s being revealed. In this post, I share some of the interesting areas or fields in which innovations will be experienced in 2017. Some of these topics were present in the last year and continue to be key areas of focus.

3D Modeling

Moving from 2D to 3D models is a trend that has been evident in the past and this frontier continues to find its use in many fields across the Geospatial industry. In many fields, data representation, for example, a 3D model of a city, has helped planners and policy makers make decisions better and aided in the future planning of our cities. Every city has its own design model and through computer aided 3D modeling, we are understanding our cities even better. In fields such as interior designs and construction industry, the use of 3D models has become a must-have in their operations. Improved data visualization systems continue to emerge every day.


The need to better understand our earth is coupled with lots of work and research. Getting to know the unexplored frontiers helps to better understand our land and available resources. UAVs have helped reach the interiors inaccessible by humans enabling us to know more of our ecosystems and also understand our geography. Institutions are investing heavily in the UAVs technology so as to ease work and improve efficiency. UAVs, have been used in quite a number of ways and have really helped in difficult situations.

Indoor Navigation

With extensive outdoor mapping, data about places is readily available for use by the public and organizations. Indoor mapping comes to supplement the outdoor maps. This kind of mapping is a game changer in many fields of business such as the Real Estate and construction companies. With various projects geared towards indoor mapping, such as the Go inside with indoor maps and Ready-made smart indoor map integrations, improved solutions will be achieved for all to use. This area is still in great demand.

Future of Data

There exist dozens of file formats and services for exchanging geospatial data, raster and vector datasets.This ensures easier sharing of spatial data between systems and people. With the changing and emerging devices in the technology arena, the need for even better data formats to support these new platforms is on the rise. With the emergence of OGC Geopackage(GPKG), both raster and vector data can be stored and easily consumed by systems such as mobile systems. This is a great boost in the industry. In the coming days, increased volumes of datasets will be experienced. Datasets will be interconnected and shared easily across organizations, governments and individuals. This will ensure common datasets are used and build models that are used globally. The essence of all this is to ensure sharing of data across systems is made easier. There is much yet to happen in this sector.

Use of Geospatial Intelligence

The use of Geospatial Intelligence(GI) has been on the rise in the last few years. Attempts to provide high-efficiency systems and solutions using the GI have been experienced more so in the security and business sectors. More efficient and improved solutions are still under development and new frontiers will be reached. The capabilities of GI span in almost all areas of applications and thus, there is great future in this.

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IoT with Geospatial data

With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT), geospatial data has found its use into systems, platforms and processes. The integration of different components that form the IoT systems with their location aspect, will ensure efficiency and increased productivity within different sectors. This integration can also be defined by a Geofence to ensure location-specific solutions.

Mobile GIS

GIS has grown over the years and still continues to grow with time. The use of GIS within organizations has also increased calling for more and better GIS solutions in the future. With time, the screens are getting smaller. GIS is now available on smartphones, PDAs and other gadgets out there. The number of users on mobile platforms has tremendously increased thus making Mobile GIS one of the key focus by companies providing Geospatial solutions. Mobile GIS is a blessing to the GIS related businesses.


As the word suggests, monitoring the activities within an area of interest in relation to “things” of interest is an interesting area that is yet to be explored. Applications of Geofencing have been rolled out in multiple projects such as fleet management and marketing.  Targeting users that are only in a certain geographical area can enhance business performance and efficiency. Most businesses and organizations will look more into Geofencing and utilize it for their business needs. The growth of Geofence tools will be experienced in this year.

Open Government Geospatial data

The rise of Open data has led to the increase in the number of projects completed over the years due to the availability of ready data. Governments and organizations are advocating for open data within departments and agencies to ensure the data held in these organization’s data banks is available to everyone who needs it. This has led to the increased need for the Spatial Data Infrastructures within countries to provide a platform for sharing data. In most countries though, the open government geospatial data initiatives and other related initiatives are yet to take off and be beneficial to the citizens of the country.

Well, there are many topics and fields that are in high demand this year. These are just a few of the existing topics. Which topics do you think are major in the current year, 2017? Leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion.

Leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion.

Wanjohi Kibui
About Wanjohi Kibui 23 Articles
A GIS Developer, Consultant and Author.Passionate about Geospatial technologies. To read more about his work, visit http://www.lifeingis.com Access video Tutorials on YouTube