$3.7 Billion Reasons Why You Should Enter the GIS Field

$3.7 Billion Reasons Why You Should Enter the GIS Field

Want a reason to enroll in American Sentinel University’s online GIS degree program?

Consider this: When technology historians look back on 2012, they might look at this as the GIS year.  According to a new report from Pike Research, utility spending on GIS services, software, and tools will increase steadily over the next five years, reaching $3.7 billion in 2017.

This industry momentum toward GIS is what led to K-12 schools in North Carolina signing a statewide license for unlimited classroom use of Esri’s ArcGIS software.

Illustrating how much the U.S. government uses GIS, Esri recently released Mapping the Nation: Government and Technology Making a Difference. It includes more than 100 full-color maps produced by 40 government agencies, showing how GIS technology can be used to evaluate and respond to social, economic, and environmental concerns at local, regional, national and global levels.

“Geography is a common denominator in everything the federal government supports,” said Christopher Thomas, director, government markets—federal, state, local at Esri. “The maps in this book attest to the limitless power of geography and GIS technology and show how government agencies rely on GIS analysis to facilitate initiatives, improve transparency, and deliver strong business models.”

Add this momentum to the fact that new products are released nearly every week, including recently released CHC’s new LT30 series that enters the GIS data collection market with a cost-effective, rugged and connected GPS/GIS handheld collector for a wide range of applications such as natural resources, forestry, utilities, agriculture and emergency response. The LT30 GPS/GIS is a multi-functional solution including built-in GPRS phone and data transmission, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and a versatile RS232 interface to connect to legacy devices.

Smart Grids

Leading the charge for this GIS enthusiasm is the smart grid.

According to the Pike report, spatial data underlies everything an electric utility does. An intelligent power grid requires deep situational awareness of power generation, transmission, distribution, and customer assets in order to optimize performance and to meet reliability commitments, the report says. Land-based and street-level data, ownership/real estate, vegetation, network topology, GPS location data, census data, and many others forms of geospatial information are critical to the successful performance of the smart grid. GIS is a foundational technology linking every activity of an electric utility – including design and construction, asset management, workforce management, outage management, and, increasingly, real-time grid operations.

“The smart grid has energized electric utilities to think creatively about how to improve the delivery of electrical power and the business and workflow processes that enable it,” said Pike Research vice president Bob Gohn. “As the deployment of intelligent field equipment, particularly advanced metering infrastructure, has surged, the applications leveraging this infrastructure are increasingly dependent on GIS-based data for critical real-time performance.”

GIS technology is also used in the wine industry, archeology, personal technology and for aiding natural disasters. These industries are looking for people who understand GIS technology, making it an excellent time to consider an online bachelors or masters degree in GIS technology from American Sentinel University.