December 11, 2011

My Brilliant Geospatial Career

Posted by josediacono @ 9:01 pm under Uncategorized

Teenage girls in Victoria can find good vintage clothes with the mymarkets app

I recently was invited to give a presentation about careers in spatial to 200 year 12 girls and teachers at Cheltenham Girls High School in Sydney. I gathered a lot of material at the spatial@gov conference the previous week – talking to young women at the conference about their careers. Andrew Bashfield told me how his company Intermap technologies is working with a group in Borneo called Deforestaction. School students check satellite imagery each week for changes that flag illegal logging. I used an example of an app to help them find vintage clothes in Victorian markets.

I purposefully kept it very non technical (it was last thing on a hot afternoon) and it was very well received. (They cheered!) I’m happy to give it at other high schools or for others to modify it and present themselves.

It has creative commons licencing and presentation notes. It is on slideshare


March 26, 2011

where were the NSW election maps?

Posted by josediacono @ 9:40 pm under Uncategorized

I can only sadly conclude at the end of election night that this was another missed opportunity for the mapping and spatial fraternity and I am kicking myself for not doing something about it.

A quick google search of “nsw election results map” found this

which linked through to this…

NSW election results

Heaven help the average punter who just wants to find out where all these electorates they are talking about on the TV and radio are.  A bit further down the search results,  the Sydney Morning Herald came to the rescue with its interactive map. A good start but it could have been so much more.

It colour coded the electorates as results came in and gave a thumbnail description of the demographics of each electorate. Rather than a textual description it would oh-so- feasible to include census graphics from the ABS from Brad Spencers Demographic Drapes or the new online Atlas of NSW – wouldn’t that have been so powerful in the hands of the  TV election commentators?

They could have walked us through the key characteristics of the electorate they are talking about as Stephen Lead did for Bondi in this short video of the online Atlas of NSW.   Instead the only map to be seen on the ABC was a black NSW state outline with a dot for the electorate in question which doesn’t exactly help you understand where Marrickville is in relation to Mulgoa?

So why didn’t the media use maps? (I have to admit I didn’t look at every channel so if the others did a better job, please tell me).My guess they havn’t got their heads around how to do it yet. So whose job is it to educate them or, in the case of the ABC who are getting into it, lend them a hand? It has to be the spatial people, because we know where to get the data they need.

But we have to think about it well ahead of time – its no use railing on election night! Who exactly do I mean by ‘spatial people’. I think it falls to our associations – SSSI, SIBA, GITA and other bodies such as the CRC-SI. Do they have staff whose job this is – or should they create the positions? Or just co-fund one person to do it on behalf of the industry as a whole?  I suspect a lot of people have it as a small part of their role but it really isn’t anyone’s priority. It takes time to build a relationship with a journalist and this process would have needed to start months before the election so that websites were up and running, commentators trained in how to use them and Google ranking them in searches.

Getting the media to use maps and getting them to write stories about them are two sides of the same coin.We criticise the media for pouncing on bad news stories like the poor public servant who releases data that turns out to be wrong (myschools in Tasmania). We can hardly expect government departments to fall over themselves to publish the data we are clamouring for if they risk a media furore. Can ‘someone’ start feeding journalists good news stories like this one in the Sunday Observer?  The ABCs Futuretense has run several excellent mapping stories so they are clearly interested. But again which ‘someone’?

p.s. I just found this map of sausage sizzles and other election day activities



June 8, 2010

The lights go on!

Posted by josediacono @ 11:50 am under Uncategorized

The lights go on when people see their data in a mashup

I have just been reading an article “Learning to Share”  in Position Magazine about the implications to GIS people of Council amalgamations. It mentions that old problem: people don’t understand the benefits of GIS so how do you get them to give it a priority? I think the answer lies in Mashups because they let you  show your colleagues and masters their data mashed up with other people’s data and in a familiar, user friendly environment such as Google Maps or Bing Maps. Then the lights go on!  It doesn’t cost the earth and you can quickly change things when your users come with all sorts of new needs.

This has made me hugely excited about a Mashups workshop I am jointly hosting at the GITA Conference in August. More about the workshop

November 11, 2009

the full plate syndrome

Posted by josediacono @ 8:06 am under Uncategorized

Sales pipelines everywhere are stuck, not because
of the economy, but due to a decision-maker affliction.

Lee B Salz is talking about the full plate syndrome – executives are too busy to even consider your product or project.  The key is to align it to their goals – then it will suddenly be a top priority for them.  Lee’s advice is just as valid for anyone ‘selling’ internally.  More on Jill Konrath’s website.  Her free e-newsletter is a mine of practical tips.

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November 3, 2009

coastal council forum

Posted by josediacono @ 10:10 pm under Uncategorized

I just got this from Ross Johnson. All grist to the Raising the Profile mill.

Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) & Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) GIS Forum:

Sydney’s Integrated Spatial Future

Wednesday, 9 December 2009, 9:00am – 5:00pm

Customs House, The Barnet Long Room

31 Alfred St, Circular Quay, Sydney

A ‘wall of mystery’, can exist between information required, formats, data sets and databases when communicating graphical and spatial data across departments and organisations.

“Bringing Managers and Spatial Professionals Together”, aims at creating dialogue and understanding, to demystify this ‘wall’ and assist the advancement of this valuable information source.

spatial and legal

Posted by josediacono @ 8:55 pm under Uncategorized

Legal aspects of spatial keep popping up.

“If people are confused, they say no, especially lawyers”

said Kevin Pomfret, a lawyer from the Open GIS Consortium.  He was urging us to seek out and educate the legal profession  avoid problems such as spatial evidence being ruled as inadmissible or lawyers refusing to approve data sharing licence agreements.  Technology is moving faster than the ability of people to understand it.  The OGC and GITA ran a  workshop for lawyers in the US.

Mobile phones, business intelligence, social networking and satellite tracking of vehicles and equipment raises a number of issues concerning privacy, intellectual property rights, liability,  and national security

October 27, 2009

spatial in smartgrids

Posted by josediacono @ 1:40 pm under Uncategorized

Given the important of location inforamtion in electricity distribution this Smart Grids project would be a an opportunity to collaborate with wider technologies.

This is from an AIIA (Australian information industry association represents 450 ITC companies from the biggest to sole trader consultants)

“The Government’s Budget announcement to provide up to $100 million in partnership with industry to develop commercial scale smart grid demonstrations has been implemented via Draft Guidelines for the Application by consortia to design and build the grid project. AIIA recently participated in an industry consultation with DEWHA and the energy sector to review the draft Guidelines and discuss some of the major requirements for the project.

The lead proponent for any project consortium must be an electricity distribution company; there are, however, opportunities for ICT organisations to work in crucial roles within a consortium on this important project. Interested members should contact Loretta Johnson <> for further information”.

October 4, 2009

SSSI conference

Posted by josediacono @ 8:52 pm under Uncategorized

At the Surveying and spatial Sciences conference in Adelaide last week we had a fascinating plenary session in which we were addressed by three people with their roots outside the spatial industry. The Governor General of South Australia, His excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, OGC representative and lawyer Kevin Pomfret and Andrew Campbell who heads up a sustainability consultancy.  All three presentations shared a common theme that we need to look outside our narrow spatial field and engage with the wide world