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Archive for June, 2015

With GIS today we are all to some degree groping in the dark

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015


With GIS today we are all learning together. That is a statement not a question. And in making that statement, I want to make my suggestions on how we make this learning process easier.

With GIS today we are all to some degree groping in the dark

1. Lets all working harder at asking questions

Its time to step back and ask questions. Lots of questions. Too often we make presumptions. We believe what we read. Challenge your pre-conceived notions by asking questions. I’ll give you an example. I presumed, because ArcGIS Online had made it so much simpler to publish maps and apps, that many barriers to adoption had come down. So I went to some local cities and asked the question of their GIS folks. And what did I find: time, money, data, education and intransigence were still key barriers.

2. Really talk to users and clients ……. and listen

I hate to use a car dealers billboard to illustrate, but I believe the above rings true. We need to be better listeners. What are the problems and challenges? Too often we are trying put a square peg into a round hole. Thierry Gregorius GeoHipsters interview is well worth reading, in it he states:

“Much of my job involves talking to stakeholders across an organisation to find out what they’re really trying to achieve, what data they need to achieve it”

Or put differently, at the core of Thierry’s job is listening. How good are you at discovery through listening?

Listening to clients, managers, field staff: both to the organization and across the organization


What we learned from a failed ArcGIS Implementation

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

We pride ourselves on honesty. To not just talk UP about our working world, but discuss the DOWN. Our (my) biggest lessons in life were learned from failure .. not success.

Its time to talk about a WebMapSolutions hiccup. And what we learned from a failed ArcGIS implementation.

We spent the first part of 2015 working with a private company who had no experience with GIS. They had a forward thinking senior staff member who quickly grasped the possibilities GIS might bring to their company. They enlisted WebMapSolutions to help evolve that vision.


ArcGIS and Making Sense Out of Google’s Geospatial Evolution

Thursday, June 11th, 2015


I thought it worth following up on John-Isaac Clark’s article Making Sense Out of Google’s Geospatial Evolution. I’ve met John at past geo-conferences. He is Chief Innovation Officer at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology. Thermopylae have built their product suite on top of Google, so the recent changes announced by Google around their geospatial products could have a direct impact on Thermopylae’s business. In some ways Johns blog post was written to reassure his companies existing clients. Aside from this, there are some interesting points made worth discussing.

Google Impact on Geospatial

The launch of Google Maps in the mid 2000’s sent ripples (tidal waves?) across the geospatial industry. Suddenly interactive maps were easy to access and use. The Google Maps interface was beautifully simple. No head scratching was needed to use their maps. And with slippy tiles the user experience was extraordinary. For those of us developing mapping applications, simply finding good base map data was a huge undertaking. Google changed all of that. Rich base map data-sets suddenly became available. That was a huge change. I agree with John that the Google geospatial releases “enabled geo-literacy to be introduced to non-geographic information system professionals”.


6 Key Challenges Slowing ArcGIS Online Adoption

Monday, June 8th, 2015


From our work with customers, we are beginning to see the pace of adoption of ArcGIS Online and the ArcGIS Platform pick up. Ever more maps are being published in Online. But for apps, we remain in a world of early adopters.

What do we mean here?

We mean the pace of those deepening their engagement with ArcGIS Online beyond simply map publishing. Below we discuss 6 key challenges slowing ArcGIS Online adoption.


5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


ArcGIS Online is still relatively new. Many organizations have begun looking seriously at this cloud based GIS solution. Sure there are still worries about credits, cost concerns, confusion around named users. But wider scale adoption is on the horizon.

Web Mobile ArcGIS

As organizations dig deeper into ArcGIS, the question of mobile is often raised. In this post let’s discuss 5 things you need to know about Web mobile ArcGIS.

1. Ubiquitous – run on any device and platform

In today’s world we use many devices: PC’s, laptops, smartphones, tablets. These are all basically computers. Devices like smartphones, and tablets mean we are no longer limited to our office or home based computers. Now we can use applications anywhere and at anytime. GIS technology is particularly useful on mobile devices. Not only does it provide (easily understood) maps as output, but detailed, focused information based on location:

“Show me all the water valves which have not been inspected in Sandy City in the last 2 months”

“Alert me if I start digging with my excavator within 30 ft of an oil pipeline”

We all have a mix of different mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry. Ideally we want our mobile ArcGIS applications to run on any and all of our devices. Web ArcGIS is the perfect solution. Write once run everywhere is the true power of web ArcGIS technology. Pull up a browser on your device and you are good to go.


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