Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Cloud technologies: The silver lining for GIS?

As a Gold sponsor at this year’s GeoCommunity, my company Atkins gets not only a platform to engage with existing and new clients, but an opportunity to support the AGI and the work it does. One of the other benefits of Gold sponsorship is the opportunity to give a presentation, and this year that duty has fallen to me.

The big question for me was what to talk about? Sure, I could talk about the various products and services Atkins can provide to help clients make better informed decisions, or the latest 3D mapping technology, earthmine™, which has the potential to change how street level data is collected and analysed. But what I really want to do is invoke some debate and discussion around Cloud technologies and their relevance, or not(!), within the geospatial world – does this “technological” Cloud have a silver lining if you will...

It seems these days you can’t venture near a computer without having “the Cloud” thrust in your face! It is a minefield of terminology – are you looking at PaaS, SaaS, IaaS, NaaS? Is it a Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Community Cloud, Distributed Cloud, or even a Hybrid Cloud? The choices and combinations are seemingly endless, and to the vast majority of us - meaningless. My Dad certainly has no idea what any of this means, yet his online activity is powered by it. For me that is the fundamental principle of the Cloud - it enables people (including my Dad) to get stuff done!

This leaves me pondering the question; are Cloud technologies disruptive enough that they will fundamentally change the way we work with spatial information, or is it simply the same old thing wrapped up in new terminology? I certainly have a view that I will share on Tuesday at 12:15 so if you are at GeoCommunity please come along and engage in the debate or leave a comment here.

By: Colin Henderson, Principal GIS Consultant, Atkins 

No comments:

Post a Comment