The Geoshare application integration standard is playing a significant and increasing role in the day to day work of the explorationist. Although it is providing solid and practical performance every day, Geoshare will probably never win any beauty contests against more comprehensive database footprint approaches or against component architecture approaches to integration.
One thing advocates of those schools of thought are finding out, is that the same hard-fought agreements are needed to make them work that required so much effort in the Geoshare community. For example, it's probably a pretty safe prediction that five years from now the industry will be trying to figure out how to reconcile differences in the component sets we use. It may have decided whether these should be based on one or all of DCOM/CORBA/JAVABEAN technologies, and the PC versus Unix discussion may be ancient history, but the business object discussion will be as lively and important as ever.
It is true that Geoshare is based on mature technology, but that does not mean that its use is declining or its relevance has diminished. We know it works, and have invested heavily in its use, and in resolving problem areas like support for large data sets, so users don't run into scalability problems. As for its position on the usefulness curve, this is only limited only by industry willingness to develop and use half-links. There are breadth and depth extensions that would be helpful in the areas of reservoir engineering and earth models, but we could be making much heavier use of the existing standard by factors of 10 or more.
As far as the future of Geoshare, possibilities include take-up of RP66V2, but also things like XML, and even component implementations of Geoshare objects as a way to leverage the understandings that have been won. Component architectures after all are the long term future of interoperability. The good news is that since the future of Geoshare is being decided by the good folks who have to depend on it, there is no question but that it will remain relevant in their business processes.
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