What’s going to be big in GIS in 2024?

by | Feb 13, 2024

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have come a long way in revolutionising how we understand and interact with the world around us. From mapping and spatial analysis to data visualisation and decision-making, GIS has become an indispensable tool in various industries, including urban planning, environmental management, transportation, and healthcare.

As we look ahead to the future, it is clear that GIS will continue to play a crucial role in shaping our understanding of the world and guiding our decision-making processes. With advancements in technology and the increasing availability of spatial data, the potential for GIS applications is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Here we explore four aspects of GIS we can look forward to in 2024.

  • The Power of Spatial Data

In the world of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data collection and analysis have traditionally been complex and time-consuming processes, often requiring specialised knowledge and skills. This has limited the accessibility and usability of GIS tools to a select group of professionals.

However, with the advent of simplified data collection and analysis processes, GIS is becoming more accessible and user-friendly for all users. Thanks to technological advancements and user-centric design principles, individuals with little to no GIS background can now easily collect and analyse spatial data.

One example of simplified data collection is the use of mobile applications that allow users to capture location-based information using their smartphones or tablets. These apps provide intuitive interfaces and step-by-step guidance, making it simple for anyone to collect data in the field. Whether it’s marking the location of a tree, recording the condition of a road, or identifying a potential hazard, these apps streamline the data collection process and eliminate the need for specialised equipment or extensive training.

Add to this the growing availability of spatial data such as aerial and satellite imagery, open data (think free) from governments, Open Street Map as well as commercial GIS data sets provides people with a plethora of GIS data sets they can include in their analysis and mapping.

This democratisation of GIS through simplified data collection and a growing library of spatial data has opened up new possibilities for a wide range of users. Researchers, urban planners, environmentalists, and even everyday citizens can now harness the power of spatial data to make informed decisions, solve complex problems, and contribute to the betterment of their communities.

By removing barriers to entry and making GIS more accessible, the potential for innovation and collaboration in spatial data management is greatly expanded. As more people embrace these simplified processes, we can expect to see a wealth of new insights and solutions emerging from the democratisation of GIS.

  • Simplified models for GIS software

Traditional GIS models usually provide a basic set of functions and capabilities. If a user wants to extend their capacity to undertake further analysis or visualisation often requires the addition of extra software. This often comes with increased complexity and a greater financial cost for commercial options.

One of the main limitations of traditional licensing models is the upfront cost. Purchasing a licence for GIS software can be a significant investment, especially for smaller businesses or individuals. This upfront cost can act as a barrier to entry, preventing those with limited resources from accessing the necessary tools for their work.

This applies to both desktop GIS and enterprise solutions where users are confronted with a myriad of applications and modules to manage or expand their GIS capabilities across their organisation. This can create headaches for IT and GIS staff in managing the software and the flow of data through their organisation.

For any system to work effectively requires all these moving parts to work in unison, because if module breaks, the system will break. This is no different for GIS systems, as pressure points are created when multiple modules are involved and issues such as version control and compatibility with underlying operating systems are constantly being updated.

GIS users who want desktop solutions which provide the traditional functionality as well as raster and 3D starting to realise the advantages when one application provides this. Then can gain the benefits of full flexibility to meet their visualisation and analysis outcomes, without having to consider a modular approach.

Similarly organisations that are after GIS enterprise solutions are keen to look at applications that have efficient architecture that can easily integrate into their IT environments.

  • Climate change – more than risk management

Amidst the challenges posed by climate change, GIS continues to play a vital role in identifying vulnerable areas and assessing potential impacts. By merging map data with sophisticated analytical tools, GIS offers a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between climate change and geographic locations.

Typically, attention has been on communities and environments directly impacted or prone to flooding, wildfires, or severe weather events. However, this focus is now broadening to encompass future planning for housing and infrastructure development, as well as environmental mitigation.

Data sources including satellite imagery, meteorological data, elevation models, and environmental overlays are being enriched with information on population demographics, infrastructure, ecosystem distributions, and vulnerable populations.

Through combining these diverse datasets, GIS aids in identifying high-risk areas and evaluating the potential impacts on human settlements, agriculture, natural resources, and biodiversity. Decision-makers gain the ability to visualise and understand spatial relationships which facilitates evidence-based planning and policymaking.

GIS serves as a collaborative platform, fostering data exchange among governments, organisations, communities, and stakeholders. This collaborative framework enables the implementation of targeted mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as the prioritisation of resources to address future climate-related challenges.

  • Land use analysis – Under Anthony Albanese’s housing plan, 1 million new homes will be built, where is the land coming from?

The significance of GIS data in analysing land use cannot be overstated, especially in the context of Anthony Albanese’s housing plan. By utilising spatial data, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the current state of land use, identify areas of potential development, and assess the impact of proposed housing initiatives.

GIS can provide valuable insights into a wide range of factors such as population density, areas of high housing demand or underutilised land, transportation infrastructure, environmental considerations, and socio-economic indicators that influence land use decisions. This helps in making informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources, development strategies, and the implementation of housing policies.

Simply, by analysing this data, policymakers and urban planners can make informed choices that align with the goals and objectives of Anthony Albanese’s housing plan.

Moreover, GIS technology provides a dynamic platform for scenario planning and impact assessment. Stakeholders can simulate different land use scenarios, evaluate their potential impacts, and assess the effectiveness of proposed housing interventions. This data-driven approach aids in identifying strategies to maximise the potential of land use and to address these housing challenges.

Through visualisation, GIS technology facilitates effective communication and collaboration among the stakeholders. Succinctly, it provides a common visual language for all parties to understand and discuss land use patterns more efficiently. This collaborative approach ensures that the housing plan is holistic, inclusive, and aligned with the needs and aspirations of the community.

Simply if 1 million homes are to be built and how can you not use GIS?

The world of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the trends is crucial for professionals in this field and as we look towards 2024, we are excited to see how these trends unfold and the exciting possibilities they bring to the world of GIS. Stay curious, stay innovative, and keep mapping the future!