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Archive for the ‘ArcGIS Online’ Category

Is GIS really Google Maps on Steroids?

Monday, January 4th, 2016


When you are in conversation and somebody asks what you do for a living, how do you respond?

“I make maps”

“I provide location intelligence to businesses”

“I solve real world problems using geography”

“I work with a technology called GIS”

Over the years I have tried all of the above. And am usually met with the same blank stare or a polite “very nice” response. I find the answer which provides at least a glimmer of understanding is:

“I work with a technology which is like Google Maps on steroids”.

I still cringe every time I say this, but everybody knows Google Maps and by including steroids in this sentence we add the (mental) image of muscle or power.

Is GIS really Google Maps on Steroids?

This is our 2016 reality (see our 2016 predictions). Less the competitive challenge of Google, more perception. We owe thanks to Google for making maps ubiquitous, but now need to overcoming the barrier which has become Google Maps. Googles ending of its march into the enterprise GIS sector – with Google Maps Engine – has drawn a line between a pretty map product (Google) and business solution (GIS). Both have their own unique strengths.


GIS in 2016 = Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity

Monday, December 28th, 2015


Predictions, predictions. I’m not one to go off into la-la land when it comes to looking ahead at this new year for GIS. Drones, 3D, sensors etc I’ll leave to others. I like to go for a more grounded approach, look at what we saw in 2015 and extrapolate into 2016. But I do believe this is a time of huge opportunity for our industry.

GIS in 2016 = Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity

1. Integration of GIS into Business Intelligence (BI) platforms

GIS really forms part of the much bigger world of business intelligence. We can tout location intelligence (LI) until the cows come home. Alone that is a hard sell. But built into BI it becomes another business tool. We have already seen this process begin with the MapBox Tableau integration. We will see more of these integration’s in 2016.

2. New players entering the market

The location technology market is rife with innovation. We will see new players coming into the market in 2016. Many will not use the GIS tag. These companies will be building both new solutions, and better solutions than already exist: that means competition. Traditional GIS solution providers will see new, nimble upstarts enter the market. Lean and mean, these companies will begin to shake up the location technology market. Companies like Novotx who provide asset & work management software.


How are GIS and Spotted Dick Similar?

Friday, December 18th, 2015


Its quiz time. Try out the following, what do these statements mean?

For my American friends: “I’m peckish. I could murder a spotted dick!”

For my British friends: “I’ve been feeling ornery all day.”

For my American friends: “That girl has a fantastic boat race”

For my British friends: “Fred keeps complaining his suspenders are killing him”.

And the translation:

For my American friends: “I’m hungry. I’d love some dessert!” (spotted dick is a delicious dessert)

For my British friends: “I’ve been feeling grumpy all day” (ornery is a real word, which when spoken sounds like horny)

For my American friends: “That girl has a beautiful face” (boat race is rhyming cockney slang for face .. race=face)

For my British friends: “Fred keeps complaining his braces are killing him”. (suspenders are garters in Britain)


Why are you wasting money on ArcGIS?

Friday, December 11th, 2015


This blog post could also have had the title:

Why Waste your Money on ArcGIS?

Yikes! Why would I write a blog post using “waste” and “ArcGIS” in the same sentence?

Its ok relax, i’m not expecting Jack to turn up at our offices any time soon with a big stick!

Read on.

Why are you wasting money on ArcGIS?

I love swiss army knives. Such useful items. More than just a simple knife you get a saw, screw driver, scissors, pliers. On and on. Sure they are more expensive than a simple knife, but you get so much. With such a variety of tools, all of which I use, for me a swiss army knife provides a great return on investment (ROI).


Is Mobile GIS about to take off thanks to Hybrid Laptops?

Sunday, December 6th, 2015


When you have time this holiday season pop into Best Buy. Wander into their laptop section and be prepared for a surprise: 80% of all laptops on sale are 2 in 1 hybrids.

What is a 2-in-1 hybrid? They combine the features of a laptop and tablet into a single device. So one device which provides the best of both worlds. Hybrid laptops are having a huge impact on the computer market. The the 2-in-1 segment will see shipments worldwide jump 86.5% in 2015. These new devices will dramatically affect mobile GIS in 2016 and beyond.


