Last news from ESRI Australia
- More technology, more ideas, more connections
Following the conclusion of our ArcGIS seminar series each year, we immediately look to the future and at ways we can improve the roadshow. How do we continue to make Directions LIVE better for our user community, and give past attendees another reason to return?
We make our changes based on the feedback we receive, and this year that has led us to expand the event program even further, with more content across the board.
In 2016 you will gain greater technical insight into the latest ArcGIS platform improvements. We will show you how Web GIS is evolving and transforming the way organisations share information, and demonstrate how 3D and real-time data can revolutionise your workflows.
Our tips and tricks sessions have also been extended – providing a greater opportunity to learn about the benefits of organisational GIS portals and how cutting-edge cartography can help you convey a clearer message when communicating with stakeholders and clients.
Every city will feature at least two user presentation from some true industry leaders, with organisations presenting this year including IBM, Treasury Wine Estates, Queensland Urban Utilities and VicRoads.
We are also introducing a new addition to the ArcLab experience – ArcSoapbox. This platform provides a place for short technical presentations (aka lightning talks), guaranteed to keep you stimulated during the breaks.
Whether you’re an experienced ArcGIS user or have only just started taking advantage of the platform, you’ll get a lot out of Directions LIVE. Please join us at your local event and learn ways you can see and do more with your data.
If you haven’t yet registered for Directions LIVE 2016, you can secure your seat by visiting esriaustralia.com.au. The free event travels to seven cities around the country from 17 – 31 May.
John Hasthorpe – Directions LIVE Technical Director
- Five minutes with an Esri Australia trainer – Nathaniel Meyer
Meet Nathaniel Meyer – one of Esri Australia’s senior consultants – and a specialist in ArcGIS for Desktop and geodatabases. To help you get to know Nathaniel better, he spent five minutes in the hot seat answering our questions.
EA: Tell us about your role as a senior consultant/trainer at Esri Australia – what are you responsible for?
NM: I’m a member of the training team where I am responsible for developing new eLearning content and mentoring our extended training family. I am also responsible for delivering the geodatabase and desktop courses.
EA: What do you love most about your job?
NM: The opportunity to constantly learn new things, working within a team of passionate GIS professionals, and being able to get out and about to meet clients and help them improve their GIS skills.
EA: How did you end up at Esri? What’s your career background?
NM: After graduating from the University of Western Sydney with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in information systems, I pursued my interest in relational database management systems and GIS by working in a variety of roles. In 2013, I joined Esri Australia as part of the Professional Services team.
EA: What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned since being in this role?
NM: For me, having a background in databases, learning how the underlying tables and triggers work in a multiuser geodatabase was pretty cool. This has enabled me to leverage my information systems knowledge and apply it in a GIS context.
EA: Why do you enjoy conducting training sessions?
NM: I enjoy imparting my knowledge and assisting people. It is also a great opportunity to hear how others use GIS, and I often find myself learning a new thing or two from clients as well.
EA: What’s your advice to clients considering undertaking some training?
NM: Consider your training course objectives and determine how these relate to your work. Have some real-world projects in mind so you can connect the course content to your own practical examples, and if possible bring along your own data to work with.
EA: What Esri training course would you like to undertake – and why?
NM: I would have to say Exploring ENVI is one training course I would like complete. I am passionate about technology and interested in the analysis capabilities using hyperspectral imaging.
EA: Outside of work – what’s your idea of fun?
NM: Motorcycles are my big passion. I enjoy riding a variety of bikes – both on the road and track – as well as repairing and customising them. I am also a fan of live music and appreciate good whisky or pale ale.
EA: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
NM: I can MIG weld and have a titanium nail holding my left leg together. That’s two!
EA: At Esri Australia – we’re all about geography, so where’s your favourite destination in the world?
NM: Without a doubt Vancouver, BC. Not just because I was born there, but it’s a beautiful city where the mountains meet the sea. There’s also plenty of fantastic snow skiing, and it’s home to most of my extended family, as well as my favourite hockey team.
- Making technical training count – customised learning and capitalising on momentum
Since joining the Esri Australia training team, I have had the privilege of working with many of our largest and longest standing clients, in addition to new clients migrating from other GIS technologies, or embracing location analytics for the first time.
The common thread here though is that regardless of an organisation’s experience with location, every client I speak to is eager to embrace enterprise-wide change – a point that particularly rings true when organisations strengthen their software deployment with Esri Australia technical training.
During the software introduction phase, I work with clients to develop customised GIS training – looking at how ArcGIS technology will be used within their organisation, and tailoring content to meet their particular business needs.
This assists every member of an organisation – from those in geo-centric or geo-enabled roles (e.g. GIS analysts, asset managers) to administrative and technical staff, as well as managers and executives. And because clients have buy-in during the training development phase, the content provided is ‘fit-for-purpose’, rather than simply being ‘out-of-the-box’.
Going a step further, I have also acted as a ‘floor walker’ for various organisations – spending time with staff following a training course to help them take advantage of their new skills and put their freshly acquired knowledge into action.
Capitalising on the momentum created by customised training, I work with staff to ensure they maximise the capabilities of ArcGIS:
- Demonstrating Esri best practice when using sensitive and real-time data
- Developing and documenting recommended ArcGIS operating procedures
- Empowering non-GIS staff to use the ArcGIS platform for tasks beyond production
Whether your organisation is new to the ArcGIS platform, or you’re looking to upgrade your software – customised training with an Esri Australia technical adviser will guarantee your return on investment.
And it’s this enterprise-wide growth which is very rewarding to be a part of.
