Find Your Spirit of Innovation on GIS Day

Posted on November 14, 2016 in Thinking

Why do we celebrate GIS Day?  One reason is to show pride in our profession and to promote it to others, which are both worthwhile endeavors. But as a term, GIS is not modern, and is somewhat limited in scope. It was coined by Roger Tomlinson in 1968, which was the same year that the “Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics” added “and Spatial Analysis” to its name.   The computer graphics industry spawned several technology leaders in early GIS, most notably, Intergraph (founded in 1969), who became the market leader in the 1970s and 80s. During the 1990s, the mantle of market leader shifted to Esri (also founded in 1969) – times change, as do market leaders.

The term GIS was adopted by vendors and academics alike during these early decades of the industry.  It was applied to map data and technology that needed a label to differentiate it from other types of data and technology, including computer graphics.  It became a banner under which a fledgling profession could rally and grow, along with the market.  An entire industry grew-up and matured under this label, and the biggest “GIS rally” for many years has been the ESRI User Conference, at which as many as 15,000 people now gather. Based on its success in what became a global market, the almost 50 year-old Esri is often considered synonymous with GIS, as other players came and went on a playing field that the market leader was able to define for everyone — until now.  Today, “GIS” is a label that does not adequately describe what many of us who have grown-up in this industry actually do, nor the data and technology that we often use to solve problems for today’s customers, which now includes many robust open source components as well as proprietary products.  Other blog posts have mentioned Geospatial/IT as an alternative term that is more modern in its genesis than GIS, which emerged when “MIS” was a common term – but how often is MIS used these days to describe information dashboards and analytical tools for the C-Suite and the rest of the enterprise? continue_reading…

Happy GIS Day! Some Quick Thoughts…

Posted on November 20, 2013 in Thinking

Happy GIS Day everyone! Today we celebrate GIS, but what does that really mean? For us, it’s a reminder to take a step back and take pride in the fact that our industry and our profession really do make a daily difference in the lives of billions of people around the world.  From navigation on a smartphone, to finding the closest ATM on your bank’s web site, to looking up the value of a parcel of land, to understanding the logistics and geospatial intelligence it took to get that tube of toothpaste from the factory to the shelf, to having confidence in the fact that the ambulance knows the quickest way to your house, our current, modern lives wouldn’t be the same without GIS. And without GIS, much of the amazing technology we take for granted wouldn’t be nearly as amazing.  AppGeo is a proud partner with you –our clients — in making your citizens and customers more informed, safer, and satisfied. We couldn’t do what we do without your enthusiasm and commitment. So thanks – we hope our passion for GIS shines through not only today, but also every day!