Posts Tagged ‘blog’

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.

A comment about security

September 22, 2008

First, I would like to give a big shoutout to the official AGX Blog for linking to us here at the Port of San Diego. The AGX team does a great job of getting clear and valuable information out to us about advances in our niche world focused on AGX and ArcGIS Server (AGS). Since their link over 170 people have clicked over to check out this blog. I mention this as a segue to discuss security. In a web 2.0 world, it is a much easier decision to close off systems and to bring everything “in-house” rather than spend the time to develop rules about what information can be shared and what can’t.

We would like keep this blog open to the public. Many other GIS departments around the world are developing similar projects, because help from peers can be invaluable. If others have already figured out a good or better way to overcome a similar goal we would like them to be part of the conversation. On the other hand, many of us deal with sensitive data that must be kept in-house. GIS has the capability of exposing this type of information. For example, here at the Port we have public and private webcam feeds. I think a discussion referencing that we have private webcams on port property is reasonable. However, we need to be careful not to expose information such as where they are located and how to access them. In these cases, a DM# to content on our internal network will be posted.

If the content posted on this blog starts to become a concern we will move it to an internal network. All comments need to be approved by Malcolm or myself. We will be mindful of this concern and will always err on the side of safety.

Some sandiegopolarbear zen.