The following are the major trends that we see affecting GIS:

Platforms.  Computing platforms continue to proliferate and diversify, and Esri is working to provide solutions across all of these platforms. “Pervasive mapping,” which is enabled by this proliferation of platforms, gives anyone the ability to use GIS, from anywhere. Our goal is a single, unified experience regardless of the platform you use. The recent renaming of the ArcGIS product line at the 10.1 release reflects our strategy that ArcGIS is a single system regardless of what platform you use it on.

Crowdsourcing.  Crowdsourced data, initially met with skepticism and concern by the geospatial community, is now going mainstream. GIS practitioners have long been the keepers of “authoritative” data, and are now beginning to take crowdsourced data very seriously.  This is in part due to the tremendous utility of crowdsourced data we’ve seen during recent disasters. Crowdsourced data enriches GIS, and Esri is looking at ways our users can use, manage, interpret, and incorporate it into their work.  You may be interested in reading a paper titled “Crowdsourcing Critical Success Factor Model.”

The Cloud.  Cloud computing is rapidly emerging as a technology trend that almost every industry that provides or consumes software, hardware, and infrastructure can leverage. The technology and architecture that cloud service and deployment models offer are key areas of research and development for Esri. GIS in the Cloud provides opportunities for organizations to become more cost-effective, productive, and flexible, and enables them to rapidly deliver new capabilities.

GeoDesign.   Maps are a way to abstract place to make it easier to understand.  With GeoDesign, we move beyond simply understanding place, to designing it.  This more active, engaged, and proactive approach to designing with geography is being enabled by an evolving set of new tools in GIS. With the release of ArcGIS 10 came the addition of feature templates, a ‘pen-in-ink’ sketching and data-creation experience that allows plans to be created and analyzed using existing geoprocessing models for suitability analysis. Along with web collaboration, scenario management, design iteration, and data sharing tools, ArcGIS continues to evolve as a complete platform for GeoDesign.