That Crystal Ball Thing Again – 2024

We published the Christmas Chaos edition of the Geomob Podcast just after Christmas. It has become a tradition that the participants make some lighthearted predictions of what might happen in the coming year. Usually they prove to be completely wrong but it is fun to look back on them a year later. Ed Freyfogle and I have just started to use a new podcast recording platform that provided quite decent transcriptions so that has ensured that I accurately list the predictions. Here goes!


  • I’m rather hopeful we might see a comeback for just two numbers.
  • There’s a lot of talk about geo-ethics, but nobody seems to know what that means and it will get more pervasive in the coming year.
  • I think there’s going to be a real backlash against Web Mercator next year! Ed Parsons disagreed strongly with this

Ed Freyfogle

  • Slowly but steadily some confidence is returning to the market. I think we’re going to start seeing more fundraising again and maybe even some acquisitions in the geospatial space.


  • I’d really love to say that this is the year where data is genuinely going to inform development of policy. Instead of creating policy that gives us some data at the end, we’re going to start with data. It’s going to be geospatially integrated.

Ed Parsons

  • Maybe this is the year that the new space bubble will pop and a lot of the investment that’s gone into many of those new space companies will go pear-shaped. I think there’s a reckoning coming in the new space industry.
  • I think there will be much more focus on our old friend open data as a result of AI. The only thing that can make AI accountable and trustworthy moving forward is good quality data. And actually, I think we’ve all played a bit of lip service to talking about the metadata standards that we use and just how much reliance and confidence we can have on the data sets we’ve collected. So I think as a result of AI, there’s going to be much more focus on the importance of data once again. And all of those lessons that we thought we’d learned 10 or 15 years ago, we’ll have to relearn all over again why it’s important to have accessible open data.


  • I think the trust issues around the world are going to cause us problems. And what I mean by that is I think that you’re increasingly seeing a lot of governments bring out new data governance legislation. There’s going to be a focus back on “we want to keep and own our data inside our country, we don’t want to let it out.” And I think that’s going to start to become a concern about how we share data and what data we share and who we share it with that is going to increase the trust problems.
  • I also think that there are going to be some really bad AI-generated maps that are created with people playing with the technology that will come out. And some of them will be farcically bad, and I cannot wait to see Ken’s review of some of these when they come out.


  • I think there will be questions around how AI gets slowed down because of this issue of provenance and trust and copyright. People are saying “well, hang on a second, you trained all this stuff on my data or my images or my texts, so this is a derived product. It’s a big and litigious area in our world. I think there is going to be a reckoning in next 12 months with the amount of money, capital, attention that the big AI businesses are capturing. There will be a push back.
  • I think Felt is going to have a big year next year. They have built a wait list of customers ready to start spending money. I’m one of them. I’m going to be spending money as soon as they let me. It’s by no means perfect. It’s by no means going to be everything, but for lots of the B2B use cases that we’re looking at, it’s more than good enough and it’s at a fraction of the price of the competition.


  • Next year might be the year where indoor mapping kicks off.
  • I think you’re gonna see a trend to less fluff and unnecessary stuff in mainstream consumer mapping apps. Flyovers, street views, 3D visualizations are a whole load of stuff which actually is eye candy and isn’t actually achieving anything except clogging up your bandwidth, clogging up the screen space. I think you’re going to see that toned down, maybe pushed into the background, and eventually abandoned because actually we’re losing sight of why we put maps in front of people for consumer applications. They wanna find their way, they wanna find things, they want to know about places.

Time will tell if any of this happens in 2024.