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The Geospatial Edge: Issue 1, Spring 2022

The Geospatial Edge is Esri Canada’s periodic newsletter for managers and professionals tasked with growing their organizations’ geospatial capabilities. In this issue, which was originally shared with newsletter subscribers in February 2022, Matt Lewin looks back on key strategic insights and resources from 2021.

Welcome!

Welcome to The Geospatial Edge! By way of introduction, I’m Matt Lewin, director of management consulting at Esri Canada. Each day, my team works with managers from a diverse array of industries to help solve their toughest business problems using geospatial technology.
 

What is The Geospatial Edge?

The Geospatial Edge is Esri Canada’s periodic newsletter focused specifically on the needs of managers and professionals tasked with growing and advancing their organizations’ geospatial capabilities.

In every issue, I’ll share with you insightful pieces relating to geospatial strategy and management to help accelerate the impact of your program. I’ll highlight useful management frameworks, review sage advice, discuss interesting case studies and look at trends in the geospatial industry.

The goal is to curate the best management-related content and provide you with a knowledge edge—direct to your inbox.
 

Today’s topic: A look back at 2021

For the first edition of The Geospatial Edge, I’ve put together a reading, listening and watching list of content I enjoyed in 2021 and early 2022—something that can help you catch up on what you might have missed.

As I see it, this mix of stories reflects the continued rise of the geospatial discipline not only in technology terms but in terms of its prominence inside organizations. It shows how managers are thinking more strategically about their geospatial investment and realizing that improved location intelligence can be a significant source of strategic advantage for their business.
 

Your reading, listening and watching list

Here are some of the articles, videos and podcasts from the past year that I don’t want you to miss:

  • One of my favourite strategic reads of 2021 came from BCG: Unlocking Value with Location Intelligence. This is a deep study into the role of geospatial technology for modern businesses and looks at how location-based data and intelligence are changing the way businesses operate. I liked how the study showed that organizations that took a holistic approach to their geospatial capabilities (“leaders”) were having measurably greater impact across a range of business metrics such as customer experience, the sales funnel and operational efficiency. A must-read for every manager.
     
  • My colleague Allen Williams produced a really nice piece on a topic that is top of mind for a lot of managers these days: data governance. This blog post provides practical steps for improving your organization’s data governance practices by breaking the process into seven key steps. It acknowledges that effective data governance is about establishing a system comprised of strong leadership, clear delegation of responsibility and meaningful metrics.
     
  • The process described by Allen in his data governance article was instrumental in helping Toronto Water establish a governance framework for their asset data and generally improve how they leverage GIS to support their water distribution program. In 2021, I had a chance to interview Bill Shea, director of distribution and collection at Toronto Water, about this experience as well as Toronto Water’s journey with GIS for our Geographical Thinking Podcast. I really enjoyed Bill’s perspective on the change process they went through to encourage (mostly) engineers to adopt spatial technology in an area that was the traditional domain of paper and pencil!
     
  • Speaking of change, Adam Carnow, Esri’s community evangelist, always does a great job of talking about change, but specifically around the changing role of a GIS manager. Check out this interview video with Adam where he discusses evolving from a GIS manager to a GIS leader and talks about the underutilization of GIS and how to change it.
     
  • I also loved this profile of Leonard Brinson Jr. from South Jersey Industries. Leonard was on his way to retirement when SJI convinced him to take on their CIO role. He embraced the challenge of reshaping the company’s IT department, and saw GIS as a foundational, yet sadly underutilized, technology. He and his team set out to integrate GIS into the very core of their business—one that positions GIS as the basis of a future digital twin.
     

Let’s talk

Our job with The Geospatial Edge is to help you do your job better. I also want to use this newsletter to initiate a conversation. Please feel free to email me feedback, questions or ideas on what you’d like to see in future issues of The Geospatial Edge. All you need to do is send me an email and let me know what’s on your mind.

Also, if you haven’t already downloaded it, check out our e-book Geospatial Strategy Essentials for Managers available in English and in French. And be sure to connect with or follow me on LinkedIn.

All the best,

Matt


The Geospatial Edge is a periodic newsletter about geospatial strategy and location intelligence by Esri Canada’s director of management consulting, Matt Lewin. This blog post is a copy of the issue that was sent to subscribers in February 2022. If you want to receive The Geospatial Edge newsletter and related messages from Esri Canada, visit our Communication Preference Centre and select “GIS Strategy” as an area of interest.

Please note that at the time of publication, the newsletter is currently only available in English.

About the Author

Matthew Lewin is the Director of Management Consulting for Esri Canada. His efforts are focused on helping management teams optimize and transform their business through GIS and location-based strategies. As a seasoned consultant, Matthew has provided organizations in the public and private sectors with practical strategies that enable GIS as an enterprise business capability. At the intersection of business and technology is where Matthew’s interests lie, and he thrives on helping organizations bridge the gap to achieve their most challenging GIS ambitions.

Profile Photo of Matthew Lewin