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SpatialTau - GIS as a Service 2021

OK, before I get too much into this, yes GIS as a Service exits today. There are plenty of products from plenty of companies that do this, from HERE (where I am employed) to EsriCarto and many others. These services, while amazing in their breath and abilty to help distribute data, fail miserably as a true GIS service.
At HERE, I am much more involved with GIS than I have been the past 5+ years which is exciting. I’ve gotten access to the best services from Esri and others and seeing how they work. But all still require a desktop application to perform true GIS analysis. Even Safe Software with their cloud service still requires FME Desktop to create workspaces. As I’ve worked to clean up GeoJSON-Ballparks I’ve struggled to work with QGIS. Not so much in the sense I don’t understand it, I just really have begun to hate the complexity of these applications for normal use.
I tweeted about this and many people DM’d me to say that I’m wrong. Desktop GIS is needed or even required for what people are doing. Look, I don’t disagree. I will always assume that complex, bulky, and difficult to use GIS tools are needed because that is what the profession requires for deep analysis. But that is so long tail and not an area I see myself working in. Now of course ArcGIS Online and Carto do perform basic GIS processes. Heck they can even do complex routing and data analysis. I know this because at HERE we specialize in these sort of applications.
What I would love to have access to is ArcGIS Pro Basic as a cloud service. Run it in an Electron app is you must. But give me that basic capability and I’ll run with it. Or even better, make Safe FME Cloud have the capability to create workspaces and I’ll use FME as my engine (actually Dale, when you read this let me know when I can beta test such a service). A web-based FME cloud data pipelines, analysis and flows would tick so many boxes in my workflow. How do I make this happen? Kickstarter?
I can wish...
I can wish...
I’m looking at my computer right now and there are probably 3 apps I use that aren’t web based anymore. As was pointed out to me, I’m basically saying I want to live with a Google Chromebook and I would say ABSOLUTELY except the hardware is so bad. I’m happy to run Chrome on my MacBook Pro and get all the benefits.
It is 2021 for pete’s sake. Now I will say I hadn’t seen/used ArcGIS Online since 2015 and it has grown so much that I hardly recognize it anymore. But damn, wouldn’t it have been nice if they took the effort to create ArcGIS Pro and put it into a cloud based GIS system that runs anywhere? Leave ArcGIS Desktop for those who couldn’t make the jump. That’s my selfish opinion at least.
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James Fee
James Fee @jamesmfee

Spatial, workflows and technology

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