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 Mobile GIS & LBS
Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

How are GIS and Spotted Dick Similar?

 
December 18th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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)

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Why are you wasting money on ArcGIS?

 
December 11th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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).

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

 
December 6th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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.

Why?

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.

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Today we need to all be GIS salespeople

 
December 2nd, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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.

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What are my Mobile GIS Options?

 
November 18th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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.

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

 
November 11th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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.

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Our GIS Emphasis Should be Business Outcomes not Maps

 
November 9th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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?

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Offline Mobile GIS: Finding a Location which has no Address

 
November 4th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

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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Water Utilities: GIS has Changed Have You?

 
October 26th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

Water utilities both big and small are faced with a range of different challenges. A recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) report listed but a few:

1. Condition of water/wastewater infrastructure
2. Water scarcity/supply
3. Drought potential
4. Customer/community relations
5. Emergency planning and response
6. Government regulations
7. Managing assets

New technology is today helping to provide solutions to these challenges. Key among these technologies is GIS.

Water Utilities: GIS has Changed Have You?

GIS is not new. It is a technology which today is undergoing dramatic changes. Changes which are making it easier to afford, access and use. So what are these changes?

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Changing Workflows is the key to Commercial GIS Success

 
October 19th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

GIS is widely understood to be mapping technology. Answering questions like “How do i get from A to B?”. It is true that maps are the common output from a GIS, but in reality the technology answers any and all location based questions. In the commercial sector these are often questions which today go unanswered. But, as we will discuss in this post, staying focused on and changing workflows is the key to commercial GIS success.

Changing Workflows is the key to Commercial GIS Success

Let’s start by discussing what we mean by workflows with some examples:

Property Listing in Real Estate

Workflow: “Today to list a new property on our web site or listings service, we first visit the property and make notes, take pictures. Next we input this information into a computer system. Once completed we update our web site with this new information, and share the listing with public property listing services.”

Challenge: Getting a new property listed so we can start marketing and selling can take up to a week.

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