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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.

Does GIS hand holding mean I’m a girly-man?

April 24th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan

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.

By now you can guess where this post is gently moving. New path, curiosity, hand holding and guidance. These all ring so true in today’s world of GIS. There are new possibilities, far wider and approachable than we ever imagined.

How we get there is key!

Either those of us within GIS will lead or others from outside our industry will take the initiative. GIS is fundamentally a tool to solve business problems. Sure it has a ‘mapping technology’ past. This is now messaging and a perception we need to shed (as I often ask, do we describe business intelligence software as charting technology?). As the number of WHERE questions asked by the enterprise grow we need to be ready to step in to help provide answers.

Companies like ours see ourselves as GIS hand holders. What do I mean here? We guide clients from WHERE problem to solution. We hold their hand through the process.

Increasingly we work with others in GIS. We all bring unique skillsets. Working together we provide the best client solutions. There has never been a more important time for those of us in GIS to walk together, as we move down new paths with our clients. At WebMapSolutions not only are we working with other GIS companies but with those outside the industry, particularly those in business analytics and intelligence. Clients want answers to business problems. They care about the solution not the technology. So let’s stop thrusting technology in their faces and hold their hands to a solution. Together.

Let’s finish with that scene from the Jungle Book

Have a WHERE question in need of an answer? Contact us on 801-733-0723.

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

2 Responses to “Does GIS hand holding mean I’m a girly-man?”

  1. MIBU says:

    Hey leiberal Matt, is “girly man” a liberal regressive sanctioned PC term?

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