Archive for April, 2016
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
So young Matt and I were chatting yesterday. As ever our GIS conversation was wide and interesting. As our discussion meandered we started looking in the crystal ball at GIS and business intelligence (BI). A fascinating conversation. And one in which GIS lite and GIS business specialists emerged.
When referencing GIS we often talk in terms of ‘WHERE’ or ‘Find the Nearest’ questions. At its core GIS answers these questions. Asset management has been a key reason to use GIS eg. where is the broken pipe in need of replacement? The public sector has gravitated to GIS in part for this reason. WHERE are our assets is a very obvious use of the technology, combined with map generation for visualization.
But that’s pretty narrow.
Commercial use of GIS has been somewhat limited versus the public sector. Why? It’s a good question, and one I often ponder. But that is changing. Mobile devices have brought the notion of location to the fore. In our new smartphone/tablet world, WHERE questions are often asked. The commercial sector have begun to realise WHERE is a key business question. That’s good right?
Sunday, April 24th, 2016
As a kid I was a typical boy. Always playing football (soccer), climbing trees, bleeding from a new wound, exploring, covered in mud. I remember hitting my teens and still wanting to do the same. But I realized a new, nagging internal pressure had surfaced. The scene in the Jungle Book where Mowgli follows the beautiful girl to the village, hypnotized, yet looking back at Ba-loo and his other friends, somehow always rang true with me. From free living independence I began to change. For the better no doubt. But I went from nose picking boy, to boyfriend then husband. I began to enjoy simple things like holding hands. Things which would have horrified me as a kid. I began to be guided down a different path by my wife: “More civilized, less smelly man” as she describes. Even to a point now where “manscaping” I will tolerate.
By ‘hand holding’ in this post I’m really talking figuratively. Guidance down a different path I mean directly. When I was a young lad I saw the world in a certain way. My wife gave me a different perspective, showed me a new path. A path, on my own, I would never have known existed (ok, I’m overstating a little here). A path I would have once shunned as “girly”. My wife made me curious, encouraged me to put aside my entrenched thinking, and open my mind to new possibilities.
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Let’s jump into a topic which is much discussed: offline mobile GIS asset management. A problem which lacks good solutions. In this post we will cover the nuts and blots of how offline works for GIS and work orders. We will also share a little secret which might surprise you. Onward.
Many mobile GIS based work order systems are built for laptops. Complex interfaces, hard to use in the field. Often offline needs a full download of all system data: inefficient, slow, and super hard to administer.
Our focus in this post is true offline mobile GIS work order apps. Mobile apps built for tablets not laptops. Simple interfaces and easy offline uploads and downloads. These are new generation offline mobile GIS work order apps.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
Last night was heart wrenching. My daughters U15 soccer team began their new season after promotion, last year, to the top P1 bracket. Up against the best teams in this age group in Utah, last night they played the best team in P1: Celtic Storm. A fast, good passing team with top players in all positions. Our Blue Knights team started on the back foot. Though under pressure and feeling panicked in possession, they held firm. 0-0 at half time. The second half started much like the first, resolute defending relying on break away’s. Celtic were becoming frustrated. But kept pressing. We were tiring but still in the game forcing their goalkeeper into an outstanding save. Still 0-0. Then with 20 seconds left. Celtic crossed from the right. A mis-communication between defender and goalkeeper and an easy tap in for the Celtic forward. 1-0. And end of the game.
I fell to my knees in despair.
How then does this related to GIS? Patience dear reader.
After the game, the coach and I sat down and started deconstructing. Forgetting, for a moment, the many positives we saw during the game.
Monday, April 11th, 2016
I thought Adam Carnow’s recent LinkedIn post was terrific: Why hasn’t my GIS Manager showed me this?. Adam and I share similar thoughts when it comes to spreading the word about GIS. We should all now be actively involved in outreach; showing colleagues and customers the power of cloud based GIS (WebGIS).
I’m going to advance Adam’s discussion a little more here. There is a theme in the comments on his article: “Lack of understanding (platform components, concepts, benefits)”. To put this a different way: now you have discovered you have more tools in your toolbox than you knew, what should you do next?
I’ve found the only way to understand and share benefits, is by doing. Finding a problem to solve with WebGIS. Narrow your focus. Forget the complexity. Is there an organizational problem you can solve using GIS? A project which will help pull the pieces together for you? A solution which would get the attention of management? Start there.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
So I received a call on Monday. The voice on the line said “One must have crumpets with ones tea”. “Who’s this plonker?” I thought. A trace of New Jersey in the accent gave it away. It was Joe fresh back from his trip to London. His visit to Windsor Castle (with the Queen in residence apparently), had turned our Joe ‘posh’.
Joe relayed the story of his trip to me. Windsor Castle, he said, was particularly interesting. A huge, confusing stately home. His group debated whether to wander alone or hire a guide. “The best 20 quid we’ve spent” was Joe’s comment. The guide made the tour far more enjoyable, Joe and his group got to see the things they wanted and discovered much unexpected and new.
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
This is a question we are asked often: should we use ArcGIS or Google Maps to solve our WHERE challenge?
You know our usual answer……. it depends!
ArcGIS or Google Maps?
Why would we say that, aren’t Esri and Google bitter rivals, offering similar mapping solutions?
Your choice depends very much on your WHERE challenge. Let’s provide two examples.
1) Bike Trail Map – Imagine your WHERE challenge is sharing with bikers the route of a trail. You have collected data on the trails route, drinking fountains, restrooms etc en-route, have taken photos at various points on the trail and would like to include a directions option for those trying to find the trail. What stands out here in this description? Simplicity. This is a simple WHERE question. Though ArcGIS can provide a solution, the simplicity here lends itself well to Google.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
Nobody likes going to visit the doctor. It usually means there is a problem. A problem for which you are looking for a solution. Here is an all too common conversation between patient and doctor:
Doctor: How can I help you today?
Patient: I have a terrible pain in my knee.
Doctor: What did you do?
Patient: I was tackled while playing soccer and fell awkwardly. How much will it cost to fix my knee do you think?
Doctor: We will need to run some tests.
Patient: Ok, the tests will be free I presume. I really just want to know approximately how much fixing my knee will cost.
Doctor: Tests take time, and give us an accurate picture of your problem so we can provide a solution. And no our time (and expertise) is not free.
Okay, that is not a real conversation. Nobody would ask a doctor such cost based questions. In fact as soon as we walk in the door of a doctors office the $ clock starts ticking.