Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Where to Begin...

If you are into SQL server, I highly recommend having a gander at Brent Ozar's DBA training. While most of this is out of my purview, some of the philosophies seem pretty relevant to GIS, expecially if you are maintaining your own system.

As I get entrenched into maintaining YVR's own internal GIS system, which is in it's infancy, this graphic pretty much dictates how I'm going to manage this system.

In between making maps and updating our data, I really have to start from the bottom up (data, users, backups) before diving into anything new like application revamps or Javascript training to figure out those new fangled ESRI API's.

So to my fellow GIS'ers, if you've ever managed your own enterprise system, where do you start? Any tips or tricks I should try? Things you wished you had known back in the day?


(Updated for grammatical reasons...)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Agile Results - A New Workflow?

As someone, who for most part in my career, has been used to taking orders, or had a definite & clear understanding of the work I was assigned to, this new job means that my range of tasks in developing and producing a solid GIS program has become wider.

The last few months, like most new jobs, has been a bevvy of administration duties, budgeting processes, and the standard airport security courses. Such as is it working for an airport, and rightly so.

But overall, the airport is a mini-city and while I could never develop the range of mapping applications or services like a big city and a vast GIS section to service those user requirements, I think I can modernize what's here into something a little more robust for our core users in Engineering and Airport Operations crews. Between meetings for new requests, meeting new people, and figuring out all the new data and software, some days can be overwhelming.  (Side note: Microstation has improved a lot since I took that dreadful course in 2004. <shudder>)

Lots of freedom to explore but a lot of responsibility as well.

I've always had an interest in how to develop a good enterprise GIS program. Kudos to the BCIT GIS program for giving a good foundation in what a GIS can be for an organization.  Now that I'm no longer a small cog in the GIS section, and now the primary one facilitating most aspects of GIS here, it's important to nail down what's important and how to go about giving my coworkers the best data & maps either via ArcMap, or online, or in a printed map.

So JD Meier's post the other day on Agile Results got me thinking. Agile development is all the rage with GIS developers - time to get into that and apply it to my workflow too. Let's see if I can keep up with it in the next month or two and make it a solid habit. With all the changes in my life (personally and professionally), it's a crazy, busy time.

It's great food for thought and something I'll have to practice to be productive. Because my productivity is no longer tied to waiting for a hard-copy map to be printed or icons to be designed for a new map app by the GIS Analyst Team.


Gotta channel some Ron Swanson, daily!  And good coffee helps too.