RealTime IT News

Feds to Drive GIS Growth

Spurred by strong government demand, total geographic information systems (GIS) core-business revenue for 2003 will grow 8 percent to $1.75 billion in 2003, according to Daratech. The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm says this compares to a 2.4 percent growth (to $1.6 billion in core-business revenues) in 2002 over the prior year.

GIS manipulate, analyze and graphically present an array of information associated with geographic locations.

According to Daratech, federal, state and local governments in 2002 spent five percent more on GIS products than they did in 2001. Overall, the public sector accounted for roughly one-third of all GIS spending.

Core-business revenue includes software, hardware, services and data products.

Software comprised more than two-thirds (67percent) of the pie, with revenues from GIS software vendors reaching $1.1 billion. Leading the market in software revenues were Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and Intergraph Corp. Together, the two companies accounted for nearly half of the industry's total software revenues.

Other software leaders in 2002 included Autodesk, GE Network Solutions, Leica Geosystems GIS and Mapping Division, MapInfo Corp., IBM's GIS Business Unit, and SICAD Geomatics GmbH & Co.

Services were the second-largest component of core-business revenues with 24 percent of total core-business revenues, or $393 million -- essentially flat with 2001.

Hardware, a declining component of core-business revenues for many years, again accounted for just 5 percent of total core-business revenues in 2002, or $88 million. Almost all of this came from Intergraph and IBM, both of which have customers use bundled hardware/software systems.

In a June report, the General Accounting Office (GAO) said as much as 50 percent of the federal government's GIS annual investment may be wasted, due at least in part to duplication of effort by agencies; redundant systems; multiple acquisitions of the same data; lack of agency coordination and cooperation; and a failure to agree on a common set of standards for the data itself.

According to Mark Forman, the chief administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology, and Scott Cameron, deputy assistant secretary for performance and management at the Department of Interior, these issues will be addressed by the Geospatial One-Stop Project, which is one of the 24 E-government initiatives being pursued as part of the President's Management Reform Agenda. Interior is the managing partner for the Geospatial One-Stop Project and Cameron is the project director.

Rep. Adam Putnam (R.-Fla.), chairman of the House subcommittee, pledged to provide "aggressive oversight" to identify examples of waste, and to work with the administration to facilitate reforms. Putnam also committed to examining the role of the private sector, along with state and local governments, who collectively own more than two-thirds of the relevant data, to be participating partners in achieving the desired outcomes.

"I embrace the Geospatial One-Stop initiative and commend the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Interior for their leadership on this important project," Putnam said. "We must solve the management and federal government cultural issues that continue to serve as impediments to real progress and cost savings."