The Evolution of Mobile GIS

Let’s step back for a second. Laptop and PC sales have been in decline for a number of years, as mobile devices have become increasingly more popular. Consumers were the first to jump in, replacing their (clunky) home computers with new, portable, easy to use smartphones and tablets. Society is being transformed by mobile; always connected is today’s mantra.


Today we need to all be GIS salespeople

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015


Sales I hear you say. Yikes!

But its true: today we need to all be GIS salespeople. Why?

GIS is still our technology. Our little secret. The in-crowd get the value and power of a GIS. The multitude of questions GIS can answer. Business questions: saving money, making money.

Want your boss and colleagues to know your true value: sell GIS.

Want your GIS company to grow (exponentially): stop fishing in the same pool, go after the 90% who know nothing about GIS but (without knowing) need it desperately: sell GIS.


What are my Mobile GIS Options?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015


In this post we will provide a quick overview of the 4 options currently available for developing a mobile GIS applications. The most appropriate approach should be determined by your project requirements.

Mobile Web GIS Apps

Web technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. HTML5/Javascript is today the most popular client application technology. Helped by advances in browser technology, HTML5/Javascript now dominates the Web development space, sweeping away technologies like Flash/Flex and Silverlight. With a worldwide development community, 3D and offline are now part of the HTML5/Javascript landscape.

There are today many Javascript frameworks available for building mobile applications. Responsive design allows one mobile web app to automatically style itself based on the device being used.


New-tilities: GIS and Overcoming the Challenges faced by Electric Cooperatives

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015


New-tilities is a new term which refers to the changing world confronting electric cooperatives. Major technology trends are revolutionizing the electric utility industry. New opportunities are being created and threats to the old way of doing business. Electric coop are wrestling with change. GIS or geographic information systems is at the centre of these changes. New developments in GIS are making it easier for electric coops to better manage their organizations. In this article we will dig a little deeper.

New-tilities: GIS and Overcoming the Challenges faced by Electric Cooperatives

What is GIS?

GIS is a system which provides ways to visualize and analyse business critical data geographically. There are 3 core pieces to a GIS:

1. Centralized Authoritative Data

In simple terms GIS provides a central, single source of coop mission critical data. One place to look for asset data for example: poles, fuses, transformers, switches, substations etc

2. Maps

Maps provide an intuitive way to visualize, explore and search for organizational data. Maps are a key output from a GIS. Show me the location of pole x, share outage information for the public on a map etc. Below we have located an asset, the pop up shows the associated data.


Our GIS Emphasis Should be Business Outcomes not Maps

Monday, November 9th, 2015


Its time again to revisit maps. In the surprisingly popular blog post “Please stop calling me the mapping guy” I took exception at being pigeon-holed. I (we) are far more valuable to organizations than simply being seen as producers of maps. We are solution providers. Maps are simply a key output from our work: intuitive and easy to understand. In this post I will broaden the conversation.

Our GIS Emphasis Should be Business Outcomes not Maps

What are business outcomes? There are 5 key components:

1. Profitable growth
2. Customer engagement
3. Business sustainability
4. Productivity
5. Business agility

Five words: growth, engagement, sustainability, productivity, agility. Technology is a key driver behind business outcomes. Innovative organizations are looking for competitive advantages; how to do things better, more efficiently, faster. Business outcomes are not applicable just to private companies, all organizations are focused on improvement.

GIS should be one of the core technology drivers behind business outcomes. It should be a mission-critical business system. And yet adoption remains slow. Why?


Offline Mobile GIS: Finding a Location which has no Address

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Ok so I often say in this blog “we live in exciting times”. GIS is coming out of the shadows. Innovation is taking off. New thinkers are bringing fascinating ideas forward.

I became very interested in work being done by a UK based company called what3words. After meeting Chris Sheldrick the co-founder, we thought it worth spending time looking at their technology and ways to integrate it with ArcGIS.


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