When looking at all the coming changes to the geospatial technology tools and inputs that are emerging and immediately over the horizon, there's a mixed feeling of excitement and trepidation. How will all of these new data-collection platforms, workflows and analytics impact the world of today's practitioners as well as the vendor community?
Given all the converging technologies and explosion in remote sensing, we appear to be on the cusp of a revolution that vanquishes what we've come to know. The new paradigm of constant connection, automated workflows, and Big Data analytics is a leap from the past with abilities for real-time insight and more-quantified understanding. This change induces a need for action or at least reaction. How are you responding?
Propensity to be Paralyzed
What was previously an industry of collected and stored insight spoke to an old power paradigm that's fading fast. Even the geospatial intelligence community, which has been forced to be closed due to its secretive mission, recognized that it needs to embrace openness and accessibility as insight is best achieved when harnessing expertise wherever it can be found.
It's human nature to resist change, particularly when it forces such a polar shift from closed to open. With this great change, there's need for individuals and organizations to take greater risks to reap subsequent rewards. This isn't a comfortable position, as the industry must continue to execute on what worked while setting the groundwork for what can come.
Coiled and Counting Down
The rise of digital technologies (online, mobile, social) has been a springboard for greater access to geospatial insight, and it has buoyed the industry for more than a decade. There are now broad technological themes that again cross over the purpose and even the very meaning of a map. Cloud computing, inexpensive and ubiquitous sensors, and augmented reality all are set to elevate the importance of our industry and collectively are the force that will transform it.
Given all this change, there's increased activity at industry events, a growing number of online learning outlets, and new vendor collaborations to deal with the transformation. There are alignments around new and more-dynamic information streams, new means to aid quantification, and increased ability to create contextual and custom applications.
The clamor for knowledge and training takes several forms. At the organizational level, the players are examining offerings and looking to get in on new opportunities with simplified solutions that embrace new platforms. At the individual level, it's time to look at skills and knowledge sets to be poised for change and take advantage of opportunities that arise when new players engage and need an understanding that seasoned professionals can provide.
As a media company, we're familiar with disruptive change. The advancement of online and social-media offerings has been a major disruption. We've lived through sweeping changes regarding how people access and ingest information as well as eroding support as marketers chase the latest platforms.
In light of what's transpired, it's gratifying to note that the role of a publication to cut through the clutter, and provide insight and direction in the face of change, is in resurgence. It's at such times that we earn our value”providing a beacon for those who need to navigate and a sounding board for those who can show the way.
This issue marks a new era for Earth Imaging Journal, with a more-modern look and an expanded mission that encompasses the proliferation of sensors and the means for enhanced insight. We intend to elevate the problem-solving expertise of our readership through more diverse and regular columnists as well as application stories that speak to overcoming business challenges with improved insight.
You'll notice a new look to the magazine that offers a more-readable format. There's also a dedicated news page to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and there will be a regular application story about these up-and-coming platforms. In addition, we plan to continue highlighting a sensing challenge (see page 36) that aims to connect those seeking answers to the resource that is our readership.
Here at EIJ, we're embracing change with an increasing array of access points that soon will include a mobile application that makes our content more accessible. Our philosophy is not to replace the print edition you may now hold in your hands, but expand options to access our content in any form you see fit.
As we navigate this time of change and accelerated innovation, we hope to elevate the applications and practice of making sense of sensor inputs.
Matt Ball is founder and editorial director at V1 Media; e-mail: [email protected].