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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Please stop calling me the mapping guy

August 13th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

“You must love maps”

“Could you make me a map?”

“So your job is map making”

“Talk to those guys down the hall … the map guys”.


Please stop calling me the mapping guy

Enough is enough. Seriously. I did not like it then. Today, I am even less tolerant. I am not a mapping guy. Period.

Don’t belittle me. Don’t label me. Understand me.

We can bring new insight to your organization. Can provide new ways to view and analyse your organizational data. We are an important (new) face in the changing world of technology. Give us a hug, tell us we are special, then allow us to dramatically change how you run your business

You can tell I have had enough. If you head up an organization and are not leveraging GIS across your organization. You aren’t properly doing your job. Seriously.

Now I have your attention

Let me tell you two stories.

Story 1: You know how it is when you fly and have 1 stop before you arrive at your destination? You get off flight one. Worry about how you get to your next gate , and how long it will take. Your kids would love some food, a drink, maybe a souvenir. But you are in panic mode: ‘Gotta get to my next gate. Don’t wanna miss the connection’. Then you congregate at that next gate desperate to get on the flight.

How bloody ridiculous.

Suppose instead you were able to use a GIS app to help guide you to your next gate. Your connecting flight representatives knew you were on the way. The app told you where you could find a sandwich for Johnny and snow globe for Lucy, on your way. What a relief. A completely stress free experience. Using a location-centric solution.

Talk to Geometri for more information.

Story 2: When a child needs an operation, its high stress. Some kids, in early life need regular visits to the hospital. Doctors are on call ready. These might not be emergencies, but they are critical to a child’s long term well being. The doctors time is precious. One procedure, follows another. So what happens in a city like Washington DC with horrendous traffic problems. Kids can be late. That is a huge problem, both for the child and medical team. How do the hospitals adjust their schedule? To start one child ahead of their allotted time, another later?

This is a location problem. If we know one family is held up in traffic, and another arrived at the hospital early, we can adjust our scheduling. GIS Inc, are building a solution using ArcGIS.

Now don’t tell me that is not cool.

Did I mention mapping

In two stories did I mention a map?

No. These are two location-centric solutions. A map is certainly in each solution set. But neither Geometri nor GIS Inc approached these challenges from a mapping perspective. They looked at two problems and used location technology to provide a solution.

This is our role as GIS experts.

So I repeat ‘Please stop calling us the mapping guys and gals’

Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, location data, Mobile ArcGIS, Web and mobile GIS

4 Responses to “Please stop calling me the mapping guy”

  1. Jeff Hobbs says:

    Great point! I couldn’t agree more.

  2. jrfwmf says:

    I’m a true cartographer. Degree and all. I am a map guy. I’m tired of being called a GIS specialist or expert. I’m with you on this. grrrr!

  3. Old Dog says:

    I have struggled with this for years and I am on the tipping point of changing my perspective. If we can’t change them from saying map guy/gal then maybe we should embrace the brand? Maybe it would be easier to start to educate people that “maps” are evolving. If I am not mistaken but there was a day when maps were made on papyrus paper? I am pretty confident that our friend “jrfmwf” though a professional cartographer is not using papyrus paper. Am I the only one out here that muses about the possibility of a holographic technology one day in our near future? Does it mean that we have to come up with a new name when it does? “Cool Virtual Globe”? Regardless of what fancy cool GIS geo-processing you complete to help answer your client’s needs, there is still a step required and that is to tell the story and in the world of GIS that is more often than not creating a map (the end product what the client sees). Maybe us old dogs don’t need to learn new tricks we just have to look at the old from a different perspective.

    • Matt Sheehan Matt Sheehan says:

      I completely agree Brad. Educating all that maps are evolving. It feels like we are stuck between the old and new in many ways. Perception is a big deal. As GIS is used more widely, maybe this will be a natural evolution. For now we feel between two worlds.

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