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Posts Tagged ‘problem solving’

Open Kimono GIS

Friday, July 15th, 2016

 

If I used the term Open Kimono what comes to mind?

For me its nudity. I’m sorry. Maybe my mind sits in the wrong place, but when a colleague recently used the term when discussing GIS, I raised an eyebrow. So today’s blog post is about getting naked.

Open Kimono GIS

Well not exactly. The smarty pants among you will of course know the term open kimono. The formal definition:

To reveal what is being planned or to share important information freely. Similar to ”open the books” or an “open door policy,” opening the kimono means revealing the inner workings of a project or company to an outside party.

Sorry to disappoint but though we are thinking here about naked, its not in the ‘without clothes’ way. Discovery is where we are going. Specifically problem and story discovery.

I have mentioned in other blog post this notion of stepping back from the technology and focusing on the problem. Too often we jump into GIS projects focused on the technology. Understanding the problem is key. And that doesn’t mean a short conversation, it means having in place what we call a Discovery process.
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Lego and GIS are Easy Right?

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I was born and raised on a small island off mainland Europe. A rainy place, which often drove us as kids indoors. One of my favourite toys when young was Lego. I built simple things with Lego: houses, cars, aeroplanes. Over time the box of pieces grew. I started being creative and building my own simple creations, beyond the step by step guides. It was brilliant.

Building simple things with Lego was easy. One day an older boy asked me if I knew how to build things with Lego. I said yes of course. He needed a structure built for his model railway. He told me the problem and in a perfect world, what he wanted. From his description it all sounded simple. He needed the structure built quickly. I sat down to begin the work. I had all the Lego blocks I needed. Had a description of the problem and goal of the work. I was ready.

Now where to start …… I had absolutely no idea

What did I learn from this experience? Lego is easy if you are solving simple problems. The older boys problem was complex. Sure, I had all the (Lego) pieces to solve the problem but had no idea where to begin.

Today with GIS many are faced with the same challenge

The emergence of GIS platforms is transforming the access, and use-ability of the technology. Publishing maps has never been easier. But answering complex business questions with GIS, that is quite a different matter. Where do we begin, and how do we make better use of our GIS are common questions our customers ask. Like Lego, your GIS might have all the pieces you need (data, configurable application etc) but how do you go from business problem to solution, that is the question?
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How does GIS Cross the Divide?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

We talk often in this blog about the increasing need for answers to WHERE questions. That is what a GIS provides. A common way to visualise the answers to these WHERE questions is through a map. Similar to a chart for spreadsheets. But today GIS lives in an odd place. It is still seen as a mapping solution and not a technology which solves business problems. How do we cross the divide and have GIS seen and used differently? That is the focus of this blog post.

What is the Problem?

I made this mistake the other day. We were in conversation with a real estate company who needed a mobile GIS app developed. They provided a rather confusing picture of what they needed, then asked for a demo from us. I decided to show some examples of mobile GIS functionality, just to help move the conversation forward. MISTAKE. What I should have done is dug deeper. Understood better myself (and maybe more importantly have them understand better) the problem they were trying to solve and the story. I should have followed more closely our from WHERE to THERE process. Showing things we think might interest a client is a mistake we all make. Understand and steer the conversation always towards the problem. How do you propose a solution if you don’t understand the problem?


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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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