When first reading this blog you might ask yourself: Why start a blog now? It is true we have had a vibrant GIS program at the Port for over 10 years now. Over the years many of you have worked closely with Malcolm Miekle and/or have ArcView or full blown ArcInfo on your work computer. If you are computer savvy you know GIS is no longer limited to career GISers. Google Maps/Earth, Virtual Earth, and a myriad of other mapping programs have become ubiquitous online as a layman’s GIS. They provide fast and clear imagery and access to a wide range of data in virtually real time and literally at your fingertips. Want to know where the cheapest gas is in town? Is Tropical Storm Fey going to hit Mobile Alabama? I wonder how much my neighbors house is worth? Access to this type of spatially linked information is changing the method and speed at which we can acquire this information. Within the last few years, the field of GIS has changed. GIS was previously dominated by professional GISers. With the advent of the aforementioned technologies the field is now focused upon bringing basic GIS capabilities to people who use geographic data on a regular basis but are not career GISers. There are obvious spatial implications on the Engineering, LandUse and Planning, Environmental, Real Estate and Harbor Police departments.
Much of your data/information is most likely held in systems, such as Excell, Access, Oracle, SQL Server, AutoCAD, or SAP. I even know of a few paper-based systems. We hope to bring the power of these Port specific systems, linked to a location on earth, to your desktop. As you might guess, this is where you come in.