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LIDAR data for fun and games

LIDAR data for fun and games

Most governments (at all levels: municipality, region, county, district, state, federal, etc.) have some form of open or publicly accessible data.  The United Kingdom has made new data available at the request of gamers.

“The aim is to help organisations, businesses, and individuals to do everything from manage forests, discover hidden archaeological features, and even create virtual reality worlds for gaming.”

Some of the data has been available for a couple years, but this month they took a significant step and made available a massive 11 terabyte dataset.  The dataset is available for free through their online portal.

The UK’s Environment Agency states that their hope is that this data serves as a catalyst for new leads and innovation.

Minecraft players have requested our LIDAR data to help them build virtual worlds, the data could be useful to anyone creating realistic 3D worlds.”

Minecraft projects might be a new achievement to list on the resumes and CVs for Geospatial Professionals!


ESRI’s LGIM is great, but…

ESRI’s LGIM is great, but…

ESRI has long provided ArcGIS for Local Government and with it the Local Government Information Model (or LGIM).  The LGIM is a model based on specific GIS datasets, web services and map components that are commonly used by Governments in their implementations of ArcGIS.

The LGIM is comprehensive.  The team at ESRI have done a stellar job of collecting and packaging the information and making it available to their customers.  The Local Government Information Model comes with a huge array of datasets and classes covering: school boundaries, tax assessment, election districts, emergency operations (police and fire), facilities, streets, addresses, and so much more.

The Local Government Information Model is great, but…

The proverbial elephant in the room, the question that needs to be answered is: “Can your government use it?”

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t going to be straightforward for most governments hoping looking at the LGIM.  If your city/county/state doesn’t have any existing GIS data or systems, then we would very highly recommend starting with LGIM and configuring aspects to suit your situation.

The reality for most governments is far different.  For most organizations, and this is true for governments as well, the adoption of GIS technologies has been sporadic and disparate.  Different groups with different needs select and implement different solutions that specifically address a singular problem.  As time goes on, more demands are made of that solution and more (data, features, functions) are added in an ad-hoc manner.  GIS implementations typically end up being very silo’ed and lack any consistency of operational efficiency.

Over the last couple years concerns around costs combined with the desire to provide quality information in an efficient manner have governments looking to consolidate GIS platforms and data.  It’s impossible to know if the LGIM is a good fit for you until you have a complete understanding of the current state of your GIS infrastructure, systems and data.  Here are a few things to review when evaluating:

  • Any and all GIS systems currently in use.
  • All departments, groups, teams, external systems (including public information portals) connected.
  • Existing datasets and sources of data.
  • Workflow processes for teams who operate the GIS platform.
  • Any current or future needs from the system

Once you’ve performed a thorough assessment and have an understanding of the goals and future state of GIS for your government, then you are able to really evaluate if the LGIM will be a good fit for you.  In our experience, the LGIM is a good starting point.  In most implementations the LGIM will need to be configured to the governments specific needs and the existing data converted and augmented.  The solution is often a hybrid.

At the end of the day, ESRI’s LGIM is a great starting point and offers most governments the flexibility to grow and extend their services and offerings.  Understanding where you are starting from can be as important as deciding how you envision the end state for your government’s GIS, we can help you get there!

Contact us to get started:

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Nationally Certified Minority Supplier of GIS Consulting  Services

Nationally Certified Minority Supplier of GIS Consulting Services

Essnova Solutions is a certified Minority Business Enterprise with the State of Alabama and with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).  Essnova Solutions is also a certified Small Business with the SBA.

Essnova focuses on providing customized technology and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) solutions with specific experience in utilities, municipalities and government agencies.  Essnova believes in a true partnership approach in which we collaborate with our partners to deliver valuable solutions to our partners.

Essnova Solutions NAICS Codes:

  • 511210 – Software publishers
  • 541360 – Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services
  • 541370 – Surveying and Mapping (except Geophysical) Services
  • 541511 – Custom Computer Programming Services
  • 541512 – Computer Systems Design Services
  • 541513 – Computer Facilities Management Services
  • 541519 – Other Computer Related Services
  • 541611 – Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
  • 541618 – Other Management Consulting Services
  • 611420 – Computer Training

We are extremely proud of our long-standing relationships and the impact we’ve helped our partners achieve in their organizations and communities.

Enterprise GIS Strategic Assessment

Enterprise GIS Strategic Assessment

Geospatial Information Systems are at the very core of many organizations processes and services.  Despite the central and critical role these systems play in organizations, they are often implemented in a fragmented manner, designed specifically to service the needs of a single group or department.  After the implementation additional needs, services and processes are tied to the GIS platform in an ad-hoc manner.  This can create a disconnected environment where processes are not consistent or efficient, the value of the GIS and data is limited, information and expertise is silo’ed, and the organization is not able to achieve the desired value from their GIS platforms and capabilities.

At Essnova Solutions, we’ve seen all manner of implementations and environments; with our GIS Consulting experience, we’ve helped organizations develop a strategic plan for their enterprise GIS systems, and then worked with them to implement and act upon their strategy.

We would like to help you take the first step with our FREE Enterprise GIS Assessment.  At a high level, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Conducting a GIS needs assessment and review current GIS responsibilities in the organization;
  • Evaluating departmental user needs for GIS resources;
  • Identifying staffing levels, support structure, hardware and software platforms;
  • Data sharing procedures that do not match current industry standards;
  • Recommending steps to reduce or eliminate silos and redundancy of GIS data within the organization;
  • Providing a general recommendation of emerging technologies and concepts applicable to the organization’s structure and vision;
  • Identifying opportunities to provide improved GIS data and resource sharing, opportunities for departmental collaboration within the organization, as well as interaction with external groups;
  • Developing suggested operating procedures to best ensure the successful implementation and sustainment of the recommended plan;
  • Identifying training and development opportunities for GIS users;
  • Recommending procedures for reviewing and assessing current GIS data quality;
  • Review of GIS platform technology architecture, and system interfaces.


Request your FREE Enterprise GIS Strategic Assessment:

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Mobilizing your GIS Platform and Information

Mobilizing your GIS Platform and Information

The use of mobile devices and applications has grown rapidly over the last decade.  Early in 2014 there was a significant milestone achieved: from that point through today, there are more users of mobile devices than desktop computers (according to a report from comScore).

In 1999, Research In Motion (or RIM) released the first Blackberry.  Promising organizations increased productivity, the “Smartphone” began gaining mainstream adoption in business and enterprise.  Over the next 7 years RIM grows into a huge $67B corporation, and the standard for mobile connectivity.
In 2007, that all changed.  Apple releases the iPhone and redefines what a “Smartphone” should be, and how they are used.  This didn’t just change the financial direction for RIM, it changed the entire market place for cell phones.  No longer were “Smartphone” sold to business users, now they were the domain of the individual.  Enterprises and organizations all had to adapt to the shift in technology and the primary drivers.

This story, this trend is important to remember and to learn from today.  GIS platforms are primarily designed to be used on desktop PCs.  However, there is an ever increasing demand to mobilize this information.  Getting the GIS data off the PC and out to the users when they need it, and importantly where they need it is a hallmark of “Best in Class” organizations.

Essnova Solutions is able to offer and support some of the best mobile GIS platforms available.  We can help your organization get mobile on iOS, Android and Windows platforms.


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