Open side-bar Menu
 Mobile GIS & LBS

Posts Tagged ‘GIS’

Splitting, Expanding, Maturing, Polarizing …. GIS is Changing

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Splitting, bifurcating, expanding, maturing, polarizing …. GIS is changing.

We are living through a time of transformation in our industry. The advent of cloud and mobile technology has put much focus on location, and technology which is location focused. That’s our technology. Demand is growing from outside our industry for the output from a GIS: mapping, analysis, discovery and more.

But the question has to be asked: are these winds of change internally driven or fueled by this new demand?

Splitting, Expanding, Maturing, Polarizing …. GIS is Changing

The recent blog post I wrote asking the question “Is GIS Splitting?” was met with a large response. Splitting suggests two or more disparate parts. Joe Francica at Directions Magazine in a podcast discussing the question suggested maturing or expanding (note, the term “splitting” was used in the original post to start the conversation. I agree with Joe and most of those who responded, that GIS is actually expanding).

Brian Haslam provided some interesting feedback on this question:

“My viewpoint comes from nearly 25 years of Esri GIS experience with local government. I prefer to put the focus on GIS expanding to meet unique workflow needs where it has not been traditionally used or the use has been marginal. As organizations see their GIS as their most up-to-date authoritative data, which can be rendered as a map (reports, tables, charts, etc.), and can provide spatial analytically tools for decisions support, use of the GIS explodes throughout for specialized and other uses.”

Terminology aside, there is a strong suggestion that two clear-cut communities are evolving: “old and new” (note, though i will use these terms in this post I actually prefer “traditional” and “emerging”). And that the marketplace is driving this divide. The “old” serves predominantly the current user community. While the “new” is focused on the newly emerging user base.

Joe Berry commented as follows:

“My minor contribution to the discussion is two-fold:

1) The root source of the divergence is the level of understanding of the full potential of geotechnology (both in the developer and user communities); and,

2) Geotechnology advances are effectively driven by the marketplace (users, not developers).”

Finding a Common Language

Geospatial, geotechnology, geomatics, Géomatique, mapping ….

We have developed our own language. The language of geospatial. Discussions continue on our somewhat insular vernacular. See this discussion started by Joe Berry on this topic. One respondent I think sums things up nicely:

“All the names and acronyms we use among industry-insiders really don’t work well at all for outsiders. All seem to leave puzzled looks and beg the need for more explanation.”

I’ve never hidden my dislike for the term geospatial. It is off-putting, confusing and to some degree intimidating to those outside the industry. Maybe most importantly it poorly communicates what we do. As the conversation Joe started suggests, old GIS is happy with our current vernacular, while new GIS sees change (additions/updates) as essential to help communicate with, and provide solutions to the new user base.

A new Breed of Geographer

GeoSpatial practitioner, geospatial developer… location specialist

Any GIS client solution is a combination of input from trained geospatial experts, often geographers, and geospatial developers. As Clark Beattie puts it:

“I’ve been in this business for 45 years and seen many changes over that time, most of them for the good. I view GIS as a spectrum which starts with the G part and ends with the IS part. The percentage of spectrum used in a given situation depends on how the geospatial science needs to be applied and the knowledge/capabilities/skills of the practitioner. Some solutions need more G and others more IS. In any given solution one [G nor IS] can’t exist without the other and their appropriate combination makes the GIS work.”

I agree with Clark, this status-quo serves old GIS well. But for new GIS, are we missing a third expert or at least skillset? Those who can understand the challenges faced by the “new” user base. Who can talk a common language and present appropriate understandable approaches and solutions.

Again Joseph Berry:

“The ‘old and new’ paradigm gaps for both the developers and users are at least partially the result of geospatial education’s focus on ‘Specialist’ training with commercial software; and to some degree a movement away from the development of “flagship” software to “business case” solutions”

There is little doubt that GIS practitioners are worried about their future. They see their value as eroding, and wonder if they should become more certified (GISP) or learn programming. Publishing a map is one thing, understanding the data and concepts is quite another. Ever more computer scientists are learning GIS concepts, and applying their IT skills within our industry.

But this proposed third group (I’ll call them location specialists) is rare. There is no training or even widespread recognition of their need. But for new GIS to flourish we need ‘translators’. We need individuals, who understand the challenges faced by the wider ‘non-GIS’ community. Who can bridge the divide, and communicate spatial solutions to a new set of problems, targeted at a new diverse group of users.

One can speculate on the source of these ‘translators’. Maybe from two directions — analytically thinking GIS’ers and spatially thinking domain experts. Since GIS education has not made its way across campus, the latter group remains small. The widespread adoption of SpatialSTEM at the college level, is potentially very important.

Conclusion

There seems little doubt there is a shift underway in our industry. A new very large potential user base has emerged, which is driving change. As an industry we are in the recognition and defining phase. And there is plenty of resistance.

To quote Joseph Berry again:

“Regardless, folks both outside and inside the field need to recognize that digital maps have taken us well “beyond mapping” to entirely new ways to collect, process, analyze and display mapped data and spatial information.”

My opinion is that we will over time see greater recognition of this divergence, and an increasing effort on the part of our industry to bridge the emerging divide. Old GIS continues business as usual. Those focused on new GIS are entering new uncharted territory. Opportunities and challenges abound.

As the saying goes change is good. At the minute two communities have emerged inside our industry: the “old” and “new”. Will they coalesce or remain separate? Only time will tell.

Agree. Disagree. Thoughts?

Let me know matt.sheehan@webmapsolutions.com

What do we mean by GIS Integration?

