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Succeeding with GIS: Keynote at GISRUK 2019


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My closing keynote at GISRUK 2019 - a call to arms for a human approach in a digital world, reflecting in a light-hearted and personal way on GIS industry trends, careers and how to succeed in GIS deployments and applications.

GISRUK is an annual GIS research conference attracting around 200 academic researchers from around the UK and beyond, each year held at a different university. The 2019 conference took place in Newcastle upon Tyne in April 2019. Info:

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Succeeding with GIS: Keynote at GISRUK 2019

  1. 1. Succeeding with GIS Personal thoughts from a geospatial career in global business and consulting a getech group company Dr Thierry Gregorius FRGS GISRUK | Newcastle upon Tyne | 26 April 2019
  2. 2. Content Deploying GIS in business Being human in a digital world Turning spatial data into revenue What is a geospatial career?
  3. 3. Deploying GIS in business Being human in a digital world Turning spatial data into revenue What is a geospatial career?
  4. 4. The evolution of GIS Esri graphic, 2013
  5. 5. Traditional Enterprise GIS Stack Jonathan Harford on Flickr (Creative Commons) IT Dept > GIS Vendor > GIS Team > GIS User >
  6. 6. “Why use GIS when you can annotate JPEGs in PowerPoint?” – geologist
  7. 7. GIS User workflows Everything else Data & Imagery Analytics Business systems From a GIS-centric view…
  8. 8. …to sprinkling everything with spatial magicspatial Spatialise User workflows Data & Imagery Analytics Business systems Business systems Data & Imagery User workflows Visual- isation Mapping Geocode Analytics Analytics IntegratePro GIS er ows Everything else Spatial Analysis User workflows User workflows Data & Imagery Analytics Visual- isation Mapping Spatial Analysis User workflows Spatialise Business systems Data & Imagery Analytics Pro G Everything else Data & Imagery Analytics Pro G Business systems Everything else ss s
  9. 9. The flattening of organisations
  10. 10. Technology deployment issues are basically management & communication issues
  11. 11. A new class of ‘GIS’ user
  12. 12. Maps: just one data representation out of many
  13. 13.
  14. 14. Annual revenue $1.5 billion Annual R&D spending $350 million “Luke… I am your father” “Really?”
  15. 15. Open Source vs Proprietary Avoid dogma Don’t believe your own hype It’s not about the tools
  16. 16. It’s not even about the GIS …it’s what you do with it
  17. 17. Just because you can…?
  18. 18. A ‘solution’: Much more than technology… People (Roles, Skills) Use Cases Work- flows Data Tech- nology Training Support Gover- nance Engage- ment
  19. 19. Deploying GIS in business Being human in a digital world Turning spatial data into revenue What is a geospatial career?
  20. 20. GIS: many layers… not just the icing Cupcake Murder Aftermath on (Creative Commons)
  21. 21. “I found it! I found it! I found the CUSTOMER!”
  22. 22. ALWAYS start with the end user’s needs photo credit: rawpixel #570904 via unsplash
  23. 23. Frame the problem! Question to geologist: How much of your time do you spend doing geology? Answer: About 30%...
  24. 24. Work with people’s natural inclinations
  25. 25. Look at the whole problem
  26. 26. Consider the problem at different scales LEGO London Buses
  27. 27. Look laterally: combine ideas Announced by LEGO on 1 April 2018
  28. 28. Keep it simple
  29. 29. Create your own design manifesto Good design: 1. is innovative 2. makes a product useful 3. is aesthetic 4. makes a product understandable 5. is unobtrusive 6. is honest 7. is long-lasting 8. is thorough down to the last detail 9. is environmentally friendly 10. involves as little design as possible Dieter Rams, ca. 1970
  30. 30. People love using their hands
  31. 31. Our hands leverage a lot of brain power
  32. 32.
