Good writing, great analogies -- if anybody can rescue the concept of geospatial cloud computing from the pundits, Kirk Kuykendall can:
Look at what happened to engines. A hundred years ago they were the hot new technology - both internal combustion as well as electric. In those days you had to be intimately familiar with the physics of combustion to operate a motor vehicle. Now I rarely open the hood of my car. So in a sense engines have disappeared, but really they were subsumed by the automobile. What remains is a higher level object - the car - with only a few terms (like ignition) here and there hinting at what lay underneath.
From the post Kirk references:
GIS has been waiting for the cloud. GIS was born to exist in the cloud. It will reach its highest potential there. The Cloud is fertile ground for a GIS. A GIS is about much more than location alone. Its truest value and highest potential are exposed through the capability to perform spatial analysis, model and simulate. In a sense GIS is a 5-speed F1 racer that has been operating in second gear. The cloud has enormous potential to change that, shifting spatial gears and accelerating the wider use of GIS functionality. Buckle up - the ride is about to begin.
Shorter Jeff Thurston: I am as high as a kite.