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Thread: Effective use of technologies but bad GIS companies

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
    Dec 2003

    Effective use of technologies but bad GIS companies

    Short Background
    I have settled down in my home town (after hectic traveling and consulting for over a year and a half) and now started on a new project in my home city.

    While working on my outstation work I came across various kinds of people/specialists/consultants and the experience was worth while.

    The project was funded by a developed country (Internationally Aided Project) for improvement of physical infrastructure in two cities of India.

    I have waited for the project to end (technically speaking) and am posting my observations now. And these are purely as a result of the learning point of view I took and also to elicit reactions or similar experiences from other cyburbians. It definitely attacks the way some people worked and not to forget the fact that it did affect the work and many people lost sleep due to the inefficiencies of others but its my comments are not personal and purely professional.

    Majorly a study and assessment project we were supposed to also come up with a plan within two years.
    Unfortunately there was very efficiency reached especially on the GIS.GIS is well known to have the potential to become the core of any work whether it is planning, development/implementation, management and feedback.
    Knwoing this we ran into numerous issues, the primary reason being the incompetency of the GIS development consulting firm (s). There was too much resistance in sharing the data during the process of planning (a very critical input stage for keeping the plan robust and flexible and open to strict testing from the various variables).
    Basic mapping companies were trying to do GIS development ( no harm if they had had the competency, a question raised by many colleagues)as well as Applications without consulting the other domain specialists in the team.

    Without consulting the end user, applications were being developed and without a plan how the systems would be sustained.

    Most of the people in the team seemed to care very less about these issues and it looked like a racket (consultant interested in doing their time and filling their own coffers).

    With the end user local governments having little knowledge of these issues and also showing low interest in testing the proposed systems, it all seemed to be working well for the companies.

    There was lack of basic understanding the development of GIS as well as its application specific to the users.

    It looks strange that these might have been happening for quite some years. If any of you ever wondered where the all the decades of foreign funding is going in third world countries. Probably this explains…

    So have you come across GIS companies which:
    • are incompetent (can be easily seen and this was the feedback from most consultants about the private company-subconsultant for the GIS aspect)
    • stretch work because they can keep getting paid.
    • don’t share methodologies because of getting caught
    • Don’t share the results of surveys and the resultant GIS
    • Want to develop everything under the sun without even the basic technical qualification backing them up
    • Massively fudging data/results to keep people confused/seemingly happy and satisfied.
    • Are totally and aggressively closed for any third party inspection of process and result.

    And still get away with it and thrive as by the time the things are seen and tested they are far away in the big world economy trying to do another similar coup.

    This is not a rant but a very unbiased observation. The project was good for me personally from all angles but from the end user point of view and also from very very basic professional practice ethics was very flawed.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Nov 2004
    Austin, TX
    I have seen many GIS offices take advantage of people due to the fact that few understand GIS and don't always know the difference. Very unfortunate indeed.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
    Dec 2003

    Is this the TREND

    Mind you this was a multinational team and not just any tom dick and harry!!
    WHile many other consultants (experts in their fields) could see something is seriously wrong, they could not see where it was going wrong.

    For guys like me it was right there in front of us.

    What a waste really. I say this because of not whet we DID do but what We COULD have done by applying the technology properply ( with all the useful information we had collected)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    I have found that just because a technology looks good and appears to provide a functionality that you want, it requires people who understand how the end user is going to use the product. I have now worked in 3 environments that the use of technology is thought to be the cure for inefficient systems, when it is really the systems that need changing, not invested in further by developing computer solutions.

    Considering you are in India, let me guess which software you where trying to use CARIS by Universal Systems, by any chance?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
    Dec 2003

    This might open a can of worms

    Not at all Donk.
    Map Info!!. ( it was already bought. Maybe a predetermined decision)

    Got stuck in "whether Map Basic or MapX". Just Imagine.

    I fully agree about Change in Systems and strengthening of institutions which we are trying toimpose these GIS solutions too.

    Interestingly some third party monitoring agencies raised these issues ( including the one of use, application and SUSTAINABILITY)
    That was just talk. Money going down the drain.

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