A GIS solutions engine: state the problem and with the simple press of a button …. out comes your answer. Sounds too good to be true. I bet I have you wondering where you can get this wondrous technology.

What is a GIS Solutions Engine?

There is little doubt that GIS has become easier. Releases like ArcGIS Online have greatly simplified the process or mechanics of generating and publishing maps. There are now many configurable (that means you don’t need to build from scratch) web and mobile applications which come with these platforms. Now anybody can set up and help provide answers to ‘where questions’ with GIS. Right?

Well… definitely, maybe!

From our experience with customers, if you do not have in-house GIS expertise or are not prepared to spend time learning GIS ….. answering your business ‘where questions’ with GIS might not be so easy.

Here are some of the challenges we have heard from customers new to Web GIS:

– We’ve spent 3 months stuck on data?
– We are confused about what configurable apps will help us solve our problem?
– We think GIS will help us solve our problem (and others) but have no idea where to begin?
– We’ve spent a considerable amount of money on GIS but are not really seeing the return on investment (ROI)
– We’ve published some wonderful maps, but now have some complex’ where questions’, how do we move forward and start answering these questions?

For fear of having thrown out a new term: Web GIS, is defined as:

Web GIS is a type of distributed information system, comprising at least a server and a client, where the server is a GIS server and the client is a web browser, desktop application, or mobile application.

As more ‘where questions’ are being asked by organizations, and as these organizations increasingly turn to GIS for answers, we have found ever more customers challenged to get started and move forward with GIS.

So what is the magical sounding GIS solutions engine? It’s really a systematic approach to solving problems with GIS. That might be an approach you evolve in-house or out-source. Let me explain more here. Take some of our work with clients. We’ve found there is a defined series of steps which need to be taken to successfully solve problems with GIS. We’ve actually evolved a GIS Problem to Solution Service which walks through and teaches customers these steps. Once you have a process or system in place, each problem can be tackled in the same methodical way. For those without GIS expertise we have rolled our process into an ongoing solution we call fromWheretoThere for ArcGIS.

There is no silver bullet I’m afraid with GIS. Somebody behind the curtain needs to be operating the machinery. But having a systematic, repeatable approach in place will be your key to success with GIS technology.

Find out more about our systematic approach to solving problems with GIS. Contact us on 801-733-0723.


 Matt Sheehan
 Matt is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Follow him on Twitter: @webmapsolutions

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