Geographical Information System (GIS) applications have been existed since the early 1960s, but evidence suggests that adoption of GIS technologies still remains relatively low in many sectors. We will explore both the barriers that affect the utilisation of GIS and opportunities to overcome these barriers. As part of this exploration we performed a literature review, collected responses from quantitative questionnaire survey and interviewed a range of technical and domain experts. Having analysed and collated the results of these studies we have identified ways forward for future research and development to facilitate wider spread adoption and exploitation of GIS applications. Our final discussion focuses on the importance of open-source GIS software, open data and cloud computing as key mediators for the wider appropriation of GIS based solutions.