Lucas Scharenbroich
Lucas Scharenbroich, Technology Manager

On the very last day of 2014, we posted our thoughts on a few trends we thought we would see in GIS in 2015. We thought it would be interesting to take a look back and see where we were as an industry a year ago, how the next 12 months were shaping up, and what they actually brought.

Here are our predictions and what really happened.

(1) ArcGIS Pro will impress traditional desktop GIS users and they will transition to it for everyday use very quickly.

What happened: ArcGIS Pro is being adopted more slowly that we thought.  Users are not sure how ArcGIS Online and Portal fit into their current GIS systems and have been hesitant to jump in.  In response to this, Pro-Weset has been investing heavily on client training and outreach to inform everyone about how to make these new products work best for their organizations.

(2) Imagery will become even cheaper to acquire and faster to process. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are the clear driving force.

What happened: Drones are taking over! Fargo, ND has become a hotbed of drone research and we’re seen drones being rapidly applied to agriculture and imagery. Urban applications are starting to hit the mainstream as well.  This in one trend we don’t see slowing down. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/technology/a-silicon-valley-for-drones-in-north-dakota.html?_r=0

(3) Local governments using the ArcGIS platform will finally begin unleashing their data to the public thanks to https://opendata.arcgis.com/about. The results will be transformative.

What happened: Similar to (1), Open Data Portal has not been adopted as quickly as we anticipated.  Our clients that have made the leap are reaping the benefits and will provide solid case studies for others to follow.

(4) As JavaScript continues to approach the performance level of native code and WebGL support matures, more of the traditionally “heavy” analysis work will be performed by in-browser tools. Look for ArcGIS Online to rapidly increase the number of (paid) sophisticated tool offerings.

What happened: Solutions, not premium content, drove the growth of ArcGIS Online offerings in 2015, and that will probably continue into 2016. We did see three beta releases of the new ArcGIS JavaScript API that will bring long-awaited 3D GIS to the web in 2016 due to the maturation of WebGL and other supporting browser technologies. The JSAPI 4 release will open up many new and exciting opportunities in data visualization and interaction.

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