GIS – What do I ACTUALLY do?….

What do YOU do?

We’ve all laughed at the joke, what my mum thinks I do, what my friends think I do…..and so on;

ImageBut what do you tell the the bank when they ask what your job is? Or how about when you get your car insurance? GIS Consultant, GIS Technician & Geoninja are extremely rare to see on any job list and if you do utter your job title you inevitable encounter those dreaded words:

What exactly does that job entail?

And there you have it, the million dollar question – What is it you actually do?

I was asked recently as part of a proposal for work to put together a capability statement and jokingly said that I couldn’t put what I do down on paper, they pushed me….so I started writing, this is what came out:

  • Geomatics (GIS & Data Management):

Here at PMSS we don’t just provide GIS consultancy, we provide Geomatic (the integration of technologies relating to the acquisition, storage, manipulation and management of spatially related data) solutions. Our team is experienced through years of involvement with renewable energy clients  to produce the very best answers to all your geospatial, cartographic, data management or development needs.

PMSS uses ESRI ArcGIS Desktop, QGIS, AutoCAD and WindPro as part of their suite of analysis tools. Their Geomatics team are involved in The British Cartography Society, The UK Hydrography Society and MEDIN as part of their dedication to providing an elite solution.

  • Support:

Our Geomatics team have developed their expertise through years of working with real clients and issues in some of the top industries in a wide range of disciplines so that they can provide real answers to solutions. Support for all aspects of geospatial technology are provided with a focus on

  • Mapping:

With a drive for quality and an eye for cartography, our team deliver products that are not only geospatially accurate but are also cartographically elegant, providing mapping which can relate the information without the need for words. Mapping can be supplied in a wide variety of formats depending on individual need.

  • Analysis:

Whether calculating the real distance of a subsea cable based on the undulation of the terrain or estimating the available wind energy resource in a field parcel, our team is committed to providing the most accurate answer based on industry standard data and years of experience within the industry. No piece of analysis is too small or too big and all analysis is done using the latest geoprocessing techniques to ensure consistency and high resolution.

  • Data Management:

Providing expert help from start to finish, our Geomatics team are at the cutting edge of data standards and geospatial guidelines. Whatever the requirement, the team are dedicated to assisting in streamlining and modernising any data storage system and help find the most efficient solution based on your need.

  • Development:

Entering into the world of geospatial information systems is a daunting and intimidating task with complex jargon. Our Geomatics team are here to help, with years of experience working with a vast array of renewable energy clients , software providers and clients new to the market, we can translate the jargon and negotiate the right system for your company.

  • If you already have a great system but require a little more from it, we can provide system analysis, application development, create new tools and provide architecture consultancy amongst a few of our offerings
  • Cartographic Representation Advice:

Mapping is now so accessible that sometimes the representation of the map is overlooked. Let us provide guidance on best practice or create and provide icons for use  within your maps , we can provide a complete service which will ensure consistency and elegant cartography for all your maps throughout a report.

  • Data Quality Analysis:

The quality of the data that is used by a business is a measure of how well its organizational data practices satisfy business, technical, and regulatory standards. Organizations with poor data quality spend time working with conflicting reports and flawed business plans, resulting in erroneous decisions that are made with outdated, inconsistent, and invalid data. We can help to make your data a valuable asset to your organisation.

  • Report & Document Consistency Assurance:

A well written report can change the way an organisation is seen by their competitors. We can provide a complete service to ensure all text and mapping are consistent and provide a third person review of how the information is seen by external sources thus giving more market presence.

  • Metadata Development and Management:

Metadata is a basic requirement of the Crown Estate for data transfer on Round 3 projects  yet it can be confusing, time consuming and quite often collected in multiple formats, if at all. Our understanding of the many different standards and their implementation means that we can provide you with the power to take control of your metadata. We can also provide tools to create your own catalogues or even create your metadata for you.

  • Review and analysis of business objectives and company needs for GIS:

The adoption of a successful GIS is not as straight forward as it first appears with so many technologies and potential applications available in the market now. Depending on whether you intend on undertaking simple analysis, creating maps for clients or online mapping can make a great difference in both cost and system design.  Let us guide you, using our experience and knowledge to get a powerful system which can deal with all your organisations need at a cost that meets your expectation.

  • Asset Management:

The ability to efficiently manage and extract information about your existing assets and projects can reduce cost and empower teams to understand the direct risks and issues. PMSS has worked alongside existing organisations using their asset management tools to spatially integrate data to provide efficient end to end solutions which visualise the data better and create an unsurpassed solution. Please contact us for a demonstration of what we can do for you.

