Tag: Spatial Technologies

Is Location Information Important to Project Management?

Some time ago I was involved in several discussions around the value of integrating project management and geographic or location information.

The essence of the conversation was that linking the two disciplines provided project management decision makers with important additional information to assist in the operational execution of projects.

As projects become more complex factors such as communication, resource coordination and sharing become increasingly important in managing project timing, costs and potential disruption of associated activities.

Those of us involved in the discussion agreed that a prime example of the need for tighter linkage between project management and spatially relevant data was in the area of urban capital project execution.

An understanding of geospatial information such as: environmental factors, demographics, infrastructure, transportation corridors, etc. is increasingly relevant in measuring project impact and risk.

A Spatially Oriented Project Management Solution

Envista CorporationRecently we came across Envista a software product that integrates aspects of spatial information with project management.

The product is targeted towards municipal governments and associate utility organizations with the goal of helping these organizations identify and mitigate project conflicts.

Envista is a web-based solution that allows various stakeholders in a region to share  information, identify conflicts and provide tools for resolution conflicts and for future project planning.

Envista Working Environment

From a GIS perspective Envista has the ability to accommodate data in .shp file format.  And on the project management side it is compatible with Oracle’s Primavera and IBM Maximo products.

For more information check out Envista and don’t forget their cartoon – Street Cut Capers!  We can always use more humor in this business!

Based on the research we have done, there is more that can be done in the integration of project management and spatial information.  If you know of other solutions or case study examples let us know.

Spatial context is a part of our decision making but spatial information technology may not.

The recent announcement by YourStreet.com that they were discontinuing the use of maps in their hyperlocal news service is a reminder that there is nothing sacred about the application of spatial information tools in a business context.  That is sometimes hard for us to imagine – at least those of us living with spatial data and technology day in and day out.

The reason cited by Directions Magazine was a financial one – maintaining the service was too costly.  Assuming that is true, what does one make of it?

  • Technology used to communicate spatial context has a value associated with it
  • At some point the value of spatial information technology may not justify the cost
  • If that point is reached, the technology in question will be dropped or will atrophy

Should that surprise us? Not really since it pretty much is the way life goes.

In the case of Yourstreet has the importance of spatial information disappeared? I would argue that it has not given that they premise for their business revolves around local (read spatially relevant) news.  Instead, YourStreet has simply determined they will not use online mapping tools as a spatial reference system to help their users.  They have deemed that a descriptive spatial reference system (ie, a user defines the spatial context for news of a particular location in his or her request) is adequate for their user’s needs.

We need to be clear that spatial context is not the same as spatial information technology.  The former can be achieved in a variety of ways.  Technology may aid in providing spatial context but it needs to be evaluated within a cost/benefit framework appropriate to the business or organization in question.