It’s just common sense in today’s low-price climate that the future belongs to those who make smart business decisions. My last article outlined why it is so important to have your IT house in order so that when things inevitably get busy again, you will be ready to not only get the job done, but to get it done efficiently and securely, and at a better price than your competition.
Another integral aspect of landwork, and one which is all-too-often overlooked, is incorporating an intelligent GIS program. In my experience, the majority of brokerages and small operators with whom we deal recognize the value of professional GIS services, but would rather focus on landwork than concern themselves with the cost, learning curve and staffing headaches associated with providing GIS services themselves.
GIS 101, why expertise matters, the argument for outsourcing
GIS stands for Geographic Information System. In a nutshell, GIS info is in the form of points, lines or polygons, although other information such as raster images can be easily included. The important factoid is that the points, lines and polygons “know where they belong” on the globe. That’s why someone can send you a shapefile and you can drag it into a GIS project and, as long as you have the correct projection, your information will snap into place—in the right place.
This naturally involves an almost incomprehensible amount of number crunching behind the scenes. Software nowadays makes GIS work, in the hands of a qualified individual, a relatively easy task. That being said, if you’ve ever tried to teach yourself how to operate even the thinnest GIS application, you have probably already come to the conclusion that much of it is Greek, and it is, if you don’t speak the language. True GIS professionals are a marvel to watch. They all share the following traits:
- Critical understanding of foundational concepts such as projections
- Necessary resourcefulness (there are many free resources available on the internet, but not all are reliable) to build a good base map
- Creativity needed to present information in different ways via layers
- Technical knowledge required to link to external data sources
- Experience with the land industry to know when the precision of a survey is needed and when ‘getting color on the map’ will suffice
- Good time management and people skills
Most people probably never think about the day-to-day routine of a truly professional GIS individual, but I can tell you they wear many hats and are critical to the smooth operation of a project as well as a business.
Many organizations simply cannot keep an individual busy solely with GIS work, so they resort to using landmen that can put together and maintain a map. While I respect these individuals, I assert that it makes much more sense to outsource your GIS needs to a company like Landman Trends. I am fortunate to be associated with a staff of experienced professionals that can meet all of your needs, on an as-needed basis, and make you look good in the process. Outsourcing also makes a great deal of sense as it is very conducive to remote operations in today’s technical world.
For our operator clients out there, we can handle all of your GIS needs, while giving you the added bonus of consistent results and limiting your contact list. In other words, instead of dealing with multiple GIS departments corresponding to the brokerages you deal with, you need only deal with us and let us work with the various brokerages to enforce standards and get you a uniform product.
Let Landman Trends handle your GIS needs, so you can focus on getting clients and keeping them happy. We would love to tell you more. Just reach out to me at Bill.Justice@LandmanTrends.com or 337-347-9534.
Bill Justice, CPL – President, Landman Trends
Watch for future articles addressing social media marketing, bookkeeping services, management consulting and more.