[FoRK] Geospatial (was: PubSub 2.0)

J. Andrew Rogers <andrew at ceruleansystems.com> on Sat May 5 08:53:16 PDT 2007

On May 4, 2007, at 8:17 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> Geospatial == an interesting but very constrained subset of  
> possible applications, and the one among many that (while probably  
> very VC-sexy these days, given herd behavior and limited attention- 
> span) is extremely limited, relative to the actual low-hanging fruit.

I think you seriously underestimate the geospatial market space.   
Forget the low-hanging fruit, there are large quantities of fruit  
rotting on the ground.  The market is currently defined almost  
entirely by the fact that the technology is seriously limited to  
trivial application in multiple dimensions.  Even ignoring the large- 
scale data markets, the market is also hindered by a lot of competing  
and usually poor standards.  And then there is also a bandwidth issue  
(it consumes far more than most people/companies expect) that acts as  
a significant barrier to entry for companies, but that has never been  
an issue I've had to worry about.  It is a standard progression of  
technology, but in this case the technology is trailing the  
applications and data rather than the other way around.

Few people grasp just how much geospatial data is in the private and  
public sector, how valuable it is, how many people realize how  
valuable it is, and how most of it is effectively going unused  
because it exceeds the capacity of existing technology to aggregate,  
analyze, and search it.  Unleashing that data and those capabilities  
will have a profound effect that we really cannot imagine at this  
point.  Geospatial is a core data type of civilization and commerce,  
we've just never fully exploited it.

The geospatial market is not a personal crusade for me, and I really  
only became interested in the space when I discovered that it was a  
shiny hard problem, but I have enough intimate familiarity with the  
market that there is no way I could conceivably see the immediate  
opportunity as anything but enormous.  Predicated, of course, on  
solving the scaling issues.


J. Andrew Rogers

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