Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Road Ahead: Time for Change

Happy New Year and welcome to geoExpressions!

For many people, now is the time to think of the road ahead – the time for making New Year’s resolutions. Yet, while some people vow to get more exercise, strive to lose weight or promise to quit smoking, I committed to writing a blog. Ok – I have to admit; even though I have written and published several papers and presented numerous conference presentations about CAD and GIS throughout my career, geoExpressions is my first blog and this blog entry is my first post.

As an engineer who has worked in the GIS industry since 1988, I have witnessed the evolution of design drafting from pencil and paper to computer aided drafting to model based design. I have seen CAD evolve from a drawing only environment to one that embraces geospatial data and databases. Today’s CAD has changed.

And yet, I still see many engineering, CAD and geospatial professionals continue to limit CAD to the realm of design drafting. Consequently, for many organizations, paper is still the prevalent output medium for maps and drawings; integration of CAD and GIS data means an inefficient import/export process; and analysis involves loading the data into spreadsheets or handing the data over to geospatial gurus. Ultimately, these outdated workflows result in decreased efficiencies which negatively impact budgets and business objectives.

As local governments, utilities and other organizations design, build and manage our above- and below-ground infrastructure in the face of ever increasing infrastructure deficits, it is imperative that we find new ways of doing things. The more dollars we save; the more dollars we can put towards repairing our roads, bridges, water mains and other infrastructure.

For my New Year’s resolution, I have committed to writing this blog because of a need for change... a more efficient way of expressing my thoughts on the engineering and geospatial challenges still encountered by many organizations.

And so, when you look at the road ahead, if you are frustrated by CAD and GIS integration, if you are looking to put more dollars towards maintaining the roads rather than on outdated and inefficient workflows, make a New Year’s resolution; challenge the status quo and commit to new ways of doing things.

Until next time... go ahead... take a moment to geoExpress yourself!

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