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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

thinkWhere Will Implement Enterprise-Wide, Online GIS for Scotland's Rural College

May 16th, 2019 by Susan Smith

Alan Moore, Chief Executive of thinkWhere, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the recent contract awarded to change how geographic data and software was employed at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Working alongside SRUC’s commercial division, SAC Consulting, thinkWhere will implement an enterprise wide, online GIS. thinkWhere will also introduce desktop based open source GIS software and a mobile application for synchronized field mapping and data capture. The integrated, end-to-end solution from thinkWhere is aimed to assist a variety of users and will allow SAC Consulting to offer new services to clients in the future.

Prior to the award of this contract, the SRUC supported three different suppliers of GIS solutions available via a thin client server environment and the desktop. The result was disparate data storage, poor file standards and issues with data reusability and efficiency. They also suffered from lack of flexibility with regards to publishing data and had no solution for mobile data capture or in-field queries.

Is the field to desk GIS delivered by thinkWhere primarily a customized solution?

The field to desk solution is built around thinkWhere’s web mapping solution groundMapper. The solution will also utilise QGIS and QField. These elements will be customised by thinkWhere to create a solution that is specifically targeted to meet the needs of a range of end users. An online Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach, groundMapper will provide access to master datasets such as Ordnance Survey mapping and aerial photography as well as SAC Consulting business datasets. groundMapper will also give SAC Consulting control over user roles and permissions and will provide full data auditability.

How will the Rural College be able to support the solution going forward, with in-house GIS professionals or IT people or other?

In addition to the product customisation and solution development thinkWhere will support SAC Consulting with a range of data migration services as well as acceptance testing and ongoing training and support.

What are the features of groundMapper and how do they integrate with the thinkWhere solution?

groundMapper is an easy to use online tool for managing project based maps and associated data and for sharing data with internal or external stakeholders. groundMapper will give SAC Consulting access to datasets such as Ordnance Survey Mapping, aerial photography and business critical datasets. 

What are the features of QGIS, and how does thinkWhere integrate with it? 

QGIS is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system application that supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data. A specialist in open source technologies thinkWhere integrates its own cloud based mapping and data solutions – such as groundMapper and Location Centre – with QGIS using customised plug-ins to create end to end solutions.

What improvements does SRUC expect in managing their response to the agricultural and rural sectors of Scotland?

The project will give the client an enterprise wide, online GIS complete with a solution for mobile data capture and in-field queries.

Through the thinkWhere solution, SAC Consulting hope to address issues of disparate data storage, poor files standards and issues with data reusability and efficiency that had previously been the result of multiple GIS solutions. The thinkWhere solution will improve access to essential datasets, give SAC Consulting control over user roles and permissions and will provide full data accountability.

The thinkWhere solution will address the needs of a variety of existing users within SRUC and will allow SAC Consulting to offer news services to clients in the future.

What is the estimated cost of implementing the thinkWhere solution?

thinkWhere make predominant use of open source GIS software as this provides best value to our customers.

The main costs involved in this project relate to 1. some bespoke development to suit the business processes and workflows of SAC Consulting 2. Migration of legacy data into the new thinkWhere solution and 3. Ongoing managed services that includes maintenance of base mapping, technical support, training and hosting giving SAC Consulting complete peace of mind.

Will some changes need to take place in the integration with the existing softwares and IT systems? If so, what do you foresee?

Deploying the new thinkWhere web and desktop GIS solution will bring about business and technical change for SAC Consulting. At present, integration is limited due to the legacy nature of the existing technologies in use. Adopting a modern cloud-based solution from thinkWhere will open up real opportunities to integrate and share geospatial data and services across the business. For example, the thinkWhere solution will centralise data unlocking value in business intelligence and spatial insight using tools such as Power BI or Tableau.

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Categories: agriculture, air pollution, Big Data, cloud, data, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, government, location intelligence, thinkWhere

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