Monthly Archives: December 2014
Four Guidelines for the New GIS Professional
The GIS platform helps you visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. As a GIS professional, you make the GIS platform valuable and successful. You are the champion of geography-based decision making across your organization. You define and drive the adoption and application of spatial technologies.
From tightly scripted software code to the cloud, understanding our history can help guide us in building the technology of the future.
[Note: This is latest post in our series about Managing GIS.]
There is much we can learn from our past. Each technology advance has been a tradeoff between heavier processing loads and deploying software that was easier to build and maintain. Faster hardware processors and improved network bandwidth provide opportunities for more software innovation. As platform and network capabilities improve, new advances in software move technology forward at an increasingly rapid pace.
Software development history gives us insight into the basic principles that guide us in building the technology of the future. The figure below provides a high-level overview of the major GIS technology changes over the past 20 years. Continue reading
A COTS-based approach insures your applications will stand the test of time.
[Note: This is latest post in our series about Managing GIS.]
“Government agency leaders recognize that pre-recession business models are not sustainable, and are willing to pursue radical service changes by making targeted IT investments.”
This quote from Gartner is one I use frequently, because I think it says a great deal about our situation in the GIS industry today. The game plan we used in the late 2000s is no longer sustainable. Even if GIS professionals don’t immediately recognize it, IT and agency directors do, and they are ready to spend money on it. In this installment of our Managing GIS series, we’ll take a look at why that is and how it impacts today’s GIS professionals when it comes to applications. Continue reading
Singles who can afford to spend on themselves have become a formidable consumer market.
In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced that selfie, defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” was their Word of the Year.
But there’s another definition. Economist Edward Yardeni uses “selfies” to describe singles who can spend on themselves or save for later because they’re not supporting a family, saving for college, or paying off a mortgage. William Frey of the Brookings Institute states in the City Families; Suburban Singles report, “More than 80 percent of nonfamily households are single persons living alone; of these, more than one-third are 65 years and older.” More than 125 million people are single in the US; more than half of all US adults are unmarried. From seniors to Millennials, selfies are found in every age, race, and income group. Continue reading
Turning big data into knowledge is all about relevance and context
Big data may be all the rage these days, but it isn’t exactly new. In fact, Esri has been dealing with big data since the inception of digital mapping more than three decades ago. When every contour, stream, street, rail line, park, building, or shoreline for the entire world is stored in an intelligent database, data doesn’t get much bigger than that.
Data as Big, Beautiful, and Living as the Earth
Back in 1992, Esri embarked on an ambitious campaign to create the very first seamless digital map and database of the whole world. This project—aptly named the Digital Chart of the World—converted paper maps of political boundaries, transportation lines, utilities, cultural landmarks, and more into a digital map product that could be viewed for the first time as something other than a pretty picture. In a world where CDs were still considered new and expensive storage media, and hard drives came in hundreds of megabytes, the 1.7 gigabyte database was not only huge, but it also challenged many computer specification and storage architectures. Continue reading
To address private sector competition, organizations need a strong platform to support customer needs.
While national map, chart, and data production (MAPS) organizations have long been recognized as the source of authoritative maps and mapping data, they are currently struggling to retain that unique position and, consequently, their funding, due to increased competition from the private sector.
Commercial map providers not only have the ability to quickly collect mapping data but also to package and distribute it in a way that resonates with businesses and government agencies. Because these commercial map providers are able to bring together data and services and deliver them on the Internet and in mobile environments, customers expect the same capabilities from their national MAPS organizations. MAPS organizations must move from solely being data providers to integrating and delivering information products including maps, data, web services, and apps, using a common platform delivered through Web GIS. Continue reading
Firewalls protect web-based GIS from the dangers of the cloud
When I was interning at a power company, the utility industry had just adopted a revolutionary technology: SCADA. Today, SCADA is so common most people don’t even bother to spell out the acronym (supervisory control and data acquisition system). But back then, SCADA was controversial. It eliminated the need for substation operators.
Utilities staffed operators who could act immediately in an emergency. They closed breakers, put out fires, and called for help. They checked fluid levels and did maintenance, cleaning, and inspections. They made the rounds, took the readings, spoke to the dispatchers, and made sure everything ran smoothly. Continue reading
In December 2014, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri announced the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units map in the world. This exciting global data set provided a science platform for better understanding and accounting of the world’s resources. Scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers, and the public use this map to improve regional, national, and global resource management, planning, and decision making.
Location analytics gives global manufacturers new visibility into each stop on the way to the shopper
When pork was found in Ikea’s moose lasagna in Europe, as you can imagine, this had significant ramifications with both the Jewish and Islamic communities.
Cadbury suffered a major brand debacle because swine DNA was found in candy bars for sale in Malaysia—a predominantly Muslim nation.
What if we could see every touch point and monitor all the processes that are necessary at this vast global scale to get that chicken nugget safely from a meat packing plant to your toddler’s table? Continue reading
Asking questions and developing answers using a common vocabulary leads to better decision making.
As discussed in a previous post, spatial analysis can be viewed as a kind of common language used across an organization. It starts with a set of questions, such as Where are things located in the world?, What is nearby?, and How are things connected?, and then sets about answering those questions by leveraging the power of GIS.
Imagine a bank with a number of different branch locations, along with locations of all the customers they service in a specific geographic region. The bank can use spatial analysis to better balance its service to these customers based on drive time analysis and delineate geographic areas with similar capacity. Continue reading