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Predictions for the GIS Industry in 2019: Opportunities, Technologies and Students

With 2018 now behind us, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how the past year has shaped us, as well as some of the accomplishments that USC students have made. From the popular Women in GIS workshop hosted by alumna Kelly Wright to looking at the GIS achievements of our active and former servicemembers, there was a lot to be proud of in 2018.
predictions for the gis industry
Of course, it’s hard to think about the past year without also looking toward the future, and 2019 is poised to be an exciting year for GIS— driven in part by availability of more spatial data, the GIS solutions market is on track to reach $17.5 billion by 2023. We wanted to look more closely at the industry to understand the key GIS industry trends for 2019, so we asked several Spatial Sciences Institute professors which innovations they’re expecting to take shape over the next year.

Read their responses below to learn more about which innovations in GIS to keep an eye on, as well as how GIS students can take advantage of these opportunities.


GIS Trends in 2019 to Watch

Yao-Yi Chiang
Yao-Yi Chiang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor (Research)
USC Spatial Sciences Institute

Q: What trends in GIS and opportunities do you expect to take shape in 2019?

“Since the past few years, the GIS community has been experiencing revolutionary changes in the ways of collecting, processing, analyzing, and visualizing spatiotemporal data, especially GIS data of large volume, high speed, and huge varieties.”

Q: How can GIS students start taking advantage or get involved in these opportunities?

“I recommend GIS students to learn the fundamental knowledge and tools of spatial computing, including basic program skills (e.g., Python), spatial databases (e.g., PostGIS), big data tools (e.g., Spark), as well as to be familiar with machine learning tools for data automation and analysis.”

Steven D. Fleming
Steven D. Fleming
Professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences
USC Spatial Sciences Institute

Q: What trends in GIS and opportunities do you expect to take shape in 2019?

“The trends appear to point towards continued rapid integration of 3D visualization tools and modeling/simulation integration functions. Over time, VR/AR/MR will be further integrated. All of these will likely be accomplished with advances of AI/ML in order to efficiently manage ‘richly’ populated geospatial data sets.”

Q: How can GIS students start taking advantage or get involved in these opportunities?

“GIS students should continue to remain vigilant in active and purposeful learning/application of computer science/GIS technologies. The fast-moving and dynamic discipline requires self-motivation to keep up with rapid change in producing valuable geospatial decision analysis and tools to organizational decision makers.”

Elisabeth J. Sedano
Elisabeth J. Sedano, J.D., Ph.D.
Lecturer
USC Spatial Sciences Institute

Q: What trends in GIS and opportunities do you expect to take shape in 2019?

“A developing aspect of today’s GIS applications is their availability online and accessibility to beginning users. Coupled with the trend of governments sharing public data, students can begin exploring open data and working with it in a web GIS platform immediately.”

Q: How can GIS students start taking advantage or get involved in these opportunities?

“I highly recommend that any GIS student become familiar with open data platforms within their areas of interest and take initiative in pursuing projects that they care about.”

Andrew J. Marx
Andrew J. Marx
Associate Professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences
USC Spatial Sciences Institute

Q: What trends in GIS and opportunities do you expect to take shape in 2019?

“We’re seeing renewed interest in remote sensing – specifically drones or UAS (unmanned autonomous systems). While the imagery that you can produce from such an inexpensive platform like a quadcopter is impressive, it’s the 3D models, landcover classifications and change detection algorithms from this imagery that is revolutionizing areas like GIS for real estate, emergency management and national security, and agriculture.”

Q: How can GIS students start taking advantage or get involved in these opportunities?

“While SSI is increasing the courses offered in remote sensing and adding the use of drones in classes like 587, one of the best ways to get started is to just get a drone and start working with it. They’re relatively inexpensive and companies like DroneDeploy that offer free ways to process the data for students.”


About USC’s Online GIS Graduate Programs

The University of Southern California offers a comprehensive selection of online GIS programs, including GIST master’s degrees and graduate certificates. This gives our students the ultimate flexibility in tailoring their education for their career goals. Click on the programs below to learn about our leading geographic information science education.

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