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

In previous blog posts we’ve discussed the split in GIS. Not so much a split in the core technology, but in the users served and thus solutions provided. Traditional GIS will continue to support GIS professionals. “New” GIS is now serving a far wider user base. These are users who want to move beyond charts and graphs and visualize data on maps.To query business data based on location. These are users who want to replace their use of pen and paper while in the field, with mobile GIS. They want have access to maps and data in both populated (connected) and remote (disconnected) areas. There is much much more.

Its an exciting future. But just how do we bring GIS to this wider set of users?

Through integration that is how.
(more…)

The GIS Industry is Splitting?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

I’m just back from presenting at the GeCo in the Rockies Conference. My first time in Grand Junction. A sleepy town surrounded by amazing scenery, with the beautiful Colorado River on its doorstep. For me, this felt like a conference of contrast. Traditional meets new. Its fascinating to watch how the GIS industry is changing. This was the first time I fully realised that we are in the midst of a split. Hard core GIS professionals continue to ply their trade. Locked up in modelling, developing and using apps with the traditional GIS look, feel and workflows. New GIS is charting a new and different course.
(more…)

Mobile GIS Planning Guide

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

 

We’ve just released a new mobile GIS planning guide. This free eBook will walk you through each of the key areas which need consideration when moving forward with a mobile GIS project. Web versus native, choice of cloud GIS technology, offline, mobile app choice and mobile GIS frameworks will all be discussed. These are exciting times for GIS. Mobile and cloud technology are transforming how and where GIS is being used. This guide should help you get your mobile GIS project off the ground.

(more…)

Does conformity allow for GIS creativity?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

 

Yikes, now that is a question: does conformity allow for GIS creativity?

But it is worth pondering. We encourage our children to think for themselves, to be creative, be individual thinkers. And yet we live in a world where one is expected to conform. In both action and thought.

Conform in action and thought?

In work we concern ourselves with pleasing bosses, not rocking the boat, remaining within organizational constraints. Ok, that is maybe an overstatement. But we are first and foremost concerned with conformity, not moving out of step. That is not all bad. But where does that leave creativity and individual thinking?

(more…)

I don’t understand your GIS web site, and product offering!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

 

Don’t you hate that. Thinking: I don’t understand your GIS web site, and product offering!

It might look nice, be very professional. But leaves you no wiser as to the product or services offered than before you started browsing. What a waste. Maybe the product is as empty as the Web site. But maybe not. If the latter, you are blowing it royally.

I came across a great example the other day. I know the company well. Know their staff, and the great work they do. They have just launched a new GIS mobile solution suite. A tonne of work has gone into this, their first true products. But visit the Web site and …. you’ll see polish and professionalism, some high level descriptions, mostly marketing messages, but are left with little else. Just ‘Contact us for more Info’.

(more…)

Where do great GIS ideas come from?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

 

Its a question worth asking: where do great GIS ideas come from?

I attend plenty of conferences. Its always a pleasure to see how companies and individuals are applying the technology. Always, there are a small group who stand out. Those with unique ideas and products. These are often breathtakingly simple. See Valarm and their work with monitoring and sensors for an example.

Where do great GIS ideas come from?

So do innovators sit in dark rooms on stormy nights pen in hand, feverishly scribbling down ideas?

(more…)

Should you build a mobile GIS app for Apple devices only?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

We often have clients come to us and request we build a mobile app for iPad and/or iPhone. Our first question, before touching on functionality is: should you build a mobile GIS app for Apple devices only?

There are many reasons why building a mobile GIS app for just one platform (Apple iOS in this case) makes sense. Maybe your staff all have, and love, iPads and iPhones. They are comfortable with Apple products, and your IT department is set up to support iOS devices alone. I know many iOS fans who would cringe at the suggestion of switching to Android, for example. Apps which run on Apple devices are usually (and we will come back to this) written in a programming language called Objective-C. A language unique, or native, to Apple.

(more…)

Using Mobile GIS to Help Mineral and Energy Sector Regulation and Management

Monday, June 30th, 2014

 

Mobile GIS is exciting. It offers a new ways for field based staff to get their work done more efficiently, and provide more accurate data. Energy sector regulation and management have many challenges. Field surveys are often done in remote areas outside of mobile communication coverage. Data collection still relies on a disjointed combination of equipment. New mobile GIS technology offers potentially dramatic improvements in how Mineral Exploration Regulation Teams get their work done. We will discuss a new integrated approach in this article.

Mobile GIS and Energy Sector Regulation

Its worth providing some background on a typical scenario for mineral and energy activity regulation.

Mineral Exploration Regulation Teams

Much of the work done by mineral exploration regulation teams is centred on monitoring ground exploration activities. Comparing reported activity and impacts, against what is observed. Field inspections are typically ground based and often done in remote areas. Off-road 4WD vehicles and possibly air support may be needed depending on the activity, urgency of an inspection, the availability of staff and accessibility of sites. There are other dependencies on ground conditions such as weather, agricultural and cultural practices.

(more…)

It is amazing what is now possible with mobile and cloud GIS

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

 

Let’s keep this mobile and cloud GIS theme moving forward. We’ve spoken in this blog about the realities, as we see them, of GIS in 2014. Chris Cappelli at Esri talks about muscle memory. Its a good analogy. Mobile and cloud GIS remain a tough sell. Do they provide anything new? In many ways no: if you have deep pockets anything is possible. But that is the point, few of us have deep pockets, and all of us are looking to do things better, quicker and cheaper. And that is what we get with mobile and cloud GIS.

You want proof?

Its time for demos I think. Let’s show what is now possible. From data collection, to focused customised, cloud based GIS Web apps to location analytics for business users. (more…)

Teledyne Optech
University of Denver GIS Masters Degree Online
CADalog.com - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.



Internet Business Systems © 2017 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes EDACafe - Electronic Design Automation GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise