My Services

1. Solutions Architecture.

I discovered over the years that I am a pretty good systems and solutions architect.

How does this apply to you?

Well, let’s say you have a business problem you want to be solved. You have a bunch of technology options that provide a framework (or constraint) for delivery, and want to know how best to create a solution to the problem in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. (And even oversee its implementation.)

I can cut through the bull around J2EE and .NET and numerous other buzzwords and TLAs that confuse managers and allow vendors to lock in customers. I don’t like the fact that vendors sell you software when you need a SOLUTION. I will try and concentrate on the latter ALWAYS.

That is what I class as Solutions Architecture: and I am good at it!

2. Solutions Review

Let’s say you have a consultant who has designed you a system (or you have a bunch of responses to a tender) and you want someone to fearlessly tell you what is right or wrong with the proposal: I’m your man.

Example. I was given a GIS Strategy document for one Government Organisation (name withheld) by a senior line-manager and asked to comment on it so that he could get more value from it (he had gotten nothing from it 12 months after it was delivered). I wrote back within 24/36 hours telling him what was right and wrong with the approach in the Strategy and why they had not gotten the solutions to their problems from the new technology that was purchased .through it. I then recommended a number of ways in which critical user needs could be met, solutions created and Return on Investment (ROI) extracted within the framework specified in that Strategy document. (The Strategy L-A-W, LAW, and could not be changed.)

Via services that focus on Solutions not Software I can help you:

  • How to efficiently and effectively solve a business requirement via existing technology;
  • Does what you have been offered in a tender really stack up? Or do you want independent quality assurance of a tender document before submitting it to a customer?
  • When it is best to use Open Source as against Commercial off the shelf (COTS) and vice versa?
  • Is buzzword-compliant (SOA, BPEL, J2EE, .NET, Web Services…) technology really needed to solve a business problem? If so, what is the best way to achieve this?
  • Analyzing ROI of your current GIS software technology
    Matching business problems to existing software investment. Are you getting value from your software investment? How to improve that ROI.

This all amounts to Independent Solutions Advice and Sanity Checking!

h2>3. Integration of GeoSpatial within IT

Advice and guidance on how to fully integrate geospatial data and processing needs within existing, pure, IT environments (using existing GIS software or without purchasing proprietary GIS software);

4. User Requirements

I have been employed to discover user requirements, document them, and work to their implementation in new or existing systems.

5. Database Best-Practice Benchmarking.

Recently I was asked to give an independent assessment of the “state of health” of an Oracle Spatial database that is at the heart of an organisation’s GIS infrastructure. The brief required an assessment of:

  • How well designed and integrated are the databases managed by Oracle Locator;
  • What methods might be available to improve data quality and documentation;
  • What options are available to the GIS and IT teams to improve its processes and reporting;
  • What gaps exist in the use of Oracle spatial technologies that limit the investment that has been made;
  • How well current use matches accepted “best practice” for database technology;
  • What opportunities exist to improve the Return On the Investment (ROI) made in Oracle Locator and related technologies.

My interest and strengths in database theory and technologies started with being awarded the “IBM Database prize for best final year database student” when studying for my Computer Science degree. I have been using databases such as Oracle for many years. I even know a thing or two about SQL Server, PostgreSQL and MySQL. I Used to lecture University students on database principles. So you might say that I know a thing or two about them! What I can bring to your assessment is a knowledge that doesn’t start or end with the spatial aspect of these databases – I understand the “bigger picture” and, through a more “holistic” approach, can help improve your use of this critical component in your GIS/IT infrastructure. For example, I can help you use Oracle Data Warehouse Builder to “spatially enable” your data warehouse; link Oracle Discoverer to your online mapping system; advise of the use of Application Express or even Microsoft Access as a front end to an Oracle Locator/Spatial enabled database!

