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Stevie Wonder, Big Data and the Geospatial Industry

Who remembers Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere, or Steveland Judkins? But Cher and Stevie Wonder are names etched in our musical memory. Of course they are the same people, but courtesy of a name makeover. What we call ourselves, and what others call us, is important. We see this all the time in job titles which often define who we are and what we do.

I was making that point in London last week when chairing Geoinsurance2014. I reminded the international audience that whatever we call ourselves as an industry – geospatial, geolocation, location intelligence etc. – the topic is increasingly moving away from it being a niche industry , but rather forming part of the increasingly-mainstream Data and Analytics movement.

Whilst previously it might have been a struggle to convince executives of the power of 'location', we now see that executives everywhere, and in all industries, increasingly understand the power of analytics, of which 'location' is a vital subset of data. According to a global survey, 80% of business leaders see the potential for competitive advantage in the effective use of data, and two thirds have already started programmes.

Location information forms a key part of the Big Data mix. The distinct technologies for extracting value from location details demands focussed attention and particular skills. But with the geo-industry now being part of a larger Big Data agenda, with greater momentum, how long will it be before, as a profession, we start to see ourselves differently?

And I wonder – will new job titles emerge? Maybe 'Big Data Location Analyst' for example?