Friday, November 26, 2010

Data providers make imagery access easy

I travelled down to GEOINT 2010 in New Orleans earlier this month - a fantastic event. If you're in 'geospatial' you needed to be there.

The symposium had plenty of discussion on open source GEOINT, geo-apps, emerging sensors and platforms, warfighter feedback, increased focus on human geography and lots of other topics. However, just like GEOINT Tech Days earlier this year something in the crowd has changed yet again. This time not only have both military and commercial organizations taken the lead in evangelizing standards-based online services like WMS, WFS - they've gone ahead and deployed some of the most powerful web mapping services ever seen. The result is easy, nearly instant access to an unprecedented amount of imagery.

This struck me especially strongly since I ran the first GEOINT interop demo in 2004 when some established vendors said access via open standard mapping services was a 'smoke & mirrors' trick. They were wrong - and boy did GEOINT 2010 prove it.

What's next? I'd say users will want even more 'easy access' interoperable geospatial services - and new apps to use them. In addition, seamless integration between partners, civilian, federal and international agencies are capabilities users will likely want more of as part of open source GEOINT - plus the ability to use cloud-based services to contribute and validate crowd-sourced updates. It's also likely they'll benefit from the speed, power and collaboration capabilities of new services like WMTS - the open standard for fast web mapping being advanced by folks like the OGC wizards at CubeWerx.

One thing is certain - once users get a taste of easy access the GEOINT world will never be the same.


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