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.
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.
GIS and the Queen of England
Now its unlikely the Queen needs a tour guide to help her around her Windsor home. Its all very familiar to her. Over time she has, I’m sure, learned every nook and cranny of the place. But for those like Joe who are new to Windsor Castle guidance can invaluable.
The unfamiliar can be confusing. Often to get real value (ROI) out of things new or unfamiliar requires expert help. Presuming new things are easy often leads to frustration. Welcome to the world of GIS.
Now expert help comes in many forms. I remember my physics teacher at school. A brilliant man, but poor teacher. There is an art to conveying information (particularly to a tough group of teens). Not everybody has the character. Those who do hone their skills over years.
Any WHERE problems solved by GIS demands careful thought and planning. Systematic planning focused on what is the problem and how should the solution look. Forget the technology until you have these fundamental questions answered. When you do jump into the tech, make sure the solution is focused on the problem. And most importantly is easy for those who have WHERE questions to get out answers.
Sure you could wander around GIS without help, just like you can wander around Windsor Castle. But getting help, and the right help, will make your journey easier.