August 31, 2011

Finding My Center… Board

I took my humble sailboat out sailing with a friend the other day. When we got to the beach I realized the centerboard was hanging in the garage 20 minutes away. I apologized to my friend and then jokingly took the auxiliary plastic paddle and slid it into the centerboard slot. My adventuresome friend shot me a let’s-try-it look. So we used the little plastic paddle as a centerboard. We had a spirited sail and that modest paddle held its own. While underway water was gushing out of the space normally filled with the proper centerboard. I then began falling behind on the bailing. A small crack in the deck at my feet meant that the hull was also filling up with water in addition to the cockpit. We had to cut the afternoon short to avoid breaking the paddle and risking a long swim. Something was going to give way, and or we were going to end up sailing the boat underwater.

The paddle did work in one sense, but then again it didn’t provide us with the same productivity or performance we should have enjoyed, and indirectly lead to more slowing by contributing to a combination of issues that could have sunk us. The paddle was capable, flexible, but not the right equipment for the job. The right equipment, my boat’s centerboard, was on the shelf in the garage and afforded me no benefit where I was... at the beach.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that I need access to the right tools for different working environments in the place I need them. In terms of GIS I need at different times to be working inside CAD, or in a web app, and other times collaborating with CAD, desktop and mobile colleagues with the same information, each in our own way at the same time.

I like how ArcGIS Server multi-user feature services allow me to edit geodatabases using just the free viewer on, or ArcMap, or with my I-phone, or soon with ArcGIS for AutoCAD all using the same online services. The ArcGIS system concept fueled by ArcGIS Server services make good sense and is simplifying how I work.

There is a new capability that allows me to upload file-based data into online web maps to share and edit. It spins-up my uploaded file-based data into a GIS service in the cloud that I can share and edit.

1. Bring the centerboard
2. Patch the hole in the deck
3. Check out the new file-based data upload capability <here>
4. Get ready for smooth sailing ahead
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