June 11th, 2015
Geographic Information System professionals built an industry on understanding the importance of data in geographic context as an organizational principle and facilitating decision-making by gathering and analysing these data.
They are growing the industry by communicating results in ways that take some of the mystery out of the process, allowing managers to understand information and insights, to offer feedback and to use it creatively and with confidence to predict, react to and even foment change. And those GIS professionals have come to realize that there’s a new responsibility associated with their role: measuring its value.
Where once the work of the GIS professional was used as an adjunct to decision-making, it’s now judged on its contribution to the bottom line, justifying itself through the same means as any other expenditure: return-on-investment.
Managers demand a way to justify increasingly capable – and costly – GIS operations. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to show significant return on investment.
To read the full Earth Imaging Journal “Industry Insights” article in the March/April issue, click here.
I thought it worth following up on John-Isaac Clark’s article Making Sense Out of Google’s Geospatial Evolution. I’ve met John at past geo-conferences. He is Chief Innovation Officer at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology. Thermopylae have built their product suite on top of Google, so the recent changes announced by Google around their geospatial products could have a direct impact on Thermopylae’s business. In some ways Johns blog post was written to reassure his companies existing clients. Aside from this, there are some interesting points made worth discussing.
Google Impact on Geospatial
The launch of Google Maps in the mid 2000’s sent ripples (tidal waves?) across the geospatial industry. Suddenly interactive maps were easy to access and use. The Google Maps interface was beautifully simple. No head scratching was needed to use their maps. And with slippy tiles the user experience was extraordinary. For those of us developing mapping applications, simply finding good base map data was a huge undertaking. Google changed all of that. Rich base map data-sets suddenly became available. That was a huge change. I agree with John that the Google geospatial releases “enabled geo-literacy to be introduced to non-geographic information system professionals”.
GIS professionals create amazingly detailed, accurate, cartographic quality information that can be visualized and analyzed in any number of ways to model complex problems, perform “what if” scenarios, identify hidden patterns and answer questions in ways not possible without GIS.
Yet many organizations are still sharing all that rich GIS information as paper maps or flat images in a PowerPoint, so a lot of that intelligence gets lost on the way to the GIS department’s most important stakeholders.
Ubisense Group plc, a leader in enterprise location intelligence solutions, announced the launch of its new inspection and survey solution at the American Gas Association (AGA) Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition in Grapevine, Texas in May. At the conference, Ubisense’s vice president of networks industry strategy, Jay Cadman, presented and Ubisense demonstrated the capabilities of its new solutions.
Jay Cadman, vice president of networks industry strategy, Ubisense
TerraGo has just released the version 6.7 of most of our core products which focus on bringing GIS-Lite functionality to document workflows under the aegis of our OpenGeoPDF initiative. That’s a mouthful, so I guess it wouldn’t be too bad to shorten it to version 6.7 of our OpenGeoPDF products. In this release, we’ve added two functions which significantly enhance the GIS-Lite capabilities provided by the recently-added Identify tool in Toolbar: search and update of GeoPackage feature attributes.
Search has become an essential paradigm. My once punctilious management of email, each incoming message being tagged and routed to its own place based on an arcane library of rules accumulated over more years than I care to admit in Emacs Gnus has been replaced by a couple of rules for alerting me to things of current urgency, but otherwise I just search to find in an sea of unsorted emails Outlook, at least at work. With Toolbar 6.7, you can search attached GeoPackage for features matching what you type in the search field, get a list of matches, and then you can click the match to see where it is on the map. Double click the match and you’ll zoom to that feature. We had to add additional metadata to the GeoPDF documents to make this all go, and that’s some of what went into Publisher 6.7, including persisting the field names that ArcMap thinks is the most useful to identify a particular feature. Again, using OpenGeoPDF to tie Publisher to its client application Toolbar helps illustrate the connection. I hope Esri clones the feature in their Identify tool — it’s pretty damn useful and cool.
From our work with customers, we are beginning to see the pace of adoption of ArcGIS Online and the ArcGIS Platform pick up. Ever more maps are being published in Online. But for apps, we remain in a world of early adopters.
What do we mean here?
We mean the pace of those deepening their engagement with ArcGIS Online beyond simply map publishing. Below we discuss 6 key challenges slowing ArcGIS Online adoption.
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