Expert Feature… But Can You?

 

Have you heard the dreaded words, "We really like the map but can you…."?  The question is usually ended with "make 50 copies of that"; "change the color"; "increase the font"; "add some text"; "change the title" or some other small request  that forces you to redo and print the map once again.
 
This year I have spent more time with the client to make sure a printed map is truly required (sometimes it is, but more often it is not). Now all of you are probably wondering why anyone would print a map. I’m not sure I have a great reason, but one is because I haven’t shown executives another way to receive the information. That’s right ? I take the blame. I have been presenting information in the same form for 10 years (on paper); why would the executive ask for anything different?
 
A colleague recently told me one of his New Year’s resolutions was to not send an email attachment. We all talk about the big puffy things in the sky that begin with a ‘C’ (I am not going to say it), so why don’t we use it?  A number of platforms allow for the upload, visual representation and distribution of data. I have begun using them more frequently in response to requests for maps. The results have been mixed. Sometimes the client’s response is, "Can I have that in a PDF?" (Cringe.) More often than not, a link suffices the request and allows for a larger discussion.
 
Here are a few considerations, or you might call them lessons learned. Most are pretty obvious to those who spend a lot of time on the Web; however, they may not be so obvious to a traditional desktop user.
 

1. Don’t host! Inevitably your site will go down and the link experience will be a total failure. It’s no secret that I am a fan of powering down servers. There are plenty of platforms available to accomplish your task. They will likely be faster, more stable, and have higher availability than your own.
 
2. Permalinks and URL shorteners are a must. There are several reasons. Trust me.
 
3. It is better to work on mobile platforms. This one can be tough because there is more than one mobile platform. I guarantee the minute you send a link someone will attempt to hit it from a mobile device. You will receive a call when the link fails.
 
4. Make sure the data can be easily edited, updated, or stylized differently and still retain the same permalink.
 
5. Make sure you can retrieve your data/map from the online platform. Yes, that may even mean printing.

 
I challenge you to begin using links. The worse thing that can happen is the requester will ask for a printed copy.

About the Author

Learon Dalby serves as the GIS Program Manager for the Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO). He began his career with the AGIO in 2000 where he is responsible for managing a number of statewide programs. You can follow him on Twitter @learondalby

image_pdfimage_print
Share SHARE
Editor (18230 Posts)

Glenn is a geographer and a GIS professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. He's the co-founder of GISuser and several other technology web publications.


Editor’s Picks

Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft unveils the future of Windows

Company gives first look at Windows 10, highlighting enterprise advancements and open collaboration. Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled its next Windows operating system, Windows 10, and gave a first look at an early technical preview for the PC available Oct. 1. The announcement highlighted advancements designed for business, including an updated user experience and enhanced […]

splashmap wins award

Prestigious Award Win For Local Crowd Funded Start Up Business

Hampshire-based business SplashMaps, which creates innovative maps on high tech fabric for outdoor adventurers, and was one of the first UK companies to be crowd funded, has just won the prestigious Wallis Award by the Society of Cartographers. As one of 10 finalists SplashMaps beat off stiff competition to win the Society’s coveted annual award […]

More Posts from this Category

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>