How To Design Your GIS: 3 Real-World Examples

In our webinar, How to Design your GIS for today and beyond, Lindsay Walker, ROK Technologies Director of GIS Managed Services, shared how to address the technical challenges of transitioning through the GIS lifecycle, from AGOL to Enterprise, from On-premise to the Cloud and further into Automation and Innovation. She points out that more often than not business challenges get overlooked by GIS professionals, but are critical variables to consider. After all, “underlying each technical challenge is a more fundamental business problem”.

A Common GIS Lifecycle — chart by Rok Technologies

Check out our on-demand webinar recording of How to Design Your GIS for Today and Beyond here.

As a follow-up to the webinar, here are three real world examples of how organizations handled the technical and business challenges in designing for their GIS lifecycle needs. 

An oil and gas organization with roughly 100 employees and a robust GIS decided it was time to make the transition to both ArcGIS Enterprise and the Cloud simultaneously. The company had an extensive ArcGIS Online presence that they wished to transition to ArcGIS Portal.

The Challenges? They had been using ArcGIS Online for many years prior to making the jump to ArcGIS Enterprise and this resulted in several challenges for migrating their content. First, the company had a wide array of MXDs that they were using to push content to ArcGIS Online that did not match up with the folder/services structure they wanted in ArcGIS Server. Second, they had mission critical data that lacked a clear source and use case. Finally, this company also struggled with concurrent editing workflows and wished to integrate their web mapping directly with their GIS database.

AGOL to Enterprise Flowchart by Rok Technologies. Technical Problem #1: Hosted AGOL Content to Arc GIS Server Content.

The solution employed a multi-faceted approach to the problem. While addressing some of the fundamental challenges with their ArcGIS Online organization from the beginning would have helped to set them up for better efficiency in their migration, there were solutions they successfully implemented during migration that addressed the challenges, with minimal efficiency loss. First, the company utilized custom code built by ROK Technologies to resource their MXDs to function more logically and to address some of their fundamental data issues in ArcGIS Online. Subsequently, the employees also took the time to learn about the Portal data model collaboratively with ROK, and were able to successfully work hand-in-hand with ROK to map out the overall structure they wanted for their Portal.

Taking the approach of migrating some things, while reinventing others in a more sustainable way, allowed this O&G company to learn and grow more effectively than taking either approach individually. The result? Overall, they were able to go from having a semi-chaotic online presence to running over twenty complex, mission critical web applications to better support their business, while also being able to deploy Workforce, Collector, and Survey123 to their users. Now this organization has editors who are using mobile applications, web applications, and editing locally at the same time, empowering the company to do real-time, collaborative spatial analysis.

Have more questions? Want to know how we can help your organization? 

Our second example features a water utility organization with roughly 400 employees and a GIS that has many points of integration. They had long struggled with performance, the ability to scale, and disaster recovery solutions, all of which could all be solved with their move to the Cloud. The transition for this organization required a complex map of all of the integration points of their existing, on-premise GIS.

The primary challenge with migrating to the Cloud was identifying all of the points of integration. Coming into this knowing it would be a challenge, they did not realize the complexity of their new Cloud GIS’ integrations with their existing networks. As such, ROK Technologies worked hand-in-hand with them to identify risks and quickly mitigate them dynamically.

The solution relied heavily on ROK’s expertise in networking on-premise architecture with Cloud based architecture. Yes, a better map of the points of integration for their GIS would have helped to create a business and technical strategy ahead of time. However, when it came to crunch time, they were excellent at communicating the goals for their GIS integrations, allowing ROK to create a robust risk-mitigation strategy that was successfully implemented over the company’s migration.

Having successfully mapped their complex GIS and migrated the system from on-premise to the Cloud, this water utility organization enjoys higher performance, better up time, and the advanced technologies of the Cloud.

Need help designing your cloud to be durable, resilient and to take advantage of the amazing ecosystem of cloud resources?  We’d be honored to help.

And finally our third example is with a large state-government organization that provides GIS services internally and to the public from their cloud-hosted GIS servers. The organization had made the switch from another cloud provider to ROK’s managed services and several issues were immediately identified.

The primary problems that ROK Technologies identified during their migration from another managed services vendor included a lack of encryption, poor security practices, and bloated servers with too many pieces of software on them.

As an initial step, ROK conducted a full security audit and risk identification assessment and based on these findings proposed a plan to address the security issues, along with a plan for maintaining excellent security going forward. Additionally, ROK did an overhaul of the servers to remove excess software and to increase performance.

The result? With the additional security implemented, they are now able to do more with their GIS, while enjoying much faster performance, and access to the latest Esri functionality.

Cloud migration and transformations take careful planning and organization. ROK requires a Cloud Managed Services assessment to evaluate the scope and level of effort needed to effectively run your organization in the Cloud. Security, hosting and data management requirements are included as part of the assessment. Get started on your assessment today.

When it comes to designing your GIS, every organization runs differently and has different needs; however, everyone can start by thinking about what functionality you’ve been looking for or lacking in your current GIS. Don’t let your system, your architecture, and your organization be limited by infrastructure, on-premise cost, or lack of expertise!

Address your future needs now so that “as you move up the hierarchy in the GIS lifecycle, those business problems that continue to only get more amplified, and make your technical problems more difficult to overcome,” are minimized – or possibly not even a factor anymore.

ROK can help design your GIS. We take your GIS to your next level. Contact us.


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