Geospatial analysis helps people make better decisions. It doesn't make the decision for you, but it can answer critical questions that are at the heart of the choice to be made and often cannot be answered any other way. Until recently, geospatial technology and data were tools available only to governments and well-funded researchers. However, in the last decade, data has become much more widely available and software much more accessible to anyone.
In addition to freely available government satellite imagery, many local governments now conduct aerial photo surveys and make the data available online. The ubiquitous Google Earth provides a cross-platform spinning globe view of the Earth with satellite and aerial data, streets, points of interest, photographs, and much more. Google Earth users can create custom Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files, which are XML files to load and style data to the globe. This program, and similar tools, are often called geographic exploration tools because they are excellent data viewers but provide very limited data analysis capability.
The ambitious OpenStreetMap project (http://www.openstreetmap.org) is a crowd-sourced, worldwide, geographic basemap containing most layers commonly found in a GIS. Nearly every mobile phone now contains a GPS along with mobile apps to collect GPS tracks as points, lines, or polygons. Most phones will also tag photos taken with the phone's camera with GPS coordinates. In short, anyone can be a geospatial analyst.
The global population has reached seven billion people. The world is changing faster than ever before. The planet is undergoing environmental changes never seen before in recorded history. Faster communication and transportation increase the interaction between us and the environment in which we live. Managing people and resources safely and responsibly is more challenging than ever. Geospatial analysis is the best approach to understanding our world more efficiently and deeply. The more politicians, activists, relief workers, parents, teachers, first responders, medical professionals, and small businesses harness the power of geospatial analysis, the more our potential for a better, healthier, safer, and fairer world will be realized.