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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.

GIS Technology on its own is Useless

August 15th, 2016 by Matt Sheehan

I’m troubled by fixed mindsets. Whether that be personal or corporate. I’m old enough to have experienced the dot com boom. Embedded tech ideas driven mostly by internal ‘brilliance’ than solving real client problems. The ‘if we build it they will come’ approach. Rather like the film Field of Dreams. Fiction!

GIS Technology on its own is Useless

I like the title of this blog post: GIS Technology on its own is Useless. We could take the GIS part of that title away. Technology helps to solve problems. It is not a solution on its own. Read that again.

If we throw technology over the fence at users/clients/colleagues does that solve their problem?

Today’s GIS technology is incredible. But it is only as useful as the problems we know how to solve using GIS. On its own GIS is useless.

Now I am a hopeless cook. In the kitchen I watch my wife in awe. She tells me “Success with cooking is all about preparation, care and attention through the process, and an end goal”. I translate that into:

– What am I going to cook (the problem)?
– What do I hope for an end result (the story)?
– Gathering together the ingredients (the data)
– The cooking process (implementation)
– A delicious meal (solution)

Cooking is not an arbitrary process. It’s not about throwing ingredients together and hoping. It requires understanding, patience and a plan. It’ as much art as it is science.

So what does cooking have to do with GIS?

Success with GIS, just like cooking, is about assembling the right set of ingredients and cooking tools, and following a plan with a focused goal. Ingredients and cooking tools alone do not make for a successful outcome. Understanding, planning, care and attention through the process, and staying focused on the path from problem to solution are key. So yes: GIS Technology on its own is Useless.

Need help solving a problem using GIS? Contact us on 801-733-0723.

Let’s finish with food:

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

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