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15

I disagree that there are only two options in the GIS industry on a number of levels. The first is that there are many other well established commercial GIS offerings other than ESRI SmallWorld, Bentley, AutoDesk, ERDAS, MapInfo, Integraph and Idrisi spring to mind without thinking too hard. You say they have a market share "well below" ESRI. ESRI ...


13

Ian Spiro at http://www.fastfoodmaps.com/ scraped these data nationally in 2007. His site has a great interactive map; maybe you can get the data too (or scrape them!).


13

KFC have a store locator. Behind this is a FindNearBy web service that can be sent lat longs. http://www.kfc.com/storelocator/services/MWS.asmx?op=FindNearby You can issue SOAP requests to this and get a nice list of stores in JSON. Alternatively just manually run a query for Ohio and copy the JSON reponse in FireBug. { "Latitude": 40.393947, ...


12

Going out on your own is a decision to not take lightly. Leaving the security of a steady job is scary. Many people in a situation like yours start out by moonlighting on the side to test the waters and/or pick up some extra cash. You get the best of both worlds - the security of the 9 to 5 (or 6 to 6 in many cases) with benefits, insurance, and the like - ...


12

MapInfo would definitely do what you'd like it to do. However, in my opinion, the open source options have far surpassed the capabilities of MapInfo. Specifically, I suggest you look into QGIS. It can do everything MapInfo can do and more. I've never used it for retail business and service planning, but there are plenty of people on this site who could ...


11

I would not compare GIS to a programming language. A programming language is a tool that can be used to define your business process. "Perform these steps in this order, making some decisions as you go." GIS is more abstract; rather than being a tool to define a process, it's an entire branch of tools and methods that manipulate data that have location. ...


11

ESRI's been around for a long time, and essentially helped invent the term "GIS". There are other big players, but they often come from a different angle (i.e. AutoCAD Map 3D, or Intergraph/Microstation). Increasingly all these different dominant players in the maps/drafting/design world are starting to overlap and come together, but they still hold their ...


10

Simple question, difficult solution. The best method I know uses simulated annealing (I have used this to select a few dozen points out of tens of thousands and it scales extremely well to selecting 200 points: the scaling is sublinear), but this requires careful coding and considerable experimentation, as well as a huge amount of computation. You should ...


10

Here's a little QGIS python function that implements this. It requires the rasterlang plugin (the repository has to be added to QGIS manually). It expects three mandatory parameters: The points layer, a raster layer (to determine the size and resolution of the output), and a filename for the output layer. You can also provide an optional argument to ...


9

Cloud computing "Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid." (Wikipedia) Definitely buzzword in IT world. Seems to be getting momentum in GIS world as well with ESRI implementation and freemium offer from GIS Cloud. ...


8

Mashup "The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open APIs and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data. To be able to permanently access the data of other services, mashups are generally client applications or hosted online. Since 2010, two major mashup ...


8

User friendliness. There are "meat and potatoes" spatial questions which arise often, but for one reason or another take a lot of work to get an answer, and they really shouldn't. For example, until Arcmap 9.3 answering "where is that? [stabs finger at screen]" with a set of coordinates snapped to the object required creating a VBA expression and attaching ...


8

To answer the question: Why no industry standard product from any established software giants? The problem is you appear to be begging the question. There is an industry standard product from an established software giant. They're called ESRI and being founded in 1969 they easily predate Microsoft (1975), Google (1998), Oracle(1977), and Apple(1976). The ...


8

As a freelance GIS Consultant, I am confident that you can do almost everything you need using Open Source Software. If you can avoid borrowing a lot of money for software licences as you set up your business, it will massively help your cash flow. Then, when your business grows, you can show your appreciation to the Open Source Community by making a ...


7

It seems like if you have a lot more customers than you do stores, then it might be more efficient to create a layer of voronoi polygons for the stores, then do a spatial join of customers against the store polygons.


7

Geoweb "The Geospatial Web or Geoweb is a relatively new term that implies the merging of geographical (location-based) information with the abstract information that currently dominates the Internet. This would create an environment where one could search for things based on location instead of by keyword only – e.g. “What is Here?”."(Wikipedia) Book ...


7

Geotagging From wikipedia ...the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata. These data usually consist of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, distance, accuracy data, and place names. It is ...


7

As scw says in his comment the code itself seems to make use of some basic processing and loops so could probably be rewritten quite quickly in Python and Shapely. However if you are looking for a script take a look at the following written in R..and German: http://www.reymann.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/GravitationsgesetzHuff.R Google Translate seems ...


7

I envision a "Farmland Suitablility Database" that can analyze land suitablility conditions for various crops and make crop yield projections. Information from the database could be used to help assess the risk of an investment, or for marketing financial instruments among land owners with the right stuff.


7

Skype does screen sharing and has widespread deployment outside of techie culture. My deliverables are usually code, not data, but it has come in handy a couple of times to troubleshoot/teach. Also, MSN has "remote assistance" built in. And finally, there's a heap of screen sharing services out there -- others are giving better answers than me with regards ...


7

The short version is - Seek professional help. The longer version: You appear to have some vague knowledge of what you want to do but certainly don't have the specifics. What you have here is an entire Corporate GIS project and you should go through the Project Management process for it. What are your requirements? What do you need to connect to what? ...


6

GeoDesign Geodesign is a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages). "Geodesign is a ...


6

Neogeography "Neogeography literally means "new geography", and is commonly applied to the usage of geographical techniques and tools used for personal and community activities or for utilization by a non-expert group of users. Application domains of neogeography are typically not formal or analytical." (wikipedia) Andrew Turner gave a nice ...


6

We've found that spatially enabling data that has just been sitting around in databases for years and years allows us to QC the data. You can look at lat/longs in a table all day long and the numbers are just numbers (to most people). Put those locations on map and all of the sudden you can see errors in your data in ways that were never possible before ...


6

Top intangible business benefit of geographic information: providing context. ESRI has a webpage about business benefits and return on investment of GIS: http://roi.esri.com, and the discussion is largely platform agnostic. That page and an associated book, "Business Benefits of GIS" authored by David Maguire (ESRI), Victoria Kouyoumjian (ESRI), and Ross ...


6

From the ESRI website: http://www.esri.com/getting-started/executives/index.html "GIS provides critical tools for success and efficiency. As an executive, you are presented with a high volume of complex data every day. GIS helps you Organize your information and knowledge. Make informed decisions. Improve communication. Increase efficiency. Share ...


6

Business intelligence for whatever a business does is largely unmet. I think it is hard to devote time to developing ideas (around mapping) that most business owners don't already know about. You can pick just about any segment of a business and find a GIS answer for the person that does that job. Probably just me blabbing but perhaps it is something ...


6

There are a number of places where footprints can come in very handy Public Sector: Taxation: As @Mapperz said, taxation is one area. The percentage of property that is built on is sometimes used as a tax criterion. Planning: Knowing where structures already exist on property can help in the planning process due to applied setbacks and minimum ...


6

It actually seems very reasonable from a price perspective. I would specify it meets XXXX standard of accuracy and I would specify the file be in las 1.2 (or another spec as desired). Specify the classes you require and the RMSEz that is acceptable (often just vertical in lidar). 7 points per m is high. I find this document very useful. It spells out what ...


5

Common Operating Picture (COP) This started as a military concept, and still is according to wikipedia, but has gradually spread to other industries, like Port Authorities. I wonder if the Wikileaks scandal will cause the military to consider moving away from COP, and back to separate layers where access can be controlled on a need-to-know basis.



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