A week ago, I attended the South Dakota State Geospatial Conference in Mitchell, South Dakota. The conference showed the wide variety of GIS applications. There were presentation on Precision Farming, Climate Monitoring, Field Collection for Biologist, and much more.
The 2 main technology themes seemed to be the use of ArcGIS Online (in the office or field) and also the future impacts UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) will have on the GIS discipline. Personally I think the incorporation of data from UAV into GIS and management of UAV through GIS is going to be a game changer for many disciplines and applications (as they say, similar to the incorporation of GPS). This will provide us a completely new perspective for the collection and viewing of data. One example would be the capability to inspect your pipeline remotely with an UAV. Exciting times ahead! The FAA is supposed to come out with regulation for UAVs by the end of 2015, so keep that on your radar.
Within the past couple years it’s been fun to see the transition of ArcGIS Online move from a concept to reality. There were several case studies that showed the anytime and anywhere use of GIS through ArcGIS Online and/or ArcServer. Uses varied significantly depending on the needs, creativity, and capabilities of the team designing and using the product. It is great to see so many people now being exposed to GIS; and from my point of view the use is only growing.
The point of conferences is to learn, share ideas, and network; which I think this conference accomplished!