Predictions need to be written down

white moon on hands
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on

Pah to 2020!

There is little about 2020 that can be looked back on with affection but one of of my highlights has been recording over 50 episodes of the Geomob Podcast with Ed Freyfogle. I don’t think either of us really thought that it would become a “thing” but it certainly has. Plus recording a podcast is something that you sort of have to do from home so it has become a lockdown past-time.

Another little pleasure has been a regular end of week call with a group of geo friends – Denise McKenzie, Ed Parsons, Ken Field, Mark Iliffe, Jeremy Morley and Alex Wrottesley (Rollo Home and Chris Parker also join us occasionally). Often a glass of beer, wine or spirits is consumed as we wind down from our week’s travails. During 2020 Ed or I managed to record a podcast episode with each of them (Mark’s episode will go live very soon). One evening we came up with the idea of recording a Christmas Special with all of us, sort of a fusion of our Friday catchups and the podcast interviews. We recorded it one evening in November and you can listen to it here, it’s a bit chaotic but there are some good laughs and a few wise observations in there.

We looked back on our 2020’s and talked about the way mapmakers and mapviewers responded to the pandemic amongst other things, then we switched to looking forwards. I asked each of the gang to make a prediction for 2021 or something they were looking forward to. Now predictions are no use unless you can look at them a year or so later and see whether they have come true, so whilst I hope you listen to the podcast I thought I would just note the predictions in bullet point form (apologies to our contributors for my paraphrasing)

  • Ken is looking forward to the ubiquity of real time data feeds and the need for real time analysis and visualisation to advance to keep up. We joked that this would give us better weather maps but actually it is much more important
  • Alex expects the conversation about the ethics of geospatial to continue and hopefully lead to a better understanding of how we can and do use location data
  • Ed P is looking forward to the informed use of the personal geospatial data that we all generate (that might be too liberal a paraphrase)
  • I hoped that the so called GI professionals would stop pleading for more people in government and industry to understand the value of what we do, but I doubt that will happen in 2021
  • Jeremy thought the government’s focus on saving money would result in more focus on location
  • Denise is looking forward to the launch of the Locus Charter in January see ethics above). She predicted that Data Collaboratives would be the “big thing” ushering in new models of thematic data sharing
  • Mark is looking forward to drinking in an airport (aka travel and socialising). He thinks that in 2021 people will understand what he does, I doubt it
  • Ed F predicts OSM will continue to conquer the world (we recorded before the meltdown on the mailing lists or the launch of Amazon Location). He also predicted that augmented reality apps like Foursquare’s MarsBot would take off in 2021
  • I think someone may have suggested that the Geospatial Commission would undergo some big change by the end of 2021

By writing this stuff down I have also predicted that we will have to have another end of year podcast next year to laugh at the foolishness of our predictions.

Happy New Year