Archive for the ‘location data’ Category
Friday, March 18th, 2016
I was tempted to title this blog post “I know how to get the most out of GIS .. I think?”. But I’m thinking here about both GIS and non-GIS users.
Much of what I will focus on here is cloud GIS. Cloud is a new paradigm for GIS. A shift from just desktop or Web, to a holistic truly shared system. And its a dramatic change. Esri call it WebGIS:
In simple terms cloud based GIS allows your data to be published, mapped and made available from a central location. You can then view and interact with these maps on any device wherever you might be: in the office, at home, outdoors. Anywhere. No more data stored only on your local PC. No more single source shapefiles. A completely collaborative environment. Cloud based GIS requires new ways to think about and interact with GIS.
Cloud based GIS makes the technology available to everybody
Read that sentence again. That is why so often you hear GIS revolution mentioned. And me harp on about GIS moving from the periphery to the core. Cloud based GIS means we can now integrate GIS with other systems. Big corporations familiar with business systems: CRM’s, ERP’s etc are beginning to use GIS integrated with these systems to answer new location based questions.
Monday, March 14th, 2016
I’m a terrible singer. Just awful. But does that stop me? You bet not. From football songs:
‘We love you Chelsea we do’
To the Bee-Gees (and I do the squeaky, trousers too tight version):
‘We are children of the world’
To Sweater Weather by the Neighbourhood (I might be old but knowing this stuff keeps me in with my teenage kids):
‘Cause it’s too cold whoa For you here’
My wife’s hates it. I say I could learn to be better. She responds “You have neither the time nor the talent. Stick with what you are good at” (wives can be so … truthful). So to today’s topic. Time and talent and getting help.
GIS Help to avoid Singing
We had two very interesting phone calls last week. With the same lovely chap. Two quite different calls. Mapping data and site selection were his two needs. He admitted he knew nothing about mapping, and had neither the time nor the inclination to learn. In our first call we avoided any technical discussion instead staying focused on his needs. After the call we agreed ArcGIS was likely a good potential solution. We also recognised plenty of hand holding was likely needed to help move from problem to solution, given his (and his organizations) lack of GIS experience.
Friday, March 11th, 2016
There is that word curious again. Used in other blog posts I’ve recently written. Its one of my favorite words. Curiosity often leads to discovery. I remember being at university in London when young and finding tides fascinating. My curiosity got the better of me and I spent chunks of a semester learning the intricate details of tides. The discovery process was wonderful.
I first discovered GIS when I came to live in America. It confused the bejesus out of me. But with perseverance (and countless classes) it began to make sense. Though GIS has become my career, my curiosity around GIS continues.
Curious about GIS?
It would seem more and more people are curious about GIS. Many used to (still do) mistake GIS for simple mapping technology. I notice more questions around “What is GIS mapping?” and “What is GIS used for?”. Increasingly there is realisation that much lies behind this technology. New ways to answer both simple and complex WHERE questions; as I like to say.
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
I love a good story. Its actually why I rarely now watch films. Today’s special effects ridden films cannot replace a good tale (see the story free new Mad Max as an example). I’m thinking about 3 Days of the Condor, A Beautiful Mind and so many other films with real stories. Hard to beat.
I’m in story mood today. GIS story mood. Ready?
John is a young, and very driven. A smart guy who started work for a software company less than 1 year ago. Much is expected of him in this new position. Some run away from pressure. That is not John. He has built a new team, and wonders how best to proceed. John’s teams task is to help new markets adopt the software. There are company guidelines he needs to stay within, but he wonders if he should take a tried and tested route, or break new ground? Software sales to those familiar with the software follow a familiar path. Not an easy sale (when is any sale easy), but the approach and language used are familiar. But sales to those new to this technology (its GIS) are quite different. GIS is not learned in 10 mins no matter how simple things become (20 years of working with GIS and I learn something new each day). John’s dilemma: how do I sell software to those new to GIS, without giving them some level of guidance. Checking in once a month he fears will not cut it. He knows GIS is far more than a simple software sale to those unfamiliar with the technology. This keeps him up at night.
Monday, February 29th, 2016
WHERE questions are becoming more and more common. This new interest is increasing demand for GIS and mapping technology. ArcGIS is the most popular WHERE focused platform. But if you are new to this technology it can at first be a little intimidating. In this blog post our goal is to set you on the right track for success with ArcGIS.
Worry about the Technology Last
Too often we overhear conversations which start with the technology. Somebody interested in GIS (this might be you), and with little or no experience, is led down a technical path by a GIS expert. GIS can be confusing even to the most technically savvy. As you start your journey with maps and GIS, in your reading and initial conversations, avoid focus on the technology leave that until last. Sounds an odd suggestion? Keep reading.
Define the Problem
Start with the problem. Do you understand in detail your (or your organizations) challenge or problem which needs a solution? Can you clearly define that problem? For example:
– We need to understand better our insurance risk. Where for example are the homes we are insure which are in high risk areas?
– We are putting in place our disaster management plan, and need a software solution to help manage, analyse and display our data.
– We need to replace our map books with a centralised mapping system.
Monday, January 25th, 2016
Now there is a scary title for a blog post. But really, when you look at your company, products and business plan are you preparing for the new world of GIS?
The cloud and mobile have changed the game. If you are relying on old methods and approaches your business may well hit the rocks over the next few years. Competitors will be looking to steal your crown: start ups run by young, hungry technically savvy folk. We are truly in a time of the new. I’m always hesitant about business books, too many are self promoting and backward looking, but Built to Last provides an interesting analysis on how successful companies adjust to change.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.