  • GIS Data Resource analysis and availability:

Until recently a GIS depended largely on surveyed or internally created data. With the increased use of GIS has come an increased wealth of data from all over the world, with our global presence and knowledge of GIS analysis on a global scale, we can advise on the best industry standard data or the most suitable data for your project and help guide you through the licensing process. Whether it is the other side of the world or in a field across the road, we are confident that we can help.

  • GIS Data Resource analysis and availability:

Until recently a GIS depended largely on surveyed or internally created data. With the increased use of GIS has come an increased wealth of data from all over the world, with our global presence and knowledge of GIS analysis on a global scale, we can advise on the best industry standard data or the most suitable data for your project and help guide you through the licensing process. Whether it is the other side of the world or in a field across the road, we are confident that we can help.

  • Data standard guidance and data models:

Within the current renewables environment, there is little in the way of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) which can make interaction with large projects consisting of multiple disciplines complicated. With our extensive experience in all areas of the renewables sector, we are best placed to advise on best practices, standards and even provide data models to ensure full interoperability to increase the efficiency of a project.

  • Site Design and layout:

Using the very latest analysis techniques and using advanced geoprocessing, our team can ensure accurate and consistent results, extracting and detailing refined answers quickly and efficiently. Having worked on all manner of renewable projects with outstanding success, we can ensure that the service we provide will be an excellent investment.

  • Heat Mapping:

Understanding the potential resource available to intelligently target areas is a cost effective way of deciding areas of focus for renewable energy projects, PMSS has the best data at hand to extract and analyse data quickly and accurately,  we can also provide heat mapping to show analyse areas of risk, cumulative impact or interest.

  • 2D & 3D Map Creation:

The ability to make everyone understand your plans or the impacts of an issue easily can be done many ways using a GIS. By using 3D visualisation a set of spatial data can come alive, terrain, features and issues can be seen in context in a way that several paper maps or charts couldn’t. Using industry standard software we can ensure that any data we create is compatible with your current GIS.

  • Interactive PDF creation:

Giving a client a paper map is so last year! With the latest software we can provide the same maps but in Adobe Reader format (PDF) which is fully interactive. The user can manipulate layers, interrogate attribute tables and even get the coordinates in a variety of datum. This format really comes into its own when there are large numbers of constraints and issues which all need relaying, as the user can easily switch between the layers without the map becoming too convoluted.

  • Offshore and onshore survey representation:

With so much being reliant on a survey, it is critical that it is represented clearly and accurately. Our team has been involved with some of the country’s top renewable projects and understands the importance in representing the information correctly. No matter what format your survey is captured in, let us use our expertise and skill to bring your survey information to life.

  • Mass production and mapping to A0 and above:

Our geomatics team have years of experience dealing with high volume output. With a large resource available, our team can produce large volumes of maps in a wide variety of formats with little set-up time. With a rigorous internal QA system you can be assured the deadline will be met. We also have the facility to print larger than A0, allowing for maps and representations which can be seen from the back of the largest auditorium.

  • Geographic Risk Model Development:

By modelling and quantifying risk spatially it is possible to analyse potential issues due to failing processes or cumulative impacts in advance and how they can be avoided. With our proven track record in the Health & Safety sector, Environmental Scientists and navigational experts we can apply the most appropriate models for your needs.

  • Linear Referencing (Cable Routing)  & Least Cost Path Analysis:

The design and creation of cable routes whether onshore or offshore can often be costly and time-consuming. Using the latest GIS we are able to calculate the most affective route or the shortest route dependant on your criteria, either as a high level analysis to ensure you focus your project on the right area or as a detailed analysis to provide the most cost-effective cable route available.

  • Site Selection through Multi-criteria:

Here at PMSS we have refined the site selection process to a finely honed automated routine which accurately analyses a search area and extracts a large list of information consistently time and time again. Based on our proven track record in the renewable industry we  use the latest data and complex geoprocessing to provide results far beyond what you would expect.

  • Spatial Analysis:

With the growing number of constraints and issues restricting the build of renewable projects it is imperative to assess the spatial relationships and cumulative impacts. Our geomatics team are well versed in  spatial analysis disciplines such as; suitability modelling, surface analysis, distance analysis. Density analysis, solar analysis, map algebra, land use analysis, data interpolation, cost weighting and wind resource calculation amongst a few.

