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Dirk Gorter, Director of Product Management, Esri Leverage the power of Web GIS Traditional GIS users are empowered with rich content and processing, but a whole new class of apps is making all this information more useful and timely to the users. These apps allow users to integrate, visualize, and ana- lyze geospatial data of all types. All this comes together to extend the traditional role of GIS as not only the system of record, but also as the system of engagement, providing the basis for understanding, communicating, and collaborating across the organization and beyond. The apps in a Web GIS range from rich desktop apps to browser-based Web apps to native mobile apps. The apps world has moved to using focused apps for specific tasks. Mobile apps are a good fit for people collecting data out in the field. They need apps that work well, either connected or disconnected from the network, and that take advantage of increasingly sophisticated hardware devices, such as GPS, graphics processing units (GPU) and cameras. Other users need to do advanced ad hoc work with local data and CPU-intensive processing — a great fit for desktop apps. And then, there are users who rely on a continuously connected environment and need focused apps that can be configured for their audience. App revolution is changing every industry It allows professionals to move beyond their desktops and enables many more people to leverage the critical information inside their GIS. This revolution is also ob- viously changing the way software is licensed. With the new licensing, many of the apps can be shared across the organization and beyond, extending the reach of Web GIS to millions of people without additional licensing. Having everyone always connected to the same authoritative data enables smooth coordination between the field and the office, avoiding the version control issues that can arise with paper-based workflows. Ubiquitous availability and ease of use Challenges traditional licensing system People like ‘apps’ because they are available anywhere and because they provide ease of use for specific tasks. In our industry, the days of generic one-size-fits all GIS applications are over. Industry players that can offer flexible deployment options and a high usability on focused tasks will thrive. Our approach to this is flexible software components for quickly building dedicated apps, and an agile approach in line with Gartner’s “API economy” philosophy. For instance, we see a strong movement toward cross-platform Web apps, exploit- ing HTML5 and WebGL technologies. But Web is not the only deployment option. Microsoft has invested in getting Windows 10 on mobile devices such as the Microsoft Surface 3 tablet. This brings desktop applica- tions, like LuciadLightspeed, to the mobile market, for example, for use in Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs). We believe this will be a big game changer for our industry. For very high-end applications, virtualization and GPU in the Cloud offer interesting deployment options. The expectation of ubiquitous availability on any device challenges traditional licensing. New business models pop up every day. The only possible answer by our industry is flexibility to adapt to those business mod- els. For instance, users increasingly expect free apps and are only will- ing to pay for premium services that offer more capabilities, or better data sources. We see the industry moving toward Cloud-hosted apps with free and subscription-based licensing schemes. The landscape is scat- tered, and apps should really be interoperable. That is why we invest so much in standardization via participation in OGC and other organizations. Frank Suykens, Chief Technology Officer, Luciad Geospatial World • January 2016 • 53