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Bridging the gap between GIS business and technical folk

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Most organization have two distinct camps; those on the technical side and those driving the deals, and planning the organizations future path. Contact and communication between each group is usually limited. Often each have their own jargon, acronyms, and reference points.

Those who can truly boast technical know-how with business acumen are a rare breed (fakers are a plenty). But make no mistake these are valuable people.

These are the folks who bridge the gap between each camp. Translators. These are the people who grasp good technical suggestions and ideas, and can translate them into successful business implementations.


Showing ROI for your GIS

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Return on investment or ROI is a slippery fish.

Think about this. My daughters 6 month old uncomfortable football boots (soccer cleats in US) ripped apart last week. $70 down the drain. No doubt a poor ROI.

My $120 Adidas boots sit gleaming in my closet. Sometimes gracing the field. But chronically underused. A poor ROI?

Here lies our little conundrum. How do we define and measure ROI? If we have an expensive resource and it under-performs, we might suggest a poor ROI (the opposite might also apply in the case of over-performing). But what if we under-use or do not fully utilize a resource? (more…)

Getting data into and out of the field

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014


Field data collection has always been challenging. The options have been few: pen and paper or expensive rugged devices loaded with hard to use software. The process was always the same. Send your team out to gather data. At the end of the day pull all the data together (illegible notes, separate shapefiles, collections of digital photos). Collate. Analyse.

The pain Dr Smith!

Today this has been turned on its head. Today we have low cost mobile devices; smartphones and tablets, focused simple to use GIS mobile data collection apps and centrally available (cloud based) data repositories. Teams now collect their data, attach pictures and videos and upload directly to a single shared source or layer. Nothing could be easier. Plus this data is available across the organization in real time. (more…)

GIS today is about doing more with less

Monday, April 14th, 2014

We live in challenging times. As budgets are cut, expectations are we do more with less. We have two options; work harder or work smarter.

Guess which is our preferred approach?

Working smarter means stepping back from your role and daily tasks. Pushing away barriers, both actual and self imposed. We are surrounded by change in GIS; more than that in technology itself. If you stick with tried and trusted methods of getting your work done, you are living in the past. There are better ways. (more…)

Solving the shapefile conundrum: mobile sharing and editing

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

We get this question asked often:

“How do we load a shapefile on our smartphone or tablet, allow our team to edit said shapefile on their respective mobiles, then consolidate all edits back into a single shapefile?”

Ours is a three word answer:

“Use the cloud”

If there is any discussion which best illustrates the power of cloud computing it is this one. Today systems like ArcGIS Online and GISCloud make it easy to publish your shapefiles to a single accessible layer. Now your team can load this single source on their mobile device, make their edits, sync and they are done. Nothing could be easier. (more…)

Avoiding the GIS Nerd Trap

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Being a GIS nerd used to be cool. We’d all get together and talk layers, projections, spatial queries. Good times. Our own language.

But alas things have changed.

Maybe not alas. Sitting in our own GIS corner was beginning to feel a little isolated. GIS is increasingly being used by a much wider group. Many of us now refer to ‘location technology’ in place of GIS. As my wife said when I first introduced the term:

“Now I understand what you do for a living!”


New Applications of GIS 1: Location Analytics in Banking

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


Why title this post ‘New Applications of GIS’?

Location technology and GIS are being used in so many new and exciting areas, we wanted to write about new ideas and applications. Here we discuss applications of GIS in the world of banking, and in particular loans.

Reducing Loan Risk with Location Analytics

Loaning money is at the very heart of our banking system. If we wish to buy a house, a car, remodel; often we will turn to a bank for a loan. But any loan comes with risk to the bank. Thus the paperwork and background checks. Banks need to feel comfortable you are I will pay back this borrowed money. GIS and location analytics in particular are now playing a key part in helping banks in this decision making process.

Today most loan applications are made online. The process involves providing detailed information about your job, and background. Your application is then processed, with credit reports generated and algorithms run to qualify or disqualify your application. This is a person-centric approach. So where does GIS come in?

Location analytics provides the bigger picture. By generating data about where you live; your neighbourhood, banks are provided with a deeper, richer picture. Greater insight means better decision making. This in turn helps to reduce risk. (more…)

The 2014 GIS Revolution Video Series 2: Web GIS

Monday, April 7th, 2014


We are in the midst of a GIS revolution. In the first video in this series we introduced each of the pieces: desktop, Web, mobile and the cloud. This second video discusses Web GIS. Much is changing. Not only technically, but the design and approach. Today Web GIS serves a wide group of users. Web applications are being accessed from multiple different devices: smartphones, tablets and office based PC’s.

This video discussion covers:

1) The Basics – How is Web GIS changing? Here we talk about the new approach to the design Web based GIS applicatons

2) Mobile enabled – Is your Web GIS application useful and useable on a mobile device?

3) Getting started – How do you update existing projects or build new Web GIS applications for your users.


The 2014 GIS Revolution Video Series: Introduction

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

We are in the midst of a GIS revolution. Mobile and cloud technology have widened the access, appeal and scope of location technologies like GIS. In this video series we will discuss this revolution. Look individually and collectively at new Web, mobile and desktop GIS technologies. Provide context and demystify this rapidly changing world. Show how now it is possible to integrate and collaborate over location data across organizations: field staff, analysts, managers and executives. We’ll also look at how the technology is now being used by non-GIS folks for commerce and by citizens.

In this first video we introduce the series.

See the next video in this series on Web GIS.

Feel free to send us your questions and comments.

Retail and the ArcGIS Platform

Monday, March 31st, 2014


We are over-users of the word exciting. But truly these are great times to be working in the location services and GIS fields. Not only is location technology being used more widely and by ever more diverse groups of users, but new sectors and vertical are emerging. Retail in particular presents a fascinating world of opportunity.

Esri have put considerable focus on retail GIS. (more…)

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