IDC Reveals Radical Changes in Spatial Information Management That Will Impact Most IT Companies

FRAMINGHAM, MA – DECEMBER 8, 2005 – According to a newly published IDC study, the spatial information management (SIM) industry has experienced sweeping changes over the last 18 months, involving fundamental shifts in platforms, vendors, and users. The study, which presents IDC's five-year forecast and 2004 vendor shares for the spatial information management industry, finds that spatial information management has transformed from a specialist application to a technology with broad relevance within many IT ecosystems.

"From enterprise areas like master data management to Google Maps, SIM technology is becoming pervasive," said David Sonnen, IDC's consultant for spatial information management. "Most IT companies and users will be affected to some degree by this change."

Fundamental shifts in the spatial information management industry include basic changes in the nature of geospatial work, and transitions in the broad IT environment toward easier integration and support for business processes.

The study finds that geospatial data, and not the map, has become the raw resource for creating location-specific information. Therefore, efforts to convert paper maps to digital data have been replaced as geospatial data is used to generate new maps, decisions, and automated processes.

The study, which separates technology categories from market segments, reveals that geospatial capabilities will have to be tightly integrated into applications as those capabilities are needed, and that geospatial capabilities must increasingly be managed as part of secure, adaptable information systems. It also finds that information will be managed and accessed within service-oriented or event-based architectures and standards-based integration platforms. This standards-based environment will allow information systems to freely exchange data and business logic to create information that supports dynamic business processes in real-time.

"The SIM user base increasingly includes a broad range of enterprise users, developers and consumers. In 2004, the packaged SIM software market reached $1.99 billion, representing a growth rate of 5.9%," added Sonnen. "Now, vendors like Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft are carving out their own SIM niches and IT infrastructure vendors like Oracle and IBM are establishing SIM capabilities within their enterprise solutions platforms (ESPs)."

The study, Worldwide Spatial Information Management 2005-2009 Forecast and 2004 Vendor Shares (IDC #34321), addresses the radical changes in spatial information management (SIM) technology that have occurred in the past 18 months. SIM's migration from a specialty technology to a broad enterprise resource poses both threats and opportunities for geospatial, IT infrastructure, Internet, and business analytics vendors. The study provides the 2005-2009 forecast and 2004 vendor shares for the worldwide SIM market. Also provided is analysis of SIM technology categories, market segments, and vendor performance, along with essential guidance for vendors. The study examines five spatial information management technology categories: geographic information systems (GIS) technologies, geospatial IT enabling technologies, geolocation technologies, spatially enabled information infrastructure, and data, which surrounds and engages all technology areas. The study analyzes three SIM market segments: GIS, enterprise location services and software, and personal use.

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