GITA Geospatial Technology Report 2006

Annual member survey shows OpenGIS progress, rising COTS data use and SCADA as driving GIS deployment.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has just released the 2006 edition of its Geospatial Technology Report, a comprehensive survey of its membership. Some 386 companies took part in the survey. While GITA’s membership is predominately utilities and public sector, 18 pipeline companies and 23 gas companies participated in the study of which 8 could be considered as integrated oil and gas.

OpenGIS advance

Companies report deployment of heterogeneous GIS platforms, facilitated by the ‘advancement of Open GIS data standards from OGIS, MultiSpeak and PODS.’ The report concludes that ‘the ability to exchange data across platforms is enabling users to buy the application that is right for the job, even if it means running more than a single GIS platform.’


The primary business driver for implementing GIS at utilities is automation. SCADA has shot up to take the number one slot in GITA’s ‘Top 10 Applications’ chart, from number 6 in 2005, showing the increasing integration of SCADA with GIS projects in the pipeline industry. Another ‘Top 10’ rank of GIS Technologies showed a significant rise in Open GIS (ISAT/PODS) from fourth place last year to this year’s number one slot.


The 2006 pipeline data shows a significant increase in ‘full-use seats’ using ESRI (from 17 to 53%) and DeLorme’s software and an increase in ESRI and GE ‘view-only’ seats. Most pipeline companies keep their core GIS costs down in the $0-150,000 range although one respondent cited an investment in the $1.5-2 million range! Likewise 67% gave GIS application costs of $0-150,000 with a couple of ‘outliers’ in the $1-1.5 million range.

Rise of COTS data

The report notes the rise of data from a ‘wide variety of providers marketing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) map data.’ Companies increasingly use satellite remote sensing as a base, adding value to imagery by combining it with other available sources of topographic, planimetric, and cadastral data. One analysis shows the high level of education in today’s GIS professionals with 55% having a four year college degree.

Google Earth?

The 140 page detailed report contains a lot more on implementation strategies, land base and facilities management, data accuracy, conversion costs and more and is great value at $449 (less for GITA members). We did spot one omission though, where was Google Earth? The ‘big thing’ in GIS in 2006! But overall one has to commend the not for profit GITA on doing a great job collating all this information from its membership. Makes you wonder why the upstream orgs haven’t done likewise for GIS in oil and gas. Order the report on

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