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The Geospatial Wonder

Maneesh Prasad
Maneesh Prasad
Managing Editor & Chief Operating Officer
[email protected]

I blame on some individual or an organisation, as I tirelessly try to give a near-perfect solution for something which is happening. Forgetting, that hind-sight is always 6/6 and free advice are available in plenty.

Working on the Enterprise GIS, and particularly the reason for not so widespread use of GIS at enterprise level, this time again we zeroed on the spatial data. Like rivers finding its way to the sea. Data, the poor whipping boy! If road development ministry is not an aggressive user of GIS at enterprise level, it has to do with the availability of ‘spatial data’. If Malaysian government wants their electricity distribution to be geospatially managed, it waits for data. Makes me feel like requesting the corporate sales team, to have an armour sponsored for the poor kid, ‘Spatial Data’, so that we can continue our job without guilt.

Continuing on this line, I think what the media representatives from RDBMS and Operating System segment would be doing. I feel pity for they would be required to do some good hard work to talk about the innovative-usage and return on investment, as their whipping boy would certainly not be as quite, dumb and beaten-up as ‘Data’. Neither, they would have the option to write on RDBMS for Enterprise Applications and Operating System for Computers.

But for us in Geospatial industry life goes on…and so will the free advice…

In 1970s Richard L. Nolan developed a growth model which describes the adoption of information technology in an organisation. He identified six stages that an organisation could pass through to reach the maturity in terms of use of technology. This ‘Growth Model’ was taken up and refined by Hans Bestebreurtje in 1997 to study the status of geospatial industry in Europe. Hans refined the Nolan’s Growth Model into four phases for Geospatial industry.

In Phase 1, GIS is introduced to the organisation and its usage is isolated from the organization’s business processes. In Phase 2, it leads to the expansion of its usage within the organisation through the effect of contagion, which also at times leads to a “Me Too” syndrome. Phase 3, is marked with the first step towards organisational control over the technology. Phase 4, the last stage towards the maturity of geospatial technology usage in an enterprise, is based upon the integration of geospatial technologies with other business applications, wherein it becomes a part of concept, planning, development and maintenance. In short it is aligned with the organization’s information system. A situation where access to geospatial data is expected to be an intrinsic and invisible part of any enterprise system, enabling business processes across departments and supporting the operational needs of the entire company.

What does this mean?

First, each organisation should go through these phases. This is being advocated by many multi-lateral agencies too. They feel that we need to have systemic approach to an organisation for introduction of any new tools or methods. Secondly, any organisation which is in the initial stage should not be discriminated; rather we need to look at the catalyst which can make them quickly graduate from one phase to another.

Apart from being critical about the situation, we need to look forward to finding the catalyst or removing the impediments, by joining hands in helping organisations graduate from one phase to another.