Yesterday there was an interesting article posted in the NY Times Business Day section about a sharp scientist and entrepreneur named Gilan Elbaz and his company Factual.
In layman's terms Factual can be described as a data warehouse. A real BIG data warehouse. But beyond being just a big storage bucket in the cloud, Factual applies quality values against the data and puts it into context.
The real message here is that Factual is structuring it's data holdings to accommodate and enhance automated spatial analysis and reasoning. The goal is that highly intelligent software systems, acting against quality data, will perform much of the same complex spatial analysis and decision support operations that human GIS analysts currently do with desktop applications like ArcGIS.
In the future - and the future isn't too far off - high end software packages like ArcGIS will be nothing more than embedded applications in larger, highly intellegent software systems. Think I'm joking? Ever heard of ArcObjects?
So, can you read the writing on the wall? Can you hear me stomping my foot on the floor? Do you get the hint?
If you are a GIS 'professional' and you describe yourself and your role in an organization in relation to the software you use you are a dinosaur, and you are headed for extinction.
The Geospatial professional needs to be a complex problem solver, not a software jockey.
Adapt or die.