Monthly Archives: October 2015

Building an Actionable GIS Change Management Plan

Change Management is a topic that leaders have been challenged with since the beginning of time. Pretty much all change faces at least some resistance.   As such, scholars have been researching the psychology of this entrenched resistance for years to establish best-practices for managing this resistance.  Emphasis on “managing” as eliminating resistance is an unrealistic goal.  One such scholar in this field is Dr. Peter Gollwitzer at New York University.  The theory developed is one that takes into account why plans fail.  He determined that broad goals, while sounding nice, lack the needed connection to tactics.  In other words, stakeholders lack the clear direction on how to execute on the plan.   The prescribed solution from the research in this arena is having a plan communicated in Implementation Intention format.  Simply stated, this creates a plan that is communicated in “if-then” statements.  For the sake of building your GIS strategy, think of this as “Action-Outcome” statements to define the actions that the team will take with the ArcGIS Platform to generate a stated outcome.   When doing this, make sure to include in the action part of the statement when the said action will occur.   For example:

“If we implement ArcGIS Online by Q2 2016, then we’ll be able to utilize Story Maps to communicate our project work with the public to support our public outreach strategic initiative.” Continue reading

Posted in Managing GIS | 4 Comments

GIS: Getting Inspections Smarter

An electricity manhole is a little room buried in the street or sidewalk and is where utility workers access electric cables, switches, and other dangerous stuff. (In the old days, the majority of workers were men, so the term “manhole” stuck.) When a cable fails, workers splice together new and old sections—inside these manholes. Workers enter the manhole through a round entry, usually covered by—you guessed it—a heavy manhole cover. Inside, manholes are hot, dangerous, and creepy. If a cable fails, it generates a lot of heat and sometimes fire. Any debris caught in the manhole will worsen the fire. And if things explode, those heavy manhole covers go flying.

The ArcGIS platform can help utilities better manage data and workflows, ensuring that inspections make sense and go off without a hitch.

To keep operations running smoothly, manholes should be inspected and cleaned of all debris. Continue reading

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Challenging Banks to Take an Uber-like Approach to Innovation

Today’s shopping takes place mainly via credit and debit cards that are linked directly to banks. Stores use details from your bank so you can buy online on the Web and through branded apps. While newer mobile payments from Apple, Google, and others are starting to cause disruption to this, basically the model is the same. Details are provided to a third party who brokers the sale when sufficient funds are available to cover the purchase.

This is causing some to view branches as increasingly irrelevant. Why? Because mobile transactions like payments and deposits (you can take a picture of a check while lounging at your home now, for example) are removing the reasons consumers need to visit a bricks-and-mortar bank.


Scaling up service to change the model

Financial institutions are missing out. What if institutions with 18th century business ideas took an Uber-like approach to innovation? Instead of a collection of apps on a customer’s phone, what if there was only one?  And what if that app was for the consumer’s bank, not a store? Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | 2 Comments

Lifting the Veil on Cuban Trade

A new story map lets us see what has happened in the past, and what might happen in the future, as the US trade embargo with Cuba is lifted.

Finding itself under the magnifying glass of world economists after recent political changes, trade with Cuba deserves a fresh look. Almost a year has passed since the United States and Cuba announced that diplomatic ties would be restored after nearly half a century of trade embargo between the two countries. There are some interesting opportunities for the US and implications for other nations too.

One change many economists expect is that US agricultural exports to Cuba will increase, driving economic growth and an appetite for higher-value commodities that will benefit both economies.

Let’s take a look at Cuba’s trade through the years and see if we can gain some insight into the future by looking at information from the past. Working with partner Datamyne, we created a new story map to easily view trade statistics. Continue reading

Posted in Storytelling with Maps | 1 Comment

How Spatial Analysis Kept My Wife Safe during Hurricane Joaquin

When Disasters Strike, GIS Can Help Hospitals Care for Staff

Hurricane Joaquin brought record rainfall to much of the Southeast this fall, flooding entire towns throughout South Carolina and closing major highways. As the storm heightened to a state of emergency, challenges for hospitals intensified too—from relying on shuttled water to complying with boil-water advisories and facing evacuations.

When emergencies such as these strike, hospitals’ top priority is to ensure that patients are safe, even if that means staff must work back-to-back 12-hour shifts and stay in the hospital overnight before being reunited with their families. My wife, a pediatric nurse in South Carolina, experienced these challenges firsthand. While trying to focus on caring for her patients, worrisome questions ensued: Is my family in danger? Is there flooding in my neighborhood? Will I be able to travel home safely? Continue reading

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Why I Like Property Tax

One day, I received a dreadful phone call at work. It was my neighbor. “Brent, there’s a fire truck outside your house.”

I raced home and, within minutes, my house was engulfed in flames. Three quarters of everything we owned: incinerated.

Thankfully, many special family items were rescued, including hundreds of irreplaceable photos—we have the local fire department to thank for that. Three huge fire trucks and at least 15 firemen worked well into the night dousing our house before the flames were completely extinguished.

I have no idea what it cost, but I’m really glad I didn’t receive a bill. Imagine receiving a bill for all municipal services. Did you know that road paving costs about $95 per ton of asphalt? Or that each high school student costs about $10,000 per year to educate? What if we received a bill for a bad guy being arrested in our county? What if you had to consider the cost of an ambulance before calling 911? Many essential services are paid for with property tax. Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | 5 Comments

Living Atlas Resources for Earth Science Week and Beyond

Bioclimates in and around the Eastern Himalayas

It is Earth Science Week! Since October 1998, the American Geosciences Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain appreciation and understanding of Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. We want to … Continue reading

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Location, Location, Location: Everything or Nothing

I work with amazing people in real estate. They’re dedicated, intelligent, and talented yet I’m constantly surprised by how much their careers and prosperity vary. It isn’t that anyone is more ambitious than the others or that they have more to begin with. What I’ve noticed is that those who excel learn what really works and keep learning. We all heard Thomas Edison’s quote that “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” But does it have to be that way? I don’t think it does. For me, Edison’s less famous quote “Opportunity is missed by most people because it looks like work” is much more revealing. Let me explain why.


What is the difference?

The difference in these two outlooks lies in how you regard the application of learning, a.k.a. your knowledge, experience, and habits. Every day we use information to get ahead in business and information is the root of success. Unfortunately we can lose sight of what we don’t know, what information we don’t have, and suddenly we are not succeeding. We’re outperformed and outsmarted by those we should beat. Continue reading

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Live from EGGC 2015: Startups Showcase – How Esri’s Startup Program Drives Change

EGGC

Over the past 25 years, the annual Esri Electric and Gas GIS Conference (EGGC) has become the largest annual geospatial event for utility professionals in the world. This year’s conference focuses on how utilities can employ the latest GIS technology … Continue reading

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