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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.

5 Things GIS can learn from Donald Trump

March 21st, 2016 by Matt Sheehan

As a Brit living in the US, I do find the theatre that is American politics amusing. It would seem little changes whoever becomes President. And yet in the run up to the election we all have to suffer this onslaught of debates, discussions, opinions. On and on.

This election season is particularly charged. The presence of Donald Trump seems to have stirred the pot. An odd character. It would seem a person Americans either adore or loath. I was thinking about the presidential elections over the weekend and realised we in GIS have much to learn from Donald Trump.

Keep things Simple

Some might argue that it is the candidate who is simple. But take a look at his messaging, like it or hate it, simplicity is at its core. No need to explain. Whether we are talking to clients or our non-GIS colleagues, we in GIS need to keep our messaging just as simple.

Get Attention

Its hard to avoid Donald Trump. His face and messaging are everywhere. A well designed campaign (and a very compliant media) have kept this candidate front and centre. We should all be thinking how do we get and keep attention on GIS? More than simple maps, GIS is a powerful solution provider for organizations large and small.

Say what you mean (mean what you say)

Like it or hate it Trump does not mince his words. He focuses on (divisive) issues. His messaging is consistent, and carefully planned. No beating around the bush. We in GIS need to be more direct. Rise up, be more than ‘just the mapping department down the corridor’. Be direct with your clients. Help them understand that GIS is more than simply adding a point to a map.

Stay focused on Problems and Solutions

The Trump campaign have carefully kept their focus on ‘the countries problems” and how with Trump as president these will be solved. Forget if you agree or disagree. There is no mumbling about the details. The focus is: today we are here, tomorrow we want to be there. How much time in GIS do we waste talking technology and the minutia of things. Our minds should always be on problem:solution.

Be Proactive

Sitting on our hands gets us nowhere. Ok, its election season and all the candidates are in no sleep mode. But we need to be the same in our GIS world. There are an unbelievable number of problems out there which need solving. GIS can provide answers. Let’s get busy finding those problems to solve.

You wonder where I sit on all of this political stuff. I’ll give you a hint. The world needs more Jeremy Corbyn’s.

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

One Response to “5 Things GIS can learn from Donald Trump”

  1. Joel Wasinger says:

    This piece ironically emulates Drumpf a little too well. Drumpf is at best an effective media whore who uses cheap tricks, fails to present meaningful (and necessary) specifics, continually waffles on his “platform,” uses shallow and unhelpful stereotypes to appeal to bigots and accomplishes little more than stirring up the ignorant masses.
    – You’re right that he keeps it simple, wrong that we should dumb down our message the way that he does. Simplicity is fine; idiocy and a lack of compelling detail isn’t.
    – GIS doesn’t need the kind of attention Drumpf seeks and generates and we certainly shouldn’t be clamoring for it the way he does. We get attention by doing our jobs well and by quietly working behind the scenes and being prepared when opportunities arise.
    – Drumpf doesn’t mean half of what he says and his appeal is crafted to appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence and civility. I’ll pass.
    – Drumpf wastes his time drumming up hysteria about problems that either aren’t or that he’s blown badly out of proportion. Is that the kind of reputation we want? No thanks.
    – Being proactive is a great idea (especially as Covey clarifies its meaning). I don’t see any connection to Drumpf.

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