Hearty Growth Projected for GIS

Worldwide spending by non-cyclical industries such as electric power, and oil and gas distribution, will help drive the market for Geospatial Information Systems, study says.

The global market for Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) is forecast to grow by 50 percent over the next five years, representing  a compound annual growth rate of  9.3 percent, according to a recent study by ARC Advisory Group Inc. (www.arcweb.com), Dedham, Mass.

GIS market revenues will be driven in the near future by continued worldwide spending in non-cyclical industries such as electric power, oil and gas distribution, and divisions of federal governments, ARC said. Smart Grid initiatives, in particular, are expected to help drive GIS spending by the U.S. electric power industry.

Growth in the mid to latter years of the forecast period will be driven by increased adoption of GIS in emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; and a return to spending in North America and Europe by industries hardest hit by the global economic downturn.

Many publicly traded enterprise software suppliers external to the GIS market have already reported substantial reductions in 2009 revenues.  “However, GIS software differs from other enterprise software markets due to the extensive sales to businesses in non-cyclical sectors such as utilities and government. Therefore, the economic downturn’s effect on the GIS market is expected to be subdued in comparison to the downturn’s effect on other enterprise software markets,” said Clint Reiser, ARC enterprise software analyst, and principal author of the study, titled “Geospatial Information Systems Worldwide Outlook.”

GIS for Smart Grid   

The transmission and distribution operations of the electric power industry have adopted GIS solutions as the standard platform technology for the management of their networks, according to ARC. GIS sales to this industry are predicted to experience above-average growth due to the expansion and ongoing management of electric power infrastructure in emerging economies and increased investment resulting from the Smart Grid initiative in the United States.

The Smart Grid initiative will introduce distributed generation and new devices into the electric power grid. This will require substantial network reengineering, ARC observed. GIS is the likely technology to be used for the design, analysis and ongoing management of the new network configuration. These evolving requirements are expected to increase the level of GIS adoption, upgrade and modification within the electric power industry.

Transformational potential

The deployment of GIS server solutions, or “Enterprise GIS,” has grown considerably over the last decade. As a result, GIS has become accessible to numerous employees across organizations in sectors such as government and utilities. Over the same period, mobile GIS has become more prevalent and shows promise for increased adoption in network design and maintenance functions.  

More recently, the use of Web services and cloud computing have become emerging trends within the industry. Spatial analysis capabilities in conjunction with customer demographic data and other general data sets are already being delivered to the market through the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The continuing adoption of mobile GIS, the SaaS delivery model, and other forms of cloud computing have great potential to transform and expand segments of the GIS market in the near future, ARC said.

ARC Advisory Group Inc.

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