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I spend a good amount of time on a tradeshow floor. I enjoy it. You get to meet a lot of people that are working in your industry, and have an opportunity to learn about all the amazing stuff they’re doing with image analytics. One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that many industries are looking for a simple GIS solution to be delivered to them without the need to source data, analyze it, and interpret those results in order to leverage the information contained in geospatial data. I see a lot of companies that do one or two pieces of the entire GIS solution, but this can leave customers feeling abandoned when they are looking for guidance throughout the entire GIS solution, not just a portion of it.
What many customers really need is a trusted partner that can help guide them through the entire process of developing a geospatial solution that fits their exact needs. A lot of larger industries such as insurance, utility management, agriculture, and others, are aware that there are benefits that can be gained by incorporating advanced GIS analysis into their business workflow. However, they may not be sure what types of problems they can actually solve, what types of analysis to use, or even what types of data are needed to answer specific problems. Below are three areas where customers could use some expertise, or even just some guidance, when approaching a GIS solution.
What problems can I solve with GIS?
Many businesses don’t know what kind of problems can be solved with GIS. Sometimes they have limited understanding; sometimes their expectations are too great for current technologies. In any event, being able to help the customer understand what is possible with geospatial analysis goes a long way towards setting their expectations and establishes a level of trust.
This may also involve exploring their architecture from an IT standpoint. Enterprise solution discussions almost always turn into architecture discussions as the customer looks to understand how your technology will help design, or fit into, their infrastructure. The ability to consume web-based data sources, or functionality that allows users to access advanced analysis capabilities from mobile devices and thin clients, can help address specific business needs that they may have regarding data storage or dissemination.
What type of data should I use?
Many customers may not know what type of data they should be using to solve their problem. It’s pretty rare I see someone come to the table with too much data or data that is more advanced than they need to solve their problem. Usually the data, or understanding of it, is lacking. Many times there is the belief that a point-and-click camera strapped to a $100 drone is going to allow a user to determine species type and plant health over an area. In these types of situations the customer may be in desperate need for some gentle education on things like spatial and spectral accuracy and global positioning systems (GPS) and how they play into the types of information they can extract from their data.
More importantly, they’ll need some insight into where to get the type of data they’re looking for. Ideally the customer would like the same business partner sourcing or even capturing the data that would be working on it. This way there’s no disconnect between the data being procured and the analytics being run on it. This is where the end-to-end GIS solution often breaks down. Here at Harris Geospatial we have the ability to capture specific,proprietary data such as Geiger-Mode LiDAR as well as the ability to source data from a number of partners through the IntelliEarth Data Marketplace. This gives them a one-stop-shop for their data and analytics needs.
How do I Analyze the data?
Some people want their analytics in house. Some want end-products delivered to them. Whatever their need, being able to offer both out of the box and customized solutions to a consumer is important. Having interoperable desktop and enterprise solutions that can be integrated into existing infrastructures and workflows satisfies those who prefer to run their own analytics and have the staff or expertise to run it. Other business may simply want to contract you out to get the data, run the analytics, and deliver interpreted information to them that they can work into their business decisions.
This is where software providers need to grow into a services based business model. For those who want their analytics delivered to them, who better than the developers of the software to utilize it to exploit the data? Many businesses out there today use other people’s software, data collection, and data dissemination systems to deliver end-to-end solutions for their customers. I think that the more you can conglomerate the collection, analysis, and dissemination into a single provider the better experience consumers will have integrating these types of solutions into their workflows.
With the recent purchase of Exelis Inc. by Harris Corp., the newly formed Harris Geospatial is looking to do just that. From Geiger-mode capturing sensors to the huge amount of data available in the IntelliEarth Marketplace, we are looking to cover all of our customer’s data needs. ENVI image analysis software is available as desktop and enterprise software, enabling businesses to build out analysis infrastructure at the level that best suits their geospatial needs. Finally, our Custom Solutions Group can provide analytics expertise for the development of custom solutions for in house use while our services group can simply get the data and extract the information businesses need in a derived product type of deliverable. Whatever the need of the industry, Harris Geospatial is looking to help them develop end-to-end geospatial solutions through a single trusted partner.
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