Ninety Percent of the World’s Data Has Been Generated Over the Last Two Years

Tucked into a company blog post about Smart Cities was this statement that caught my eye.

Ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated over the last two years.

Unlike the “80% of Data is Spatial” I have to admit this is totally believable and I can find the source. Most of this data is pure junk but the biggest problem with it is that it is literally unsearchable. Even in the age of Google, we can’t even begin to start aggregating this data and sorting through it.

On the BLM GPM projected that I was part of at AECOM/URS, we teamed with Voyager to attempt to find all their spatial data and share it. The good news is that I hear the BLM Navigator will be rolling out soon so at least we can know that the BLM is indexing their data and attempting to share it. But that is one organization out of billions.

This unaccounted for data is unable to be leveraged by users and becomes wasted. We all know GIS is great for making informed decisions about just about anything, yet we are most likely uninformed ourselves because the data just doesn’t happen to be at our fingertips. We’re a society that loves to create data, but not one that likes to organize data. If we’re truly going to change the world with GIS, we need to make sure we have all the information available to do so. Smart Cities, GeoDesign and all the rest are big data use cases. Let’s figure out how to start pumping them full of it.


SpatialTau v2.3 – GIS Agility

SpatialTau is my weekly newsletter that goes out every Wednesday. The archive shows up in my blog a month after the newsletter is published. If you’d like to subscribe, please do so here.

Work in the spatial field long enough and you’ll reinvent yourself over and over again.  I’ve been cleaning up my old blog and it is amazing to me to see how much .NET/VB6/Oracle I used to do.  Heck I used to be a big proponent of GeoDesign but not so much anymore.  I remember the first GeoDesign Summit as a good time but the latest pictures from 2015 seem to show things have changed.

A lot of what we experience clearly affects how we approach our work as we move along in life.  All that fighting ArcSDE has helped me approach PostGIS better.  All that fighting the Esri WebADF has helped me work with Node.js better.  All that expended capital on GeoDesign has taught me not to be involved with company sponsored community efforts.  None of it is lost though, it all helps built the future as to what Spatial IT becomes.

The news that Google is shutting down Google Maps Engine definitely caught people’s attention.  But Google Maps API continues on and working with maps doesn’t really change.  All that capital spent working with Google Maps Engine can just be rolled into the Google cloud platform easily and off you go.  Years ago such an announcement would have had people jumping off the cliff but it’s just how applications work these days.

Being a GIS developer (whatever that is) has been a crazy ride.  Every year you learn new languages, new libraries, new server technologies.  That’s why I feel like we’re so lucky to be working in this space.  The past year has been Node.js and Angular.js while this year is shaping up to be React and Go.  It’s that change that is exciting, fresh and keeps us all working hard.  Let the good times roll!