Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Superstorm Sandy's impact might indeed live up to the hype that preceded it. But the challenges for emergency management officials remain the same: identifying the priorities, and moving the right assets and resources into the right place at the right time. This storm is no different, the response has already drawn criticism from many sides, including FEMA's supplemental power generation.
Geospatial technoligies have seen a proliferation of 'open' and interconnected components in the last few years. REST APIs and OGC standards help, but it is still much easier to connect systems, than it is to connect people. The challenge remains - getting the right people the right information at the right time. With every new GIS portal launched, the promise of a Common Operating Picture fades from view. When questions of "which portal do I use?" reverberate across the list-serves, sharing shapefiles via E-mail help soothe the pain of COP-creep.
Encouragingly though, it is now easier to connect people with the technology. While silos and fiefdoms may not like talking to each other, the crowd will now push them to action. Even FEMA has praised the collaborative efforts of groups like Humanitarian Open Street Map and their application to validate damage assessment photos from the Civil Air Patrol. The abundance of crowd-sourced data and applications helps to augment (and QC) the 'authoritative' versions. Evidence of this also includes two road-closure sites maintained side-by-side in Fairfax Co. Virginia.
All maps lie - they hide truths and obscure facts. By their very nature, they must present a viewpoint that is myopic - limited by the variables and symbology chosen by their creator. The challenge for those in the profession is to discern the burning questions that decision makers face, and tell a story that best illustrates a path forward. We have plenty of techno-talent, geo-lingo-jargon-experts and princely fiefdoms. It's encouraging to see democratic systems that help feed swift solutions to bridge the gap of what-do-we-know and what-do-we-do.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
I don't see "maps" anywhere on this chart....
Apple's unusual stumble proves that LBS, navigation and online mapping is a key business driver - one that requires a significant investment in data, programming and expertise. Don't leave home (or go to market) without it...
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, November 7, 2011
I couldn't have been more wrong. As Apple and other game-changing organizations have proven time and again, successful product strategies are all about divining what the market values and is willing to pay for. That can be, and more than often is, completely different from what users say they want, and from what competitors currently provide. We didn't know we needed an iPhone, or a Tivo or DropBox, etc, until the product wizards conjured them up.
I'm starting to believe the same thing rings true with Project management. It's relatively easy to do user interviews, come up with a requirements checklist and execute towards a finished solution. The more difficult question to answer is - what will truly make that solution successful in the organization? The old saying "Be careful what you ask for" rings true here: do customers really understand what they've asked for, and will their stakeholders embrace and make it successful?Are we taking into account the complexity of learning and using the final product? Does it ultimately make the task simpler, or is just another thing to learn how to do?
The risk for not taking this into consideration as a project manager, is that your solution may ultimately fail at the customer's organization despite your successful project delivery. When the customer gets everything they ask for, seldom do they get what they really need.