The GIS world is changing. It is diversifying and expanding. More than 100 industries are using GIS around the world. But, as data, technology, competition, and resources change, in many cases the golden age of big box GIS is waning. In the long run, this is good if GIS professionals are prepared. Not only can they benefit from new technology and solutions, but they can also drive them.

So, with Fall upon us, here is a suggested checklist for GIS professionals to use in order to drive the change.

What can you do?

  1. Form an internal GIS working group. Understand and document risks associated with dependence on your GIS vendor. Understand key critical functions and build short, medium and long-term plan to reduce risks.
  2. Communicate spatial needs to your enterprise technology vendors. Understand their spatial plans, communicate your needs and share roadmaps. Examples are Big Data, IoT, IT, sensor, infrastructure management, ERP, CRM, and supply chain organizations.
  3. Form cross-organizational groups. Organize GIS working groups in trade organizations to understand risks, look at alternatives and communicate joint needs.
  4. Contribute to local GIS groups. Attend geo meetups, conferences such as FOSS4G and related events as applicable.
  5. Keep up-to-date and open minded. Read articleblogs and thought leadership pieces on GIS, Location Intelligence, geospatial, spatial and anything “geo.”
  6. Investigate alternatives. Invite alternative vendors to present offerings and migration strategies. You will learn a lot and get insights into different ways of thinking.
  7. Solution providers, don’t get trapped. Partners should investigate other vendors’ partner programs, incentives, and migration options. Being a small fish in a big pond is not always a strategy for growth!

What else can we do? Send me other ideas. We need to support and share ideas with the rest of the world as they begin to understand and embrace the value of spatial thinking. But we will be left behind if we keep our heads in the sand!