Web GIS also provides a new pattern for integration.  Traditionally, GIS was all about the geodatabase; we very carefully integrated all of our data into the geodatabase.  That’s really important work, and most of you have done that kind of work.  But web GIS represents a fundamentally different pattern.  It means that we can integrate things dynamically from distributed services, using web services and web maps.  And this enables a more flexible and more agile approach.

Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating  new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches.

Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating
new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches.

Another intriguing aspect of web GIS is that it breaks down the fundamental barriers that separate organizations.  Whether the silos are departmental or organizational, the ability of the web GIS environment to fluidly integrate different disciplines and different activities gives us a new framework for collaboration.

Web GIS has one other interesting ingredient: it can help us organize our work.  It provides content management capabilities for all of your maps, apps, and models, and also it simplifies the sharing these within a group or across departments and organizations.


Driving the Transformation

Web GIS is a very attractive framework that can help us to scale up our work, our knowledge, and our understanding.  From what I am seeing today out there in the GIS community, web GIS has already started to fundamentally transform how people and organizations work.  And who’s leading this transformation?

You are.

You understand the technology.  You are embracing these patterns.  You are sharing your work and your knowledge.  You are driving this transformation of the way we work, and in the process you are transforming our understanding of the world around us.

When you put all of this together, you begin to realize that we suddenly have a totally different kind of GIS.  But this isn’t just a more simplified approach to mapping–it’s a change in how we leverage geographic information.  This change isn’t happening from some outside influence–it’s being driven from within organizations like yours.  Because of this, GIS professionals are essential to making this happen.  In my mind, there has never been a more exciting time to be a GIS professional.