  33. 33. Cartographic Design Award, FOSS4G 2013 Map by Anna Butler, Wellingtons Travel drawn by hand…
  34. 34. Art and Science converging again – for the first time since the Renaissance
  35. 35. ArcGIS Pro 3D ‘sketchy edge’ styling
  36. 36. Hands-on models and the value of tactility
  37. 37. Digital + Analog = best of both worlds? Note-taking Air traffic control Touch-Table AR sandbox Digital pencil 3D printing/model-making
  38. 38. Deploying GIS in business Being human in a digital world Turning spatial data into revenue What is a geospatial career?
  39. 39. From a talk recently given to Earth Observation companies…
  40. 40. By Kirby Ferguson “Everything is a Remix”, 2011
  41. 41. • Collect and sell your data • Resell someone else’s data • Transform data • Derive data • Combine/aggregate multiple data sources • Interpret and analyse data • Develop (and sell) data algorithms • Provide a data platform to enable the above
  42. 42. Some revenue models…
  43. 43. Sponsorship (e.g. R&D grants) Pays the bills but no more Pre-Order (e.g. Multi-Client) Low risk, potential for upside Reseller / Broker Needs good terms, high volumes Marketplace (Platform) Grow ecosystem, can be win-win Pay Per Use / As You Go Needs high volumes or margins Subscription Good for repeat revenue Freemium or Razor Blade Model Based on loss-leaders Monopoly / Unique Niche Congrats, enjoy while it lasts!
  44. 44. Active vs Passive Revenue
  45. 45. Active revenue: trade time for money • Consulting • One-off projects • Expert reports • R&D • Project contributor (e.g. UN, EU) • etc.
  46. 46. Passive revenue: time-independent • Database-driven products e.g. automated reports • Self-service products e.g. portals • Cloud services, Anything as a Service (XaaS) • Algorithms e.g. software add- ons • etc.
  47. 47. Difficult to scale Time is a fixed resource Highly scalable Repeatable, automated processes Active Passive e.g. Google, Experian, Landmark …but you don’t have to be a big company anymore
  48. 48. Move further downstream Market size End user data expertise Demanding customers with complex needs who understand your domain Lay or mainstream customers/consumers with simpler needs Active revenue Time-consuming Passive revenue Automated
  49. 49. Keep it simple Not every service needs a map or image e.g. Y/N questions: Yes Yes Is this place prone to flooding? (Risk reports) Has this rental car crossed a country boundary? (GPS tracker)
  50. 50. Don’t sell data – sell answers to real questions
  51. 51. Specialise and differentiate Carve out your niche Solve real, specific problems Tell people about it – even a good product does not sell itself
  52. 52. DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF ! It may be simple to you but not to the customer… Skills and experience are expensive to acquire
  53. 53. Deploying GIS in business Being human in a digital world Turning spatial data into revenue What is a geospatial career?
  54. 54. Employability • Supply vs Demand? • Geography vs GIS? • Specialists vs Generalists?
  55. 55.
  56. 56. Pro skills are still required too… Non-expert (but geo-literate) professional users (GIS) Developers GIS experts Trainers & consultants Business Sales Project Management Leadership Data scientists (stats, datavis) Data managers GIS core skills Lay users or consumers
  57. 57. “Spatial is special” ?
  58. 58.
  59. 59. 1. Geospatial vs Geospatial Lite™
  60. 60. 2. Build a technical foundation
  61. 61. 3. Cultivate a unique skillset
  62. 62. 4. Focus
  63. 63. 5. Depth vs breadth
  64. 64. 6. Learn the ‘business’
  65. 65. 7. Embrace the full geospatial lifecycle (Example: Construction Sector)
  66. 66. 8. Go out into the field
  67. 67. 9. Travel and keep ‘moving’
  68. 68. 10. Never stop learning… always look sideways
  69. 69. 11. Learn from people
  70. 70. 12. It’s not about the career, stupid
  71. 71. GIS!!! Record, Analyse, Inform, Engage
  72. 72. The world needs you to do great things with GIS Thank you