The Fresh Start that GeoDesign Offers

by Matt Ball on January 10, 2010

I’m working to synthesize all the ideas that were shared this past week in Redlands, Calif. at the first GeoDesign Summit. One pervading feeling that I have is that this new term, and definition of practice, provides an opportunity to be more inclusive. Currently, the term GIS is largely owned by one company, and the term of geospatial that was coined to be a broader take on the market in the mid-2000′s, is being abandoned. GeoDesign provides a new term that is inclusive of all aligned technologies and practitioners with the emphasis on actively shaping our planet to be a more livable and sustainable place.

The technology of CAD,BIM and GIS is converging, and there are battles going on about how to define and shape the convergence. With the concept of GeoDesign taking shape, it’s important now to engage all communities and technologists to have them define their stake and understanding. With barriers to different technologies coming down, there’s a huge amount of revenue at stake that will necessitate marketing skirmishes. It’s important for practitioners to work now to define and mold the concept so that technology can enable innovative collaborative workflows rather than erect new barriers for interoperability.

In the planning and design community GIS technology has only a shallow toe-hold in the work that’s being done. The idea of GeoDesign provides an opportunity for a whole new approach to assisting these practitioners for a more informed and participatory planning processes. The concept involves the evolution of the community plan or design into the nexus and repository for all ideas about the future of a location. The plan becomes a more organic place for interaction and collaboration that is enabled by technology.

GeoDesign acknowledges our current state of technological evolution. We’re at a crossroads now with geotechnology where greater visualization, interoperation, intuitive analysis and easier interfaces are needed. The different technological gaps that exist have been widely discussed and defined, leaving ample room for technologists to create new technologies and build new businesses and market segments to fill the gaps.

In order for practitioners to own this convergence, the time is now to participate in the definition in order to shape it.

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