fredag den 10. april 2009

What Is GIS Anyway?

Hvad er GIS egentlig? Prøv at giv mig bare en god forklaring som ville være forståelig af alle også din bedstemor ... det er ikke let og måske og det største problem man har med GIS ... Ikke så meget hvad det kan, men hvad det er ...

What is GIS anyway? Try to explain and it has to be understood even by your grandma ... it's not easy and maybe the biggest problem about GIS ... It's not hard to tell what GIS can do it's much harder to tell what it is ...


From Geo JunkYard by 
Recently at work I was approached with the infamous question 
"Why would I use your GIS services instead of Google? Google's services are easy to use and free!" At first, I thought to myself "Boy, this person doesn't have a clue!", but than I realized that if someone is asking this rather harmless question there's bound to be many more in our organization thinking the same thing...

After surfing the web for an hour I didn't find any great explanations on the topic, so I thought I would gather my thoughts and write them down here...

  • What is GIS? - ESRI states that GIS can be viewed in three ways (blah blah blah)...
  • What is Google offering? - As most of us should know by now, Google maintains two mapping products (Google Earth & Google Maps).
  • What are we offering? - Our group offers custom GIS desktop and web solutions based on ESRI's latest platforms.
  • Should I just hang my head in defeat?
GIS is about integrating spatial decision making tools into key business functions. I had a geography professor in college who challenged a class of 50 students to come up with a single human action that wasn't affected by climate. The same can be said about GIS. If you provide me with a core business function, I will show you how GIS can be at the center of its process... GIS is about solving business problems and with dedicated staff can be "neutral" with respect to what product you choose (ESRI, MapInfo, Google, etc. etc.).

Regarding the topic of Google's mapping products they are really no different than many other vendors mapping software. What Google makes up in UI and performance they lose in data editing and spatial analysis. It does help that the vendor we choose to assist in implementing GIS holds an 80% share on the global market. Oh by the way... Google isn't free dude... 

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