So before you implement a new ArcGIS platform solution, I encourage you to contact a member of the Esri Australia training team to discuss a roll-out that works for you.
Professionally configured and managed ArcGIS deployment will ensure your organisation unlocks the unlimited power of geography.
- When a map isn’t the answer
Maps are everywhere. We have them in our cars and our phones and on websites from AirBnB to Woolworths to our health insurer.
I love maps. They’re beautiful. They can help reveal new patterns and relationships in data that couldn’t be discovered in any other way and they help us find the way to that elusive new secret whiskey bar.
But the map isn’t always the right tool to help you understand what’s around you.
Sometimes we’re too map-centric. Sometimes we need to switch to a more location-centric view of the world.
My favourite example of this is the oh-so-common garbage collection map showing what day of the week by bins get emptied. I go to my local council’s website on my smartphone to find out if my green-waste is going to be collected this week or next and I’m presented with a map of the local government boundary coloured and hatched in various shades and styles. From there I zoom and pan around to find my street. Great! I’ve discovered I’m an area coloured mauve with some black diagonal hatching.
Next step – the legend. Mauve tells me my bins are emptied on Mondays and the hatching tells me I’m collected on “odd weeks”. No idea what that means but not to worry there’s a link to a PDF calendar that (after panning and zooming around a bit) shows me that it’s week 49. Odd-week! It’s green bin day today! Hoorah!
This is what I refer to as the “map-centric” experience. I was presented with garbage collection information about my whole council area. Without wanting to be rude to my fellow residents I can honestly say I don’t care what day the bins are emptied on the other side of the LGA or even in the next street.
This map-centric view is great for printed static material pushed into residents’ letterboxes but we can do better for online viewing.
I’m interested in my house, my street, my block. What’s relevant to me starts with me. That’s where the “location-centric” approach works well. Let’s start with the user. Start with an important location (the user’s address). Show me what’s relevant to me.
Rather than “location-centric” you might even call it the “ego-centric” view as it’s all about me!
A location-centric approach takes your geospatial data and presents it in a highly relevant way by understanding what locations the user is going to be interested in.
In the example of the garbage collection map, let’s start with a simple question. “What’s your address?” Try and use the browser location to derive or narrow down the address. If I’ve been on the site before, remember my address or my area of interest between visits using cookies.
With this simple step I am immediately presented with “Your next bin day is Wednesday 27th January”. No map. No exploration. No superfluous data.
A great example of location centricity is the simple taxi booking app. I’m presented with three choices for selecting my pick-up location – where I am now, where I have been in the past, or through address input or map navigation. The app assumes that I will most likely want to book a taxi from my current location or one of the places I have booked from before. It doesn’t start by displaying a map of Australia and asking me to find my pick-up point.
Here’s a comparison showing some of the key differences between “map-centric” and “location-centric” applications.
Map-Centric Location-Centric Starts with data Starts with purpose Same view for every user Tailored for the user User must explore the data to find answers Insight presented immediately Multiple layers becomes confusing Easy to include multiple themes Hard to deliver good mobile experience Simple mobile experience
Of course, being location-centric doesn’t mean there’s no place for a map. A location-centric approach can work great in combination with a map. If I want to go to the Library and then to the Dog Park it will be a lot easier to choose the best options from a map rather than seeing two lists of the closest three facilities. If I want to understand how planning developments will affect me proximity is important and the map helps me understand how I’m impacted.
Even with the map we need to start with the user. It all starts with the question of “Why is the user here today and what do they want to discover?” Here are some tips for a location-centric approach to sharing your information:
- Clearly understand the purpose of an application.
- Ask yourself, does a map make it harder or easier for the user to achieve their purpose?
- Use the user’s current location to tailor the information delivery.
- Present the user with answers – not data.
- Think about why users will come to your application.
- One size does not fit all. Your application needs to be designed to match its purpose.
So the next time you’re asked to publish a map. Ask yourself if a map is the answer or if you can achieve a better user experience by hiding the map and presenting the user with answers instead.
PS I included the map from my LGA for example purposes and I do note that their website says, “From early 2016 you will be able to search for the bin collections for your address on Council’s website and print out a personalised waste collection calendar for the year.”
- Launch a location platform that takes off
As we begin a new year, are you thinking of how to communicate the benefits of using location information to get GIS to really take off in your organisation? Have you got your ArcGIS Organisational account ready to go? If so, a series of new publications are now available to help you get the most from your ArcGIS platform.
The Launch Guide shows you how to prepare for and begin using location information. It provides the steps to help launch a location platform for your organisation and a strategy for successfully adopting location technology within your organisation. It contains:
- A strategy for planning, testing, and rolling out a location platform
- Examples, case studies, and quotes from customers who have implemented the location platform
- Checklists, templates, and communication examples to help move an implementation forward
- Resources for self-help, training and contact information for assistance
As you introduce members of your organisation to your location platform, it’s important to properly guide individuals and teams in a way that is easy, fun, valuable and rewarding.
The Change Management Kit is a collection of activities and promotional tools that can be used to engage and excite members of your organisation during the implementation of your location platform. It contains:
- Lunch and learn activities to excite and educate your organisation
- Story mapping examples to demonstrate powerful mapping communication capabilities
- Data, Data Everywhere – an activity to get your organisation thinking about using information in the location platform
- Posters to promote and inform people about the launch and upcoming activities
- Map pin graphics to brand the launch of your location platform
Also available is the Administering Your Location Platform publication, a go-to guide providing the best practices and resources you need to streamline your location platform.
If you would like more information, our consultants can help you launch the location platform in your organisation. Contact Esri Australia to find out more.