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Archive for the ‘location data’ Category

With GIS be Single Minded, Determined and Driven

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

 

This is a blog post about not giving up. Forgive me for dipping back into sport (I try to avoid sports analogies), but I wanted to share a story which illustrates well the message in this post.

A friend of mine recently joined a new soccer team. A good team filled with Brazilian players. But a high pressure team, mistakes were met with loud criticism. Good play went unmentioned. My friend is a good player but had much to prove. He did not start the first 2 games, and when brought on was played in an unfamiliar position. By his description he felt the games went okay. His own performance was ‘safe’ as he described. He started the third game. A cup game. And lasted 10 minutes before being hauled off with the team down by 3 goals, none down to my friend. He felt rotten. He waited out the next 35 minutes on the sidelines, not called back into the game. A mixture of emotions and thoughts went through his head: anger, unfair, give up, doubt.
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Can GIS Help the Mad Hatter?

Friday, May 20th, 2016

 

As the Mad Hatter says:

“I’m late. I’m late. For a very important data. No time to say hello, goodbye. I’m late. I’m late. I’m late.”

Ours is a Mad Hatters world. Fast paced. And getting faster. Decisions increasingly need to be made yesterday. In this blog post we will consider making business decisions fast and where GIS fits.

Can GIS Help the Mad Hatter?

I’m going to rephrase our question: Is GIS a 3 click solution? Is it a software solution which might help those who are moving quickly like the Mad Hatter….

My answer to this question is definitely YES. And definitely NO.

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

Why Yes – GIS IS a 3 click solution

Today GIS has become an in demand technology. Let me re-phrase that: more WHERE questions are being asked by more people. Traditional users of GIS have been swelled by the addition of non-GIS users. Business users in particular are looking for answers to questions traditional BI platforms cannot answer. People are realising GIS is far more than mapping technology. It can analyse and answers complex WHERE questions: Where should we open a new store? Where is our highest flood risk exposure? Where will be the greatest impacted areas of an oil spill?
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GIS are you selling or solving?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

 

Selling versus solving seems lately to keep coming to my attention. I’ve watched, heard from others and experienced directly a sales pitch in place of solution discussion. In my case we have been looking for a BI platform to integrate with GIS to solve a particular client problem. So doing my due diligence I reached out to various BI vendors. And what was I met with? A features fest.

“Our platform can do this and that and comes with all these super useful apps and tools. You can configure this and that. Do it yourself or have us help”.

Overwhelming, and frankly bloody useless. Did they once ask about the problem which needs solving? …… Nope.


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

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

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.
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Deconstructing the problem to find a solution using GIS

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Last night was heart wrenching. My daughters U15 soccer team began their new season after promotion, last year, to the top P1 bracket. Up against the best teams in this age group in Utah, last night they played the best team in P1: Celtic Storm. A fast, good passing team with top players in all positions. Our Blue Knights team started on the back foot. Though under pressure and feeling panicked in possession, they held firm. 0-0 at half time. The second half started much like the first, resolute defending relying on break away’s. Celtic were becoming frustrated. But kept pressing. We were tiring but still in the game forcing their goalkeeper into an outstanding save. Still 0-0. Then with 20 seconds left. Celtic crossed from the right. A mis-communication between defender and goalkeeper and an easy tap in for the Celtic forward. 1-0. And end of the game.

I fell to my knees in despair.

How then does this related to GIS? Patience dear reader.

After the game, the coach and I sat down and started deconstructing. Forgetting, for a moment, the many positives we saw during the game.
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GIS and the Queen of England

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

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.

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ArcGIS or Google Maps?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

This is a question we are asked often: should we use ArcGIS or Google Maps to solve our WHERE challenge?

You know our usual answer……. it depends!

ArcGIS or Google Maps?

Why would we say that, aren’t Esri and Google bitter rivals, offering similar mapping solutions?

Actually No.

Your choice depends very much on your WHERE challenge. Let’s provide two examples.

1) Bike Trail Map – Imagine your WHERE challenge is sharing with bikers the route of a trail. You have collected data on the trails route, drinking fountains, restrooms etc en-route, have taken photos at various points on the trail and would like to include a directions option for those trying to find the trail. What stands out here in this description? Simplicity. This is a simple WHERE question. Though ArcGIS can provide a solution, the simplicity here lends itself well to Google.


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Approach GIS like you would a doctor’s appointment

Friday, April 1st, 2016

doctor GIS 

Nobody likes going to visit the doctor. It usually means there is a problem. A problem for which you are looking for a solution. Here is an all too common conversation between patient and doctor:

Doctor: How can I help you today?

Patient: I have a terrible pain in my knee.

Doctor: What did you do?

Patient: I was tackled while playing soccer and fell awkwardly. How much will it cost to fix my knee do you think?

Doctor: We will need to run some tests.

Patient: Ok, the tests will be free I presume. I really just want to know approximately how much fixing my knee will cost.

Doctor: Tests take time, and give us an accurate picture of your problem so we can provide a solution. And no our time (and expertise) is not free.

Okay, that is not a real conversation. Nobody would ask a doctor such cost based questions. In fact as soon as we walk in the door of a doctors office the $ clock starts ticking.
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Are you the Eddie the Eagle of GIS?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

 

You know Eddie the Eagle. The fearless British Olympic ski jumper. With only 2 years worth of experience a man who competed against others who had been jumping since childhood. Looked down upon by the horrid British toffs who still control skiing in the country.

Though he finished in last place at the Calgary Olympics, Eddie was the peoples favourite. Why? Because against all odds he trained and won a place to compete in the Olympics. Over the course of his career, Eddie fractured his skull twice and broke his jaw, collarbone, ribs, knee, fingers, thumbs, toes, back and neck. He lived hand to mouth, saving all his money for training. Eddie embodied the Olympic adage:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

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5 Things GIS can learn from Donald Trump

Monday, March 21st, 2016

 

As a Brit living in the US, I do find the theatre that is American politics amusing. It would seem little changes whoever becomes President. And yet in the run up to the election we all have to suffer this onslaught of debates, discussions, opinions. On and on.

This election season is particularly charged. The presence of Donald Trump seems to have stirred the pot. An odd character. It would seem a person Americans either adore or loath. I was thinking about the presidential elections over the weekend and realised we in GIS have much to learn from Donald Trump.

Keep things Simple

Some might argue that it is the candidate who is simple. But take a look at his messaging, like it or hate it, simplicity is at its core. No need to explain. Whether we are talking to clients or our non-GIS colleagues, we in GIS need to keep our messaging just as simple.

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