Over the years GIS is developing rapidly. Hardware is becoming cheaper and the quality is improving day by day. Now mobile computing attached with GPS is in great demand. In GIS software field, the focus is on standardisation of the already available softwares.
Dr. David J. Maguire
Director, Product Planning, ESRI, Inc.
- What are the trends in global GIS?
Over the years GIS is developing rapidly. Hardware is becoming cheaper and the quality is improving day by day. Now mobile computing attached with GPS is in great demand. In GIS software field, the focus is on standardisation of the already available softwares. Two major fields for improvements include desktop GIS models running on Windows environment and internet distribution models based on Java technology.
- What role GIS has in the evolution of Geographic Information Sciences?
GIS is still very important and it is required in the evolution of Geographic Information Sciences. It is based on fundamental scientific principles developed in the environment of GIS. In Geographic Information Sciences, the data structure is similar to GIS but classical statistical methods and other scientific methods have been developed to make modelling easier and user friendly, which helps in understanding the quality of results obtained, the errors and the provenance of data. In fact, GIS is a tool towards improving Geographic Information Sciences.
- What do you feel about MapPoint?
MapPoint is indeed good but is mainly meant for usage at lower level of GIS. However, it will help to create awareness at larger size of professionals and will bring in a map culture among common man.
- Tell us something about ESRI’s new product ArcInfo 8. What changes ArcInfo 8 will bring to the market?
It has a new strategy of storing database. It is task oriented and can be used for modellings by overlaying several data layers. The editing is more task oriented and user oriented. In short it is component-based software models. ArcInfo 8 will revolutionise the market and set new standards for mapping technologies. Usability of GIS will spread and storage and retrieval of data will be easier. ArcInfo 8 is a landmark development and it builds a platform for a new and better versions for enhancing Geographic Information Sciences and other geo-stastical analysis. It is an easy to use, modern, fast, functionally rich GIS solution.
- Do you feel that GIS softwares are reasonably priced?
No. However, prices have been substantially reduced with the introduction of different software and the trend will continue with the coming of internet into the picture.
- What is ESRI’s strategy for South Asian region? Are you looking for any specific segment in the market?
The scope of improvement of GIS in South Asia is enormous. Hence, we have a top-level commitment for improving GIS in the region. Countries like India, Singapore, Thailand, etc. are proving to be the major players of GIS in the region. In this region, GIS is in its early stages of development hence the main aim is to spread awareness and demonstrate the products so that they are more widely available. For the promotion of the products several seminars along with user-conferences are conducted and planned.
ESRI has about 25 different user segments like municipalities, universities, natural resource management, etc. Out of the few burgeoning areas coming up are military, telecom, etc.
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of adopting GIS technology in South Asia?
The strength of the region is the quality of the people in terms of technical literacy. IT infrastructure is also somewhat comparable to any other developed country. However, the major weaknesses are economy and poverty. The region lacks basic infrastructure for development which restricts the actual development of GIS in the region.
- How can media help in expansion of GIS?
Media plays a very important role in expanding the role of GIS in the society. It helps to spread about the capabilities of GIS technolgy and its various applications for the society. It encourages people to think geographically and also provides information of the organisations playing important role in the field.