Skip to main content

The Geospatial Edge: Issue 2, Summer 2022

The Geospatial Edge is Esri Canada’s periodic newsletter for managers and professionals tasked with growing their organizations’ geospatial capabilities. In this issue, Matt Lewin helps you get a head start on devising a geospatial strategy by sharing a number of geospatial-specific frameworks. Use them to tackle common problems and inspire new thought processes.

Ignite growth with these strategic frameworks

As a GIS manager of geospatial technology, you're always looking for ways that geo-tech and spatial thinking can contribute to your organization's growth. One way to do this is to build a strategy.

That said, devising a strategy takes time. That's why getting a head start by leveraging pre-existing frameworks and tools can help you expedite the process. I frequently turn to management frameworks in my consulting work.

Frameworks are like pre-compiled knowledge. They're the distilled experience of people who have encountered a common problem and taken the time to formulate a re-usable solution or set of best practices.

Since I haven't seen a great inventory of geospatial-specific frameworks, I thought I'd use this edition of The Geospatial Edge to highlight strategy-oriented ones that I think you'll find particularly useful. Have a look and try them out!

Your reading, listening and watching list

Geospatial Patterns of Use: This is a simple, yet foundational framework that summarizes the core capabilities of a modern geographic information system. I use it extensively when explaining what GIS can do, how it's commonly used and its potential to support a wide range of business workflows.

One practical exercise is to list out the core business processes and capabilities of one of your key lines of business and then identify where you have gaps in terms of patterns of use and where specific patterns might be particularly beneficial.

Geospatial Solution Canvas and the Geospatial Lens: This is a pair of tools I recently developed to simplify connecting a specific business problem to a potential geospatial solution. Whenever I'm presented with a business issue, there seems to be a moment where you have to make a leap from business language to geospatial language—and there's no easy way to do that.

With the solution canvas, I wanted to provide a structured, step-by-step method to walk through a business problem and arrive at a reasonably formed solution based on geospatial technology—one that clearly addresses the issue.

To do that, I needed a tool to translate business language into geospatial language—this is where the geospatial lens came in. Using the canvas and the lens together makes linking a problem to a solution much more accessible.

Geospatial Strategy on a Page: The strategy on a page is a framework that we use at Esri Canada to help with communicating a geospatial strategy.

Often strategic plans can be dense and voluminous reads. And the last thing you want after possibly spending months on analysis and strategy development is for your audience to be unmoved by your strategy because they couldn't digest it all.

The strategy on a page helps with that by distilling the core elements of your strategy onto a single PowerPoint slide. It's certainly an art to get it right, but the article provides some practical guidance on getting the balance right.

DICE Change Management Matrix: The Boston Consulting Group's DICE framework is an invaluable tool for ensuring that the change imposed by a major undertaking (like a new strategy) considers the key factors that can make or break your initiative. These key factors are summarized in the DICE acronym—Duration, Integrity, Commitment and Effort.

Through extensive research, BCG showed that getting these four people-related factors right is critical when implementing a change program. I wrote about how to apply it to strategy development here and here (with a diagram).

Geospatial Maturity Frameworks: There are several maturity models out there that do a nice job of encapsulating geospatial best practices and processes.

The value of any maturity model is that it allows you to evaluate your organization's performance against a spectrum of maturity and then continuously monitor your performance as you implement planned improvements. They're a great benchmarking tool.

Check out the highly-visual Slimgim maturity model, URISA’s long-standing geospatial  capability model and Esri Canada's benchmark-style model—Location Intelligence 360.

Let’s talk

If you want to know more about these frameworks, or if you have some valuable tools of your own you'd like to share, please feel free to email me or connect with me on  LinkedIn. 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.

All the best,


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 May 2022. If you want to receive The Geospatial Edge right to your inbox along with 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 Strategic Advisory Services 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