Monday, March 22, 2010

MapData Sciences sale to ESRI

I was surprised to find out that MapData Sciences (MDS), a small but quite active on the local GIS scene vendor of spatial data and solutions, was sold in February to industry veteran - ESRI Australia - for $2.5 million. The company is a supplier of street maps to both Google and Microsoft, which is quite a feat considering it is not the only seller of such information in Australia. As well, because MDS competes directly with Google and Microsoft with its own commercial online mapping platform that is used by many prominent organisations in Australia, such as Australia Post or Woolworths. It is reported that MDS had “9 product lines and 300 clients”.

The question that popped in my mind is if it a sign of an imminent consolidation of local GIS industry. In 2007 there was a frantic consolidation happening in all segments of global spatial industry (eg. MapInfo was acquired by Pitney Bowes in March 2007, and in May that year Leica bought ER Mapper) but it seems that it was limited only to the big end of town. Is this now the time for consolidation in the smaller end of the market?