GISCafe Weekly Review March 14th, 2016

You may already own a big part of the future of GIS—your smartphone. Here’s how it can transform the way you work.

It’s no secret that geographic information systems have big appetites for data. The demand isn’t slowing. Industry segments including government, utilities, transportation, energy and their mobile workforces are discovering the value of spatial information to managing resources and activities. The trend has produced growing demands for tools to manage and use geospatial data.

In addition to gathering data to create new databases and GIS layers, significant resources are devoted to maintaining spatial data. Once a GIS is populated, its information must be continually refreshed as growth and change affects natural and built environments. Incomplete or out-of-date data can reduce confidence in the accuracy of the GIS, potentially drawing down the value of the information and services it provides. It’s a risk that GIS professionals can’t afford to take.

GIS Help to avoid Singing
March 14, 2016  by Matt Sheehan


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.

Curious about GIS?
March 11, 2016  by Matt Sheehan

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.

FedGIS 2016 Summit: Earth Science as it is Today
March 10, 2016  by Susan Smith

At Esri Federal GIS two weeks ago, there were a number of three-hour presentations called “Summits” that focused on particular areas of expertise and featured many federal agency experts.


A Beautiful GIS Mind
March 10, 2016  by Matt Sheehan

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.

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