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What sorts of Services do I offer?

Tuesday August 22 2006 at 20:54

1. Solutions Architecture.

I discovered over the past 10 years that I am a pretty good systems and solutions architect.

How does this apply to you?

Well, let’s say you have a business problem you want solved. You have a bunch of technology options that provide a framework (or constraint) for delivery, and want to know how best to create a solution to the problem in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. (And even oversee its implementation.)

I can cut through the bull around J2EE and .NET and numerous other buzzwords and TLAs that confuse managers and allow vendors to lock in customers. I don’t like the fact that vendors sell you software when you need a SOLUTION. I will try and concentrate on the latter ALWAYS.

That is what I class as Solutions Architecture: and I am good at it!

2. Solutions Review

Let’s say you have a consultant who has designed you a system (or you have a bunch of responses to a tender) and you want someone to fearlessly tell you what is right or wrong with the proposal: I’m your man.

Example. I was given a GIS Strategy document for one Government Organisation (name withheld) by a senior line-manager and asked to comment on it so that he could get more value from it (he had gotten nothing from it 12 months after it was delivered). I wrote back within 24/36 hours telling him what was right and wrong with the approach in the Strategy and why they had not gotten the solutions to their problems from the new technology that was purchased through it. I then recommended a number of ways in which critical user needs could be met, solutions created and Return on Investment (ROI) extracted within the framework specified in that Strategy document. (The Strategy L-A-W, LAW, and could not be changed.)

3. Database Best-Practice Benchmarking.

Recently I was asked to give an independent assessment on the “state of health” of an Oracle Spatial database that is at the heart of an organisation’s GIS infrastructure. The brief required an assessment of:

  1. How well designed and integrated are the databases managed by Oracle Locator;
  2. What methods might be available to improve data quality and documentation;
  3. What options are available to the GIS and IT teams to improve its processes and reporting;
  4. What gaps exist in the use of Oracle spatial technologies that limit the investment that has been made;
  5. How well current use matches accepted “best practice” for database technology;
  6. What opportunities exist to improve the Return On the Investment (ROI) made in Oracle Locator and related technologies.

I have been using databases (network & relational) for over 20 years. I have used Oracle for over 17 years. I even know a thing or two about SQL Server, PostgreSQL and MySQL. I give a lecture each year to final year Geomatics students at University on database. So you might say that I know a thing or two about them! What I can bring to your assessment is a knowledge that doesn’t start or end with the spatial aspect of these databases – I understand the “bigger picture” and, through a more “wholistic” approach, can help improve your use of this critical component in your GIS/IT infrastructure. For example, I can help you use Oracle Data Warehouse Builder to “spatially enable” your data warehouse; link Oracle Discoverer to your online mapping system; advise of the use of Application Express or even Microsoft Access as a front end to an Oracle Locator/Spatial enabled database!

4. Spatial DBs.

I am a recognised Oracle Spatial expert and know a bit about most of the current crop of SpatialDBs (PostGIS, SQL Server 2008 Spatial etc). So, if you want fearless and accurate advice on how to migrate to them from legacy GIS technologies and file formats, and help doing so (eg database design), again, I’m your man.

5. Presentations and Training.

I am comfortable with giving presentations and am a good trainer. So, if you want a presentation on business-centric (embedded) GIS or training services around SpatialDBs, again, I’m your man.

6. Radius Topology and Studio.

I can provide design and support work for Laser-Scan’s excellent Topology and Studio products.

7. Data Quality Certification.

My expertise in data, data management and database technologies puts me at the forefront of the new push to provide data quality certification services based around: rules discovery and definition, rules management (via spatially enabled repositories), rules conformance (how well do the data match the rules?), and automated data correction (against those rules). These practices are at the forefront of the data quality iniatives driving the uptake of geospatial data today.

8. General

I am an excellent PL/SQL programmer and can provide you with services in the design, development and deployment of PL/SQL based solutions. I can also program in Java, C# and a range of scripting languages (eg JavaScript and VBScript) and can provide solutions in this area as well. For example, I have developed many solutions using VBScript within Manifold GIS.

I also have expertise in developing FME Workbench scripts and can provide ETL solutions based on this excellent product.

9. Conclusion.

I’m pretty counter-cultural. I don’t like to follow the herd. I will seek out and find the best technology around because it is the best (and, hopefully, the cheapest) and it provides the best solution to your needs. This means I will look outside of the (inward looking) geospatial industry for products and services. So, I have chosen software like Visual Nature Studio in preference to existing GIS 3D visualisation extensions; I have found and promoted the excellent Manifold GIS because its functionality/cost ratio blows any other fat client GIS package out of the water (releasing precious capital and operational expenditure for value-added solutions development). I have a diverse and lengthy experience with GIS technologies from the major vendors and can therefore help you extract the maximum return on investment (ROI) from those precious licenses you have paid a lot for!

This is an informal statement of my capabilities and is pretty well “off the top of my head”. Is this helpful? Do you want me to clarify anything? If so, contact me via the links on this site.

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