Archive for the ‘Web and mobile GIS’ Category
Monday, April 11th, 2016
I thought Adam Carnow’s recent LinkedIn post was terrific: Why hasn’t my GIS Manager showed me this?. Adam and I share similar thoughts when it comes to spreading the word about GIS. We should all now be actively involved in outreach; showing colleagues and customers the power of cloud based GIS (WebGIS).
I’m going to advance Adam’s discussion a little more here. There is a theme in the comments on his article: “Lack of understanding (platform components, concepts, benefits)”. To put this a different way: now you have discovered you have more tools in your toolbox than you knew, what should you do next?
I’ve found the only way to understand and share benefits, is by doing. Finding a problem to solve with WebGIS. Narrow your focus. Forget the complexity. Is there an organizational problem you can solve using GIS? A project which will help pull the pieces together for you? A solution which would get the attention of management? Start there.
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.
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?
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.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
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.
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.”
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.
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.