Radical Changes in Spatial Info Management

    December 8, 2005

IDC published a new study suggesting the spatial information management (SIM) industry has been dramatically altered in the last 18 mos. involving fundamental shifts in platforms, vendors and users.

The study presents IDC’s five-year forecast and 2004 vendor share for the spatial information management industry and finds that spatial information management has transformed into a specialist application to a technology with broad relevance within many IT ecosystems.

“From enterprise areas like master data management to Google Maps, SIM technology is becoming pervasive,” said David Sonnen, IDC’s consultant for spatial information management. “Most IT companies and users will be affected to some degree by this change.”

Some of the shifts in the industry include changes in the nature of geospatial work and transitions in broad IT environment toward easier integration and support for business processes.

The study finds that geospatial data, and not the map, has become the raw resource for creating location-specific information. Therefore, efforts to convert paper maps to digital data have been replaced as geospatial data is used to generate new maps, decisions, and automated processes.

The study, which separates technology categories from market segments, reveals that geospatial capabilities will have to be tightly integrated into applications, as those capabilities are needed, and that geospatial capabilities must increasingly be managed as part of secure, adaptable information systems.

It also finds that information will be managed and accessed within service-oriented or event-based architectures and standards-based integration platforms. This standards-based environment will allow information systems to freely exchange data and business logic to create information that supports dynamic business processes in real-time.

“The SIM user base increasingly includes a broad range of enterprise users, developers and consumers. In 2004, the packaged SIM software market reached $1.99 billion, representing a growth rate of 5.9%,” added Sonnen.

“Now, vendors like Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft are carving out their own SIM niches and IT infrastructure vendors like Oracle and IBM are establishing SIM capabilities within their enterprise solutions platforms (ESPs).”

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.