I always hesitate when I include the word GIS in a blog title. Should I use geospatial. where, location, map … in its place? For you dear reader, I’ll leave it in place. But does GIS mean GIbberiSh?
Does GIS mean Gibberish?
We sat down with some public works folks yesterday. They had a problem. Inspections are an important task. But their current method of conducting inspections was loathed by the staff. Time consuming, confusing. What should be an easy task had become something dreaded.
“Surely there is a better way?” Was asked.
We could have answered; “Well of course there is this thing called GIS”. Instead we asked 2 questions:
- “How do you do inspections today?”
- “In a perfect world how would you like to do inspections?”
We had them guide us down the path. We built out the story: today’s and how tomorrow’s might look. The one time the word ‘technology’ came up was mention of staff ‘not being tech savvy’.
We drew pictures on a white board of work flows: “First staff need help finding the asset in need of inspection then ..”.
Today we will take what we learned and weigh up solutions. We may ask more questions. There is much to weigh up: what data need be collected? Is COTS+ the best approach? On and on. Certainly we will be taking a map-centric approach. We will store the data in one place (with all the other organizational data). We will build out an intuitive solution. Hide complexity. Make inspections a task no longer to dread. In time summary dashboards, and other data query tools will be leveraged to build out the story. For now its all about fully understanding the problem, and translating that into a deliverable solution.
We stopped using the term GIS in conversation many years ago. It means nothing. Its use clouds discussions. It is meaningless terminology. Gibberish!
As an industry, we need to better define who we are and what we do. The day I can stop using GIS in blog titles will be a happy day indeed.
What do you think?
Author: Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter: