GeoCarta Has Moved

Dec 1, 2005

Struggling for Relevance in the Era of the Google Phenomenon

Joe Francica, has an interesting editorial in Directions Magazine today. I won't reprint it all here, but one item I found of particular interest:
Kim Fennell, CEO of Telcontar, recently described the phenomenon that is changing location technology section aptly by saying, "It is a matter of scale." Where before the market scale was calibrated in terms of a thousand copies of ArcView, it now thinks in terms of 100,000’s of copies of MapPoint, a nearly mass market product. Where before we were amazed at the thought of 1 million hits on MapQuest, we now need to think in terms of a billion maps served.
The issue of "scale" got me thinking back over the history of personal computer technology. Let's start with the innovation of the word processor, a huge improvement over the typewriter. Then came the personal computer. WordPerfect and Lotus 1,2,3, really showed the business world what a valuable tool the PC could be. Then Netscape Navigator, which made the world wide web much easier to use. You've probably figured out what happened to all of the companies that pioneered these innovations. They were either swallowed up by larger, late-comers, or today have a tiny fraction of the market share they once enjoyed..

For a long time, geospatial technology has been the sole domain of a few GIS companies. As the, "gang of five" search engine companies move into the location technology market, I can't help but wonder if we aren't seeing history repeat itself.