"However, it is not clear if cartographers or visual designers will have more influence in these [challenges of 3D visualisation] developments."
is an intelligent point to make, I see far more visual designers playing with maps on the web than I do cartographers embracing the new GeoWeb tools so it will be interesting to see who influences the development of augmented reality applications the most. However the quote,
"The contrary view is that we may see the death of the conventional 2D map by 2015"
is just plain silly. History is littered with examples of new technologies that were predicted to kill older technologies and didn't. Fax machines were killed by email but theatre, radio and ovens were not killed by cinema, TV and microwaves respectively. There is lots to be said for a 2D generalised map, augmented reality on phones may be dominant by 2015 but don't expect the 2D map to become extinct.
Cartography and Visualization by Mackness is a separate report which the main report summarised. He brings up a good point about the importance of zoom:
"improved capacity to model geographic spaces at multiple levels of detail. Data modelling at multiple scales to support ‘intelligent zoom’ – hugely facilitate map based tasks associated with small devices (with small screen real estate) "
zoom is important and I think it even goes beyond his mobile devices - its very useful on PCs too.
But I was disappointed that whilst he thinks "maps as interface", will be more important to the public in the future he doesn't identify usability of maps as a possible impediment to the development of GI. With each new function developers get to wield in map making there is a slew of bad implementations that are a result of ignoring usability issues, IMHO this is definitely an impediment to effective use of GI tools.
GI and Climate Change: Moving onto the section in the main report I was pleased to see some understanding of the importance of usability being talked about:
"Increasing sophistication in the analysis, presentation and understanding of uncertainty issues, for example how to communicate probabilistic [sic] based information sets. This issue is particularly relevant for scenario forecasting such as climate change or flood risk analysis, where there are increasingly sophisticated datasets availability [sic]"
I agree communication of difficult to understand spatial data to the public will grow in importance. Much the same point is made in the section on renewable energy.
The Data Deluge: Finally, in this section the report talks about the cost of data going down which produces the problem of a data deluge for the public:
"This means that rather than being able to let “the figures talk for themselves” it becomes increasingly important how the information is presented and telling the story associated with the information in a compelling way. This does not mean however to filter the information, to protect it, or to otherwise impede its release – that would be counter productive. Rather the increasing availability of GIS tools and “geoweb” enthusiasts mean that there is a wider pool of people who can be partners in understanding and communicating the issues."
Google Earth Tours are already an answer to 'telling the story' for the amateur enthusiast and I look forward to seeing them and other similar technologies become more popular as ways to dissect public data.