Posts Tagged ‘7 habits’

Web 2.0 and GIS at the Port of San Diego

January 26, 2009

Web 2.0 is a vague concept described broadly as the second generation of internet based tools and capabilities which have come about since the bursting of the 2001 dot-com bubble. The term became popular after the O’Reily Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Below is a quick video (51 sec) where Tim O’Reilly (the founder of O’Reily Media) describes Web 2.0.

Let’s dig into his major points and apply them to examples of our daily work at the Port.
“The Network is the Platform and Users add Value”

Our real estate department and Port attorneys set up tenancy agreements with our tenants. These contracts are meant to be static. They are intended to clearly outline the rights and responsibilities that both the Port and our tenants need to adhere to for the duration of the contract. The platform for our relationship is documented on those pieces of paper.

However, in Web 2.0 we create value-added services by increasing connections within our network. For example; the primary goal of this blog is to communicate with Port Employees about GIS and how it is being implemented at the Port. This blog could be written as a paper or email newsletter, but it would really be our department communicating “to” Port Employees, not “with”. At the bottom of each blog post is a “comments”  section where anyone can add their perspective on the issues. If their comment involves a question we can respond to them. Others can read or comment on these comments also and one blog post can become a conversation, or dynamic document. This capability is not possible in the newsletter format or in the example of the lease agreements used above. The use of the network, or the connections between us, can exponentially increase the value our communication. The value-added service we achieve by implementing a dynamic format, instead of a static one, is completely dependent upon participation from the users.

OK, So how does Web 2.0 apply to GIS?
One might be inclined to think that maps are fairly static and data is replaced in regular intervals, but this is Web 1.0 thinking. Through a technique called Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), our various enterprise data management systems, primarily Documents Management, SAP and GIS, can be set up to ask and answer questions from each other. As Port employees we ask these systems questions everyday: Show me all the documents created by John Smith? What is the lease number for the Sheraton? Or how long is the runway at the airport? We can set up SAP, for example, to answer questions from other systems, enabling users, to ask questions like: What lease numbers are withing 100 feet of the Sheraton? Within these systems we are creators and managers of spatially based data. In addition, we can set up new functionality to streamline and improve the efficiency, accessibly, timeliness and accuracy of our data across the systems.

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I’d like to get a little Coveyish

August 25, 2008

I’d like to get a little Coveyish and begin with the end in mind. One of the main reasons we started this blog was so that we could have a central location to brainstorm and discuss ways to bring real customized GIS capabilities to desktops around the Port. The ultimate goal will be to create a  GIS interface that is specific to Port objectives.

In the last post, I posed a few questions that we as internet users (the public) ask of GIS systems out there in the magical cyberspace ether. Basically, a server processes our request and sends back a response. At the port we are working on setting up a system to answer your questions,  which will help you do your jobs better. As we accomplish our everyday tasks I suggest that we begin asking ourselves: “Could I accomplish this task, faster/better/more accurately by working from a geographic perspective.” For example; would clicking on 6 parcels on a map to summarize a statistic (acreage, revenues, ect) be an advantage over the way you do it now? The obvious truth is that the cyberspace ether is not magical. Each of these Geographic Information Systems have been finely tuned to answer specific questions (where is the cheapest gas is in town?) and are ready to accept specific inputs (city, state, zip, all gas stations or just Arco). You get the point.

This is all great to think about but have we accomplished anything yet? I am proud to announce that we have indeed scratched the surface toward giving real functionality to our users. The first step has to get some Port specific GIS Data up so we can overlay it on an aerial. What better data than the Port Tidelands Map Book? Unfortunately, this service is only being served and consumed on my computer. However, we hope to get it up and running on an actual server shortly. When this occurs it will begin the beta stage of the software development process. Check out the video below if you’d like to see this in action on my computer.

Please ignore the technical difficulties I ran into at the end of the video.

PS-In order to keep this blog nice and light we would like to share little tidbits of our lives down here in the IT annex. This is the song stuck in Malcolm’s head today. He keeps humming it randomly.