Is Your GIS Healthy?

 
 

(Source: arcgis.com)

Written by: Todd Buehlman, LOGIC Solutions Group

Having accurate geographical information about land management, operations and processing is critical to making informed decisions. Key to delivering accurate information is the overall health of your GIS.

Our ArcGIS Health Checklist is geared to help you spot-check a few areas within ArcSDE, ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS that impact the overall system wellness. These are not meant to be comprehensive, but more of a “tips and tricks” list to keep your GIS healthy, fast and supportable in the future.

ArcGIS Health Checklist: 

ArcSDE

Appropriate Indexing – Don’t index everything, but index the right things in the right order. Over indexing adds overhead to your system.

Appropriate Nesting – Feature datasets are great for network datasets and other constructs that require the technology; however, using them for organization like folders can cause unwanted side effects.

Know The Differences – There are quite a few database platforms available for ArcSDE, know where each one is strongest and the reasons why to select one over another. There have been numerous side by side comparisons published between Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle for instance. Easy to find online.

Don’t Forget To Compress – Posting and compressing an ArcSDE database regularly is one of the most important things to consider when using ANY versioned data.

ArcGIS Server

Benchmark Your Services – Utilize industry standard benchmarking tools to set a bar and measure yourself against. Take note of what your users consider acceptable performance times and scale your services to match.  If national real estate service is performing poorly consider breaking it into multiple services that are “fit-for-purpose” or regional rather than have one large service.

Clean Up After Yourself – Be aware of your server performance and plan to expand accordingly, the number of services you host out can affect your performance even if the services are not being used. 

Portal for ArcGIS

Register Your Portal

items with appropriate metadata for ease of search – make sure your services are discoverable and easily added to maps.

HTTPS and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – Decide your security model up front. Portal will default to HTTPS (secure, encrypted) even within your firewall upon installation.  A little planning up front can pay off exponentially.

Groups and Gallery Viewers – If you are using Gold Standard style data management it is important to let the users know which data is “golden”.  The use of special groups, users or well-organized gallery apps can also be helpful.

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There are many layers to successfully managing a multi-server GIS architecture and sometimes seemingly simple tasks can get complicated. Remember to have a well thought out plan before getting started in the Platform.  Let us know if LOGIC can help you install or optimize your Esri Platform.

Spotfire [is] the new GIS

 
 

(Source: TIBCO Spotfire® data visualization and analytics software)

Written by: Todd Buehlman, LOGIC Solutions Group

I will always be a GIS geek. There is nothing like Jack getting up and talking about the “notion” of this or that at an ESRI UC plenary.  I like just saying “UC plenary” because it conjures up great San Diego weather, the press of ~15,000 like-minded GIS folks and the passion behind nearly 40 years of innovation with ESRI software. 

The Energy Forum

Recently I attended the Houston Energy Forum presented by Tibco, which focused onTibco Spotfire and Tibco OpenSpirit technology suites. To be honest I haven’t felt so jazzed about technology in a while. 

The atmosphere brought back great memories from when folks were overly enthusiastic about ESRI conversations around the “The List” (an informal, but treasured document noting user issues and requests). Passionate users would wave their hands in the air to make sure their gripe about 7th level wizard label shadows not turning upside down correctly was captured and set to be worked on by the ESRI team. We got some of that hands-on user enthusiasm at The Energy Forum… and that is a good thing. It’s a direct sign that the software is alive, dynamic and driving passion from its users.  Tibco users are engaged and that engagement will help to make Spotfire even better over time.

What the hype is about?

While I am no “Data Scientist”, it’s clear what the hype is all about.  Like GIS, Spotfire allows users to see patterns that they would not readily see in a spreadsheet (without substantial pivoting of tables, hoop jumping and artistry).  Spotfire provides a visual analysis as well as the ability to easily drill into and interrogate the data of interest.  And, of course, the beauty lies within the capability that Spotfire combines the two.  Together, Spotfire and GIS are even more powerful, providing deep insights into oil and gas data. So, while I think Spotfire is the new GIS, GIS is also still the new GIS. 

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LOGIC Solutions Group has the skill and experience to help your team implement Tibco solutions.  We will work with your line of business users and your GIS team to identify quick wins and strategic initiatives to accelerate the process.  Please contact us today to discuss how we can help.

ArcGIS Earth – 3D Made Easy and a Conspiracy Theory

ArcGIS Earth is Esri’s latest technology offering that holds the promise of a lightweight, high-performance 3D data visualization engine for the enterprise. Though this is true, there are some interesting nuances to consider as well as a question to be answered.

 
 

First, let’s review what’s in question…or rather my conspiracy theory: if Google is working with Esri to transition users away from Google and Esri now has something that looks a WHOLE LOT like Google Earth…could Esri’s new technology be Google Earth at its core? Which makes sense.  If Google and Esri are working so closely together, why would Esri re-create the wheel? Ok, so maybe not earth shattering (please excuse the double-entendre) but could answer why ArcGIS Earth works with KML

(Keyhole Markup Language) out of the gate.

So, where does ArcGIS Earth fit into the enterprise? The Esri website Common Questions section of the ArcGIS Earth page, tells us where this is headed. 

