July 26, 2004
Training Made Easy
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Message from the Editor -
Welcome to GISWeekly! In an age where organizations are trying to lower their training costs and get users up and running quickly, the Bentley ETS Resource Center sounds like a godsend with its self-service training that can be accessed at the user's convenience.
Also in the education arena, the Industry Trends Analysis Group (ITAG) of the Geospatial Information & Technology Associates (GITA) has produced its sixth annual Geospatial Technology Report, available since April, which is a content-rich, independent survey of technology trends and users feedback that originally set out to be a tool for information exchange and to educate GITA's membership.
Look for next week's Industry News which will feature a story on digital mapping cameras and some news from the ISPRS conference held in Istanbul.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Training Made Easy
By Susan Smith
This week Bentley Systems announced the availability of its ETS Resource Center, Bentley's online learning source. The format is different from other online training offerings we have covered in GISWeekly, in that the “student” can access training offerings whenever and whereever needed, rather than adhering to a set schedule of courses. (see
University Distance Learning Programs) It all sounds very easy: according to the press
release the center “adds a wide portfolio of on-demand resources to Bentley Institute's training offerings and is highlighted by more than 1000 innovative, instructional video clips of product features and workflows . Users can find training immediately, become more productive, and return to work in as little as two minutes.”
The Center offers the following: Feature Clips-- instructional video clips of user tasks, Recorded Virtual Classes--hour-long multimedia presentations covering a range of product features, especially suited for reinforcing training. Nearly 40 recorded classes are available on demand, with new sessions added weekly; Online Classroom Training Guides-- containing all the comprehensive, in-depth information of traditional Bentley Institute classroom courses. These 21 online self-study courses are divided into modules, each taking about an hour to complete.
“Training is among the top two technical challenges facing design firms, according to our 2004 Information Technology Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms,” said Christopher Klein, a principal with management consulting and research firm ZweigWhite. “The on-demand capabilities in the ETS Resource Center will help organizations address that need for training anytime and anywhere.”
In an age where organizations are trying to lower their training costs and get users up and running quickly, the ETS Resource Center sounds like a godsend with its self-service training that can be accessed at the user's convenience. The downside is that users will not have an instructor to call on for tough questions, but it is a beginning and maybe all that is needed in many situations. For more indepth training, Bentley does offer the Bentley Institute and the annual BE Conference.
A Look at the 2003-2004 Geospatial Technology Report - Review
2003-2004 The Geospatial Technology Report
Analysis by Brian Kiernan
Published by the Industry Trends Analysis Group of the Geospatial Information Technology Associates (on CD)
$145 for GITA members
$245 for non-members
Accumulating and analyzing industry survey data holds the promise of greater understanding and confirmation of trends in the industry, and offers us a glimpse of the direction of the future.
The Industry Trends Analysis Group (ITAG) of the Geospatial Information & Technology Associates (GITA) has produced its sixth annual Geospatial Technology Report, which is a content-rich, independent survey of technology trends and users feedback that originally set out to be a tool for information exchange and to educate GITA's membership. But the addition of significant new detail, a growing number of participants, and cumulative data have helped the 2004 report far exceed its original goal.
Areas of detail that were added included:
*Respondents provided more detailed information about how geospatial information technology (GIT) is used
*Respondents provided a breakdown of costs into categories that would be of most interest to readers, that included software, hardware, services and data.
*Expenditures on data were separated by conversion costs versus purchased data of various types.
*New data was gathered about software and hardware-full-use seats versus view-only seats, by provider; number of workstations and servers, including operating systems and manufacturers.
The cumulative value of five years' worth of survey data makes it possible to see trends in the GIT industry, see how they affect utility operations and be able to analyze how that industry will be impacted in the future. In addition, a larger GITA membership participates in the survey, thereby increasing the statistical reliability of the report. The report addressed individual market segments such as utility, gas, pipeline, telecommunications, waste and wastewater and stormwater, public sector.
Many of the figures confirmed what some industry watchers already know. For example, in the past, GITA has been perceived as having an emphasis on electric and gas utilities, but according to the report, that is no longer true. Water and public sector participants are now catching up with utility. However, there were 70 participants in the 2003-2004 utility industry survey and it remains the largest participating market segment, with the most statistically reliable data.
One of the most popular features of the report is the rating of the top 10 applications and technologies in each GIS discipline. The report showed that the use of consultants and conversion companies is declining, a shift that is due to economics and the fact that software vendors have made great strides in the ease-of-use of their products, in addition to peer-to-peer networking on the Internet. This trend will not stay the same, according to the report, as the upgrade of the Electric Utility Transmission Grid (following the August 13, 2003 blackout) will cost an estimated $100 billion and will require a resource of highly trained consultants to implement.
Three implementation approaches were surveyed:
Without giving away the contents of the report, it's safe to impart some of the findings, such as, project costs included new, higher cost levels and expanding the categories to include detail of software and applications, hardware, data and implementation services. Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) data use was detailed and it was discovered that water utilities and public sector GIS users are spending the most on COTS data and imagery.
It was found that between one-third and one-half of all participants were using more than one single GIS platform. As many as two-thirds of all those users were sharing data between systems. The trend of GIS companies to partner up in 2003 to offer integration between their products - evidenced by ESRI and Bentley, and other top players such as MapInfo, Autodesk and Intergraph, is now being reflected in users who increasingly use the native functionality in their GIS systems to move data back and forth.
All in all, the report is an important resource for GIS professionals, IT managers, users, -- anyone seeking to keep a finger on the pulse of the geospatial industry, who wants to know what technologies will be shaping the future of that industry in the years to come.
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