In our daily work and conversations with GIS we have been noticing a pattern. Successful GIS implementations require 4 steps. Note the use of successful and require in that sentence. we’ve gone as far as to define each of these steps and created a process called “From WHERE to There” in 4 GIS Steps.
“From WHERE to There” in 4 GIS Steps
The goal of this process is to successfully move from WHERE problems to solutions. Taking a systematic approach targeted at those new to GIS and experienced users, the process steps are as follows:
Step – Define the Problem
What is the problem? Do you understand in detail your (or your organizations) challenge or problem which needs a solution? Can you clearly define that problem? For example:
– We need to understand better our insurance risk. Where for example are the homes we are insure which are in high risk areas?
– We are putting in place our disaster management plan, and need a software solution to help manage, analyse and display our data.
– We need to replace our map books with a centralised mapping system.
Step – Evolve the Story
Story evolution is as much art as it is science. With a clearly defined problem, next comes discussion around today and how tomorrow might look. When we work with customers this often involves generating a map which includes client data, and sitting down together with this map and brainstorming. We ask questions like:
– How do you do this now?
– If you had this new map tool would that make this task easier?
– Why is how you are doing X today such a problem?
– What if you do nothing?
We have found this step to be the most critical in the success of any GIS implementation. It’s a deeper dive into the problem. This process is all about understanding challenges in more detail. It stimulates ideas, and can reveal areas not initially considered. This step provides the details needed to put in place a solution plan.
Step – The Right GIS Solution for your Problem
With the problem defined and story evolution completed, we step into the technology. In our case that is ArcGIS.
a) ArcGIS Jumpstart – We have in place ArcGIS Jumpstart Packages which are focused set up and configuration, helping customers move forward fast.
b) Data – Any successful GIS project is built on solid data: focused, accurate, and complete.
c) Maps and Applications – Whether it be configurable or custom applications, our goal is to have in place the right solution to solve your problem.
d) Integration – Increasingly we help organizations link their existing systems and data to ArcGIS.
Step – Ongoing Help and Training
For some customers we serve as their outsourced GIS department. Continuing to help with data updates, finding new data sources, evolving GIS technology solutions. Training is also key, for those who want to manage ArcGIS themselves, or simply get a better understanding of ArcGIS and the amazing wealth of tools and potential solutions available.
Is this a linear process? No. We see this as a circular process. For each organizational problem a solution path is needed. This we see as that GIS solutions path.
Where are the entry points into this process? Anywhere. We would see each step as being key, the order is not set in stone. Often we will start with an ArcGIS Jumpstart Package, and from there step to problem definition.
Do you need to move through each of these steps? No. But, from experience, successfully moving from problem to solution using GIS requires these steps.
We have found by defining this process, we have helped those we work with understand the path from problem to solution; we sometimes call this from nothing to something and beyond.
Contact us on 801-733-0723.