  • 3D Analysis, Modelling and Visualization (ZTV):

By using 3 dimensions data can be viewed in a more realistic perspective and issues produced by terrain, bathymetry, hydrology in relation to physical features can be seen and queried. Using these analysis tools our team can produce fly throughs (also available in anaglyph 3D), recreate realistic visualisations of scenarios or projects, analyse real world issues, create subsea cable profiles and create zone of theoretical visability (ztv) analysis amongst a handful of the range of products

  • Network Analysis:

With a growing need for analysing and producing refined cable routes and transport access routes it has become necessary for our team to provide a suite of network analysis services. From simple functions such as closest feature, emergency response or driving directions through to complex functions such as dynamic impedance and location allocation.

  • Address Geocoding & reverse geocoding:

Whether the need for geocoding arises from identifying residential and industrial locations, adding geospatial location to data or the address data requires update to include captured data. Our team can

  • Data Capture, Creation, Digitization and Conversion:

With links to the Ordnance Survey and involvement with the British Cartography Society and the UK Hydrographic Society our team also have experience of many survey methods. Dealing with many of the formats of data and ensuring the highest quality our team can transfer knowledge into spatial features with the greatest of ease. Whether your requirement is simply creating a new boundary for a map or resampling and conversion of your geophysical survey, you can rely on us.

  • Image Geo-rectification:

The best analysis comes from looking at data from all your project members, engineers, developers, HSE etc. Our geomatics team have spent many years involved in projects combining images from reports, CAD output, admiralty charts and many more into maps which show the whole story and bring the information into perspective. We are also experienced in rectification and manipulation of aerial imagery, please contact us to discuss your need.

  • Demographic analysis:

Where public opinion has become a large force  within the renewable industry our team have developed methods of analysing information about the type of population who may live near your proposed development, information on population size, attitude towards environmental issues, unemployment, number of planning permissions granted to name a few.

  • Renewables Resource Assessment:

Assessing the potential for development and predicting potential gain can significantly enhance your project design and area of focus for further projects. With a proven record in resource assessment our team has the skill and knowledge to extract the information you need.

  • Customised Desktop and Web based GIS application development:

As well as designing you GIS, we can take you current GIS to its full potential providing you with the tools accelerate your business forward with our range of services such as tool development, web mapping, map customisation and interface customisation.

  • System Analysis and Architecture:

Even the most expensive GIS can struggle when the data around it is poorly organised or it may be that multiple factors combine to slow what should be a super system. Our geomatics team work together with our experienced IT professionals to evaluate your system to provide a solution which could improve productivity and allow new confidence in your investment.

  • GIS System Design

Getting the right system for your needs can be costly, complicated and time-consuming with so many software manufacturers , system designs and specialised tools. We can assess your requirement and discuss your future expectations to derive the most cost-effective solution which will not only serve you well now but when you need to expand will provide you with the core elements to make the move easily.

Thats a lot to tell the bank!

That was just the tip of the iceberg when I realised that there was even more I could add to that again….

What I am wondering now is whether the issue here lies with the lack of publicity about GIS (I can easily see myself hosting a BBC show on GIS *hint*) or whether the issue lies in the generic title of “GIS”

Let’s consider the many elements of GIS, you could easily reduce many of them into smaller categories, for example cartography, geospatial analysis, survey & geophysical analysis are all job roles in their own right.

Due to the increased functionality and capability of the modern GIS, no user IS specialist, there is no “cartographer” anymore…..the cartographer is usually also a web designer, developer and QA analyst….the “geophysical survey specialist” is usually a 3D visualisation expert, data cleaner, data format consultant and adviser on datums….

So what is the answer? Do we continue under the blanket term of GIS?

Now that there is so much breadth in the industry, I believe it is time to find another term, one which can encapsulate the true abilities and expertise inherent in all the relevant areas.

But what is it? That is up for debate and I look forward to being part of the discussion, terms like “geotech” for a web developer or “geovis” for a 2D/3D map & visualisation person start to inspire me that we are slowly getting there but we, as an industry are way off. When I look at other industries jobs there is a lot more clarity –

Doctor – specialist terms under this maybe oncologist, pediatrician or even general practitioner.

Accountant – specialist terms under this may be forensic, tax or even social

Scientist – specialist terms under this may be astrophysicist, ecologist or even lepidopterists

You can see how there is one overarching term  which describes to profession and then a term to describe the speciality… day maybe GIS will be the same (hopefully)

One thing is for sure, I am not sure that I can have another conversation where I ask “Are you SURE you want to know what exactly I do?”……..

Nick D

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