Did you learn a lot at the 2014 Minnesota GIS/LIS Conference? We always do.
We also had an opportunity to present two sessions: one on converting West Fargo’s mapping from CAD to GIS, and another on using ESRI’s ARCPy to replace an archaic file structure. Both illustrated how Moore Engineering uses GIS to help decision-makers more easily see, analyze and use data.
Here are some takeaways, if you missed us, or want a brief recap.
Gretchen’s tips on CAD to GIS conversion:
- Be passionate and persistent in educating peers, clients and others about the benefits of conversion – it will pay off in the end.
- Communicate the rewards: efficiency, utility, and usability.
- Maintaining data integrity during the conversion can be difficult when programs don’t recognize certain file formats. We found using other programs helps keep the files more intact and makes the data structure more stable for future analysis.
- Map design is important and there’s a lot of psychology involved. Keep your audiences in mind when making maps. Choose shapes, color associations and size of your text to suit them.
The best result: The snowball effect. Conversion opens the door to all kinds of exciting possibilities as people interact with their maps and imagine what else they might do.
Tom’s tips on using Python to quickly bring non-GIS users on board:
- We used the Python language to help non-GIS people (mostly engineers) get into GIS and perform complicated repetitive analysis through custom scripts.
- Starting with file migration, we worked with engineers to create a much more organized system where project files could be found quickly and easily.
- In phase two, we generated custom tools for Moore engineers to use in working with clients, and are creating a custom intranet interactive web map. These tools not only improve efficiency, they help empower non-GIS users.
- Because Python works on many different platforms, we’ll be able to do a lot more with it in the future – on mobile, the Internet, servers and more.
The best result: Looking at a map that provides a visual representation of information in a couple of seconds, as opposed to searching for and reading though mountains of text documents.
Interested in knowing more about these projects or how Moore Engineering uses GIS to help our clients? Let’s talk.