How does ArcGIS Earth fit with the rest of my ArcGIS technology stack?

“ArcGIS Earth is a fully supported app on the ArcGIS platform. It joins the ranks of other Esri apps such as Collector for ArcGIS, Esri Story Maps, and Esri Maps for Office, to deliver value to both GIS and non-GIS users in your enterprise. Like those apps, it is fully integrated with the ArcGIS platform, allowing you to take advantage of data you already have in ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS.” 

- Esri Website

Will it be free?

ArcGIS Earth will be another powerful tool in the “Platform” offering. For those companies that have been thinking there will be a “free” version of ArcGIS Earth where their users can browse enterprise content, current signs are pointing to no. The ArcGIS Earth offering will likely require a named ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS for Portal user just like all of the other Platform offerings coming from Esri. 

And, that is OK.

Mainly, because Esri will surely be expanding on the simplicity of Google Earth to add the ability to pull in Web Map Services like the ArcGIS Online background layers or your internal Portal’s business layers.  Esri will add the ability to overlay internally authored Web Maps and Widgets down the road making the ArcGIS Earth tool more valuable and powerful than ever. 

So long flat files!

Imagine GIS professionals within Oil & Gas organizations authoring powerful Web Maps and pushing those to the Google Earth-like maps on everyone’s desktops, avoiding KML and flat files while ensuring those users are consuming “gold standard” data?

So, where does ArcGIS Earth fit into your organization?  It is another powerful tool in your Esri Platform tool belt…and boy is it cool.

Zero To Enterprise 2.0

In early 2013, LOGIC presented its first Zero to Enterprise position brief that helped guide organizations through the Enterprise GIS maturity path.  With Zero to Enterprise 2.0, the power of the Esri Platform is fully integrated into the recommendations of the maturity life cycle analysis.

This brief helps you quickly determine where your organization is along the path and acts as a guide to achieving value from the Platform with an eye on attaining a strategic GIS environment. 

In nearly all of our client conversations, we hear the need for a mature GIS to support the enterprise with improved search and discoverability, collaboration, and decision making that provides a single, trusted source of the truth via an intuitive map interface. Spatially aware, exceptionally delivered, Zero to Enterprise 2.0 is here. 

Download the brief here and contact us to have a discussion on where you are on the GIS maturity life cycle between Zero and Enterprise. 

 
 

Zero Touch GIS

Enterprise GIS

Most organizations utilize spatial data and systems and may not realize that they are using a type of Geographic Information System (“GIS”). Other organizations might have a robust GIS servicing the entire enterprise in various capacities from robust desktop data management to lightweight field mobile devices.  Enterprise GIS represents a mature, governed ArcGIS Platform that brings key company maps and data sets into user’s hands via desktop, web and mobile on demand. Maps for everyone.

A mature GIS supports the enterprise with improved search and discoverability, collaboration, decision making and provides a single, trusted source of the truth via an intuitive map interface.  The GIS is valid, accurate, complete and trusted, but it is still multiple clicks away.  Users generally have to actively seek out and interact with GIS professionals or overly complex query and analysis tools to answer the really interesting questions.  The information sought must be actively pulled from systems and resources as opposed to the right information in the right context being pushed to the user at the right time.

Zero Touch GIS

While it is sometimes rare for companies to have a powerful and robust Enterprise GIS, once achieved, the ability to supply a “Zero Touch GIS” is possible.  Zero Touch GIS refers to a system where the right data is begin pushed to the user at the right time in the right context.  The user does not have to send an email, chase down a land person to build them a map, put a ticket in a queue, open ArcMap Desktop or open a web map and start filtering or querying to get a map product.  As users access maps on their phone, tablet, web or desktop, the map that displays is already in the right context, displaying just the data that the user needs and expects.  Layers don’t have to be turned on or off, query or filter data sets don’t requiring modification, and symbolization is correct.  The map has the right content, context and pre-calculated analyses.

Organizations can achieve this level of service by continuing to build close relationships with the line of business and becoming the “trusted advisor”.  By proactively anticipating user needs instead of reacting to requests, a better understanding of the data behind the analyses and maps will result.

The GIS team is now anticipating user needs.  They are pre-processing and high-grading data so that when the business user opens a map, they don’t have to query, interpret or mash up data, but instead the answer they are seeking is already on the map.  The competitor analysis is already there, the top ten performing and bottom ten performing wells are already there, the platforms assets endangered by the coming storm are already there. 

Next Steps

LOGIC Solutions Group has the skill and experience to help your team achieve Zero Touch GIS.  We will work with your line of business users and your GIS team to identify quick wins and strategic initiatives to accelerate the process.  Please contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Welcome the new LOGIC website

After months of hardwork, client meetings and taking a hard look at how we wanted to talk to folks about our GIS and Information Management practice, we are happy to announce the launch of our new website.

The entire website is based on our mission of working with clients to create, manage and integrate information management and geospatial assets to provide insight into the oil and gas life cycle.

Our passion for practicing GIS and information management can be found in the create, manage and integrate pages. This is where we share what we believe is the key to developing and sustaining a successful Information Management and GIS practice.

Please take a few moments to explore our new site...and check back often for new blog posts, resources and tips.