76. The 5 things that Local Government needs to realise about Geospatial in 2017

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Over recent weeks there has been a lot of discussion regarding the resourcing, rollout and use of geospatial technology and information in local government. This week’s post is a compilation of some of the topics and ideas which were mentioned during this time.

Local government needs to realise:


1…that the geospatial graduate of 2017 is different from the graduate of 2007.

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This new crop is a tech savvy generation who are more likely to have explored the world through a device than through a paper map. Don’t be confused by the liberal arts education route which many of them may have taken in order to land a job with your council. They are as likely to know how to programme a Raspberry Pi, to fly a drone or to build a virtual Minecraft world as they are to know about cartographic colouring conventions and database SQL queries.

Lesson: Understand and use these skills to your council’s benefit.


2…that every effort should be made to inform your new geospatial recruit about the problems which your local council wants to solve.

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The key thing here is to realise that, in today’s world, people’s knowledge of the world comes from online rather than offline sources. Don’t rule out the use of multiple social media channels in communicating news about your local government and try to do so in a snappy and engaging manner. The benefit of this is that your recruits will be more motivated and productive in their new workplace and that later generations will be given the opportunity to learn from their unique contributions and insights.

Lesson: Inform your staff about the problems in order to achieve better and more-focused results.



3. …that geospatialists want to make a difference.

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Despite the self-absorbed vibes which the younger geospatial generation may exude, they are actually motivated by wanting to make a difference in the world (as well as their locality). He or she is fully aware that making a difference starts with personal actions which can have geographically wider knock-on effects. For this reason, the modern geospatialist is more likely to relate to broader high level policy-making than he or she is to the predictable routine and localised focus of council operations.

Lesson: Your perception of younger geospatialists may differ from the reality. Include geospatialists in ideological discussion about how the council operates.


4.…that local government budgets which enable or restrict geospatial activity at departmental level often make little sense.

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Maps are designed to inform decision-making at council level and due to the interrelated nature of local council operations a comprehensive geospatial picture is essential. A fragmented geospatial resourcing strategy within local council can also be counterproductive in that it serves to confuse the relationship between departments. Remember that emotion you felt when your classmate won the cool school raffle prize? If you do then you might get the idea.

Lesson: Implement a geospatial resourcing strategy across all council departments for better results.


5.…that gaining political support is key to achieving a successful geospatial rollout in local government.

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Realise that your geospatial ambitions could be just a convincing conversation away and that what politicians may lack in knowledge, competence or vision, they often make up for in influence. When dealing with elected officials you should remember that he/she is motivated by a need to look good to voters and to have his/her achievements remembered.

Lesson: Convince the politician of the tangible benefits and superpowers which result from implementing a geospatial strategy across the local government.


In today’s, competitive, connected and fast-changing world it’s important that local government considers the above geospatial topics. If you have any other thoughts or ideas on how to maximise the potential of geospatial professionals, technology and information in the workplace then please mention them in the comments section below and keep the discussion going...

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