GoGeomatics Awarded Contract: Maintenance of Canada’s Largest Enterprise GIS
‘Twas the week before Christmas and GoGeomatics has been called in to assist one of the largest non-profit clients in the world. This client operates world wide but the base of operations is in Canada. It was a little more northern Canada than GoGeomatics was used to. Travel was a constant irritant. We cannot divulge the identity of the client for confidentiality reasons. We thought that you may be interested in the world-wide problem that could have caused plenty of tears around the globe if it had not been fixed (we mean that literally). Our clients enterprise GIS system they operate had crashed and the in-house team was really lost. Looming was a major deadline that they just had to meet at the end of December and we were tasked to get them back on track.
A little more about the problems we found. Our client operates the largest enterprise GIS system in the world so you would think that only the best of the best would be working for this company. This could not be further from the truth. The in-house team was troublesome. The team was mischievous. One might say the team would rather be making toys than caring about GIS. Our client had tried over and over to provide clear and easy directions for his team. But they had the exasperating habit of breaking out in song at any moment. Their GIS work did not come easily to them, and on-going training was required much more often compared to a regular GIS team. But as GIS consultants it’s our job to work with what we have so we persevered. One of the early issues was the incessant singing. Yes singing. It was the fist music based GIS issue our team had grappled with. The in-house team insisted on singing before, during, and after all GIS work. They were however, surprisingly good at it. It seemed to be part of the corporate culture of the organization and we did not want to change it even though it was distracting. They are most likely singing even now.
As you may have guessed, with the end of month deadline coming up, time was of the essence. Of course GoGeomatics was up to the challenge. The size of their enterprise GIS system was quite literally the largest we’ve ever seen. Patches were downloaded and updated, terraquads of data analyzed and mapped but still glitches were found. We were aware of three major issues: their GPS receiver has been having troubles, geocoding issues, and that their top-secret list was not associated with the proper people.
Our clients GPS receivers has been acting up, and we needed to get to the bottom of it. On the GPS side of the issue that feeds into the GIS we discovered the Dilution of Precision (DOP) was too high for the receiver to receive a proper signal. We advised they to utilize the GNSS Planning Outline to test out the DOP level. Two problems though:
- Our client cannot change the time frame that he will be using his GPS receiver, therefore the DOP level could be too high, but still his GPS receiver has to be usable, accurate and reliable.
- The DOP forecaster requires a latitude/longitude point to accurately forecast the DOP levels. Our clients latitude/longitude will cover every landmass on Earth, therefore it would be beyond tedious to enter every lat/long.
After all of the above issues were checked, re-checked and triple-checked, a red light started blinking! (Both literally and figuratively). Our clients mode of transportation had been neglected, no surprise considering the teams lack of sufficient geomatics training. These nine magnificent creatures were gnawing on the GPS receivers themselves – there were apparently never enough carrots to go around. Ample apples and carrots were fetched, and new receivers were located and prepped to be used by securing them within our clients giant cloak – far away from the reindeer.
In addition to our clients GPS receiver dilemma, his team was having trouble geocoding. We assumed it was due to the reference data. We can’t have little Bobby receiving Suzy Lou’s tap shoes. Of course it was because of the delivery system not updating their address locator. We checked all of the field headers to ensure that there were no spaces or special characters. On top of that, how would they know of the new land parcel partitions, and be able to differentiate from 123A Believe St and 123B Believe St? Even though the Holidays are among us, people are still selling, partitioning, and acquiring land. Therefore the most up-to-date addresses must be used to minimize a new address from forming unknowingly.
The third area of concern was that some of the clients data had no primary or secondary keys to build a relationship with some of the new data in the geographic data sets. The first field contained the persons first and last name. The second field contained either ‘Naughty’ or ‘Nice’ (not gray areas here so we changed it to 0 and 1). The second table contained each child’s first and last name, and the subsequent fields contained their addresses. Eventually a simple relationship was used, so that Table 1 and Table 2 could be combined and an address is associated with each child’s Naughty/Nice status.
As you can see, it was essential that GoGeomatics Canada worked quickly to help our client. We have worked through each issue methodically and performed Quality Assurance/Quality Control (as we do with all of our work) providing our client with top-notch results.
GoGeomatics Canada thoroughly enjoyed working with this new client. A client of such good humor, patience, and understanding is rare in this world. You might even describe the CEO there as jolly. GoGeomatics is proud to have completed this monumental and historic task. We are hopeful that no other issues arise, and that everyone is able to have a worry-free holidays!
Our client was able to pass on a new lead to another organisation that distributes and manufactures egg products. We anticipate more work in the future.
(Editors note: GoGeomatics was paid with candy canes. We did not read the fine print of the contract and now have an unsettling large amount of holiday treats to offload. If anyone is willing to take these off our hands it would be appreciated.)