6. Spatially Enabled Databases

I am a recognised Oracle Spatial expert and have similar level of expertise for PostgreSQL/PostGIS, SQL Server Spatial. In particuar I have many years Oracle use and am recognised by the Oracle Spatial development team as one of the early adopters of Oracle’s Sdo_Geometry data type. In 2011 that experience was recognised when Oracle awarded me the “2011 Oracle Spatial Excellence Award for Education and Research”. I have also written a book with Dr Siva Ravada who is part of the Oracle Spatial development team.

I have (next to the original designer and programmer) the longest experience of using ArcSDE in the industry and can help you get the best out of this piece of ESRI software and show you how to make it work with other spatial software (esp open source). Also, with the new ESRI Spatial Type for Oracle or PostgreSQL, I am in a unique position to help you plan your migrations from SDEBINARY to either the ESRI Spatial Type to SQL Server Spatial, PostGIS or Oracle’s Sdo_Geometry.

So, if you want fearless and accurate advice on how to migrate to a spatial database from legacy GIS technologies and file formats, and help to do so (eg database design), again, I’m your man.

7. Additional Database Services.

The following technical services are available:

  • Data Conversion, Migration, Loading;
  • Database Design;
  • Design and Coding of appropriate in-Database processing:
    • PL/SQL – Oracle,
    • PL/pgSQL – PostgreSQL,
    • T-SQL – SQL Server,
    • Java

Free Software and Commercial Support

8. GIS Software Skills and Services

I am skilled with a number of spatial software:

  • Feature Manipulation Engine (FME)
  • qGIS
  • MapInfo
  • GeoServer

I am an excellent PL/SQL, pl/PgSQL, TSQL programmer and can provide you with services in the design, development and deployment of PL/SQL based solutions. As already mentioned, I have developed, and make available, database stored procedures for Oracle, SQL Server Spatial via TSQL and PostGIS via pl/pgSQL.

I also have expertise in developing FME Workbench scripts and can provide ETL solutions based on this excellent product.

9. Presentations, Training and Mentoring.

I am comfortable with giving presentations and am a good trainer.

I have Instructor Led Training (ILT) courses for Oracle, SQL Server and PostGIS that can be used to train staff in the spatial database technology of choice.

If you want a presentation on business-centric (embedded) GIS or training services around SpatialDBs, again, I’m your man.

In this Internet age I’m always available for direct mentoring via email, Zoom, Teams or Skype.

10. Data Quality Analysis.

My expertise in data, data management and database technologies puts me at the forefront of the new push to provide data quality certification services based around:

  • rules discovery and definition,
  • rules management (via spatially enabled repositories),
  • rules conformance (how well do the data match the rules?), and
  • automated data correction (against those rules).

These practices are at the forefront of the data quality initiatives driving the uptake of geospatial data today.

11. Conclusion.

My experience is not limited just to databases. I have managed “GIS” infrastructure management teams, designed and built systems integrating spatial processing within business systems in the areas of mapping, editing, analysis, GPS field data capture etc.

I’m pretty counter-cultural. I don’t follow the herd if it is obviously not a herd to follow. I will seek out and find the best technology around because it is the best (and, hopefully, the cheapest) and it provides the best solution to your needs. This means I will look outside of the (inward looking) geospatial industry for products and services. So, I have chosen software like Visual Nature Studio in preference to existing GIS 3D visualisation extensions; I have found and promoted the excellent Manifold GIS because its functionality/cost ratio blows any other fat client GIS package out of the water (releasing precious capital and operational expenditure for value-added solutions development). I have a diverse and lengthy experience with GIS technologies from the major vendors and can, therefore, help you extract the maximum return on investment (ROI) from those precious licenses you have paid a lot for!

Finally, as a geospatial professional with IT and Oracle (Certified Professional SQL 10gR2; Certified Associate DBA 10gR2) qualifications and experience, I can help guide the uptake of geospatial technologies into business’s IT infrastructures, so let me help you cost-effectively spatially-enable your enterprise.

This is an informal statement of my capabilities and is pretty well “off the top of my head”.

Is this helpful?

Do you want me to clarify anything? If so, contact me via the links on this site.