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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.

How are GIS and Spotted Dick Similar?

December 18th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

Its quiz time. Try out the following, what do these statements mean?

For my American friends: “I’m peckish. I could murder a spotted dick!”

For my British friends: “I’ve been feeling ornery all day.”

For my American friends: “That girl has a fantastic boat race”

For my British friends: “Fred keeps complaining his suspenders are killing him”.

And the translation:

For my American friends: “I’m hungry. I’d love some dessert!” (spotted dick is a delicious dessert)

For my British friends: “I’ve been feeling grumpy all day” (ornery is a real word, which when spoken sounds like horny)

For my American friends: “That girl has a beautiful face” (boat race is rhyming cockney slang for face .. race=face)

For my British friends: “Fred keeps complaining his braces are killing him”. (suspenders are garters in Britain)

How are GIS and Spotted Dick Similar?

Coming from Britain and now living in America has had some hilarious moments. For an embarrassingly long time I thought a restroom was a quiet area set aside for ladies, filled with comfy chairs for relaxation and chatter (its called a loo in Britain).

So where am I going with this rather odd start to this GIS blog post. Meaning, language and interpretation that is where. We always need to be aware of our audience and gear what we say to that audience. With GIS we are still learning how to speak to our new, non-GIS audience. Try this:

“By showing the point features which intersect the polygon, we will be able to isolate potentially affected homes”.

“GIS is the representation, storage, and analysis of point, line and polygon features.”

“By buffering the line feature we can show the affect of potentially widening the road”

I’m sorry, but to non-GIS folks the above is gibberish. And yet I still hear this language being used; watch the glazed look in the eyes of the listener. Once we have discovered a problem we know we can solve with GIS, we must avoid the use of the language of GIS.

As we provide solutions to a new non-GIS audience, and help non-GIS technical folk understand the technology, we need to talk their language. Focus on the problem and the outcome or solution. Paint the picture, without confusing.

Right I’m knackered, and peckish, time for some loop de loop.

Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.

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

One Response to “How are GIS and Spotted Dick Similar?”

  1. Jim Horstman says:

    Another good post Matt and one that applies to most communications not just those specific to GIS. Of course using the acronym GIS can also be confusing since in the electric utility world we all know that it is the acronym for Gas Insulated Substation. I’ve actually been in meetings or on phone calls where that confusion came up.

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