The subject to comment today is the Web GIS. For the 'uninitiated', it could simply be translated as 'GIS on the Web', but what does this really mean? What are its scope? Why 'has many possibilities of application' as stated in the title of this post?
There are five reasons given by Eric van Rees in his articulo, to demonstrate (and convince us) that the Web GIS is currently the evolution of that 'old school' GIS concept; and, moreover, that this change involves Variaciones not only in the form of the how to work the GIS but also what requirements it must have in order to complement the use of geospatial technology.
It would also be valid to ask if we are updated on this topic, as we suppose we should be, we know or we can project ourselves to intuit what will be the future of the Web GIS as such.
GIS is more than Cartography, initially postulates the author, and then states that "a map is no longer the ultimate goal of the work, but rather can be the starting point of a later and broader analysis." This conception of the map as 'a part of the puzzle' leads us to an approach based on the development of projects of which GIS would be a more working tool. What kind of projects? Apparently, from different and years ago unimaginable areas as we will refer later.
And is that GIS as such has definitely gone to the majors from those distant end of the 60's when it saw the light. With each new decade the change was strengthened: of knowledge "Where is what", Merely descriptive; to know both the "What and why "of an approach in which something is prescribed or determined with clarity and accuracy, which sets a stage for completely new geospatial tools and concepts.
GIS now requires 'collaboration'. In this evolutionary change, the author postulates again, individual work is relegated. But it would be worth stopping at this point because he says that for the GIS desk work 'of old' either a 'skilled cartographer' or a 'GIS analyst' was required. This already gives us the thread in the discussion about the following post to comment that is about the surveys and the works in GIS. It would be interesting here to ask (just as an advance) in which of the decades of evolution of GIS we are currently working in each of our countries... I better leave it here because we deviate from the main theme.
Van Rees states that "today, GIS workers need to collaborate with other GIS users while they are in charge simultaneously of cartographic projects ". Here we highlight the word 'simultaneity'. This sort of 'multi-tasking' level project in which definitely a single person does not could (note the conditional) perform the complete work in full. This is very logical. Simply because the boundaries of the conventional use of GIS have been expanded, greater knowledge is required in diverse subjects. The author is emphatic: "This shows that GIS technology is becoming an industry less and less exclusive (less than niche, if we translate it literally)."
The current GIS is focused on communities. This new statement correlates with what has been expressed previously. Reference was made to an environment of simultaneity in which different themes are dealt with and also of the new environment in which scenarios are established in which new tools and concepts are accommodated. Well, how many more? The author tells us that "with more and more geospatial technology available, it is imposible learn every tool present in the market "and advises," it is better specialize and focus in a set of themes or applications and take part in the community that represents them. "
This is equally reasonable. Unaware that the information is constantly updated, that what we know today will be in a time almost-almost obsolete in fact, de-updated. This is the permanent 'update' that each professional must assume as a challenge to continue 'in the race'. The information is on the Internet and we need time and maybe neurons necessary to cover everything. The reality is that we can not. That's why we mention the collaboration initiatives GitHub, GeoNet, GIS StackExchange and other tools like ArcGIS Hub, which we now mention while noting that the author alludes more than all ESRI products ... Well, suspicions aside, we agree with his reasoning.
Programming and GIS are now inseparable. We come to one of the 'core' postulates of the analysis. Maybe we should have used the literal translation 'elbow'(we already know where we're going, right?) Although Van Rees notes that, "the programming languages are not intended to replace but rather to expand the geospatial technology", it is clear that there would be no other way to make the leap from the 'map - geospatial analysis' to the current Web Service without 'elbow' through. And in the first place he talks about the ArcPy, then the new API for ArcGIS, mentioning the SciPy Stack in passing ... Libraries and packages based on Python! (Pitoneros ... Present!) And note that we have already commented about prioritizing learning in Python.
Desktop GIS has become part of the Web GIS. Beginning with an allusion to Google Maps for the 2005 year and although Google, as the author points out, focused more on the consumer market than on the professional geospatial, the so-called "GIS industry" was able to learn valuable lessons from Google's work.
Now, what do we properly refer to as the "GIS industry" or "geospatial industry"? Is it correct to say that any field / domain that uses spatial information and maps is part of the geospatial industry?
That's right, indeed. We are talking about cars, connected bicycles, UAVs, augmented reality, that is, all those technologies that have spatial data and maps, both internal and conventional, as one of their main data sources. Something really exciting and revealing.
What was learned? It was learned that those technologies could be integrated to allow the evolution of geospatial technology. Specifically the use of mobile, cloud programming, analysis of the big data, data science as well as business intelligence, all resulting in a cloud infrastructure that is inextricably linked to the uses of GIS locally. In this way, it exemplifies the author, you can access GIS components in the cloud through a web browser, and perform geospatial analysis using Python.
This analysis is only the beginning of further discussions. In the inkwell are the GIS in the cloud, but especially the WebGIS in the future. That 'intelligent' future where the WebGIS is much more integrated to daily life in that future of 'smart cities' that many already envision and towards which we must be prepared to take part.