Going places, and Energy efficiency

Going Places SSSI

3rd November 2010, UWA Geography Department

First day back in the office from my quick trip to the UK and I was asked to give a short presentation to the SSSI (Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute) members at their Going Places Spring seminar.  I was asked to present  two subjects I could not resist, a course called GIS Program Management, and me!

Back in September I attended a Train the Trainer session for the GIS Program Management course (written by URISA) over in Melbourne (part of the SSSI Vic state conference).  The course was as interesting as the advertisement made it sound.  There was a lot of information to cover in one day and it was useful that the presentation of the course was shared amongst participants so we could share experiences.

Of most use for me was:

  1.  GIS Program Management is similar to IT Program Management, however a GIS program does have some futher challenges.  Many in an organisation do not understand the implications (or benefits) of GISs.  Ever tried to convince the Database Administrator that your GIS database is not the same as any other database?  If GISs are not well understood it is unlikely that an effective GIS program exists beyond individual GIS projects.

  2. Resourcing
a) You may have to hire new staff, allow time to acquire approval and clearly define the job role to get the best person.
  b) Use external contractors where appropriate, but ensure they transfer knowledge back to you in a useful way.

  3. Technology is changing including that of GIS, however we still need to produce the good old paper map.
  a) GIS is becoming more accessible with more user friendly software systems.  This increases the exposure of GIS, but are key principles being adhered to?  Anyone can create a map, but does the map communicate the data accurately and clearly?

There was much to learn and reflect upon from the course and I hope to use some ideas internally within Gaia Resources and also when working with our customers to improve GIS Program Management.  The SSSI will be offering an Australian version of this course from the beginning of 2011.


I was also invited to give a potted history of my career.  Between here and the UK I have worked for Public and Private organisations in wide ranging industries including Mining, Transport, Oil and Gas, Telecommunications and the Environmental sector.  Working for ESRI (UK) gave me experience of almost every other sector of business including Insurance, Military, Agriculture, and Health.  It has been interesting to see how people use GIS differently.  At one point, my job title was Geo-magician!


Energy Efficiency

More great ideas from the team at Great Gardens to save energy around the home, and perhaps around the office.

The team reminded us where most energy is used around the house, like water and air heating / cooling.  If you are wasting energy you are wasting money – the popular reason to change our ways.

Turn the temperature of your hot water system down to 60C, do you really need it any hotter with Summer approaching?  Insulate your hot water pipes with lagging (rubber foam covering), and install a low flow shower head – they start from only $10 (or insert a flow-limiting washer for $4).

Aim for an air temperature of 22 – 24, for every degree either side of this you have to push, it will cost you about 10% more energy.  Seal your drafts, even for summer, stop the hot air coming in.

I could go on, but I suggest getting along to one – or several of the free workshops (in Western Australia), see the link above.

Oh, one thing that I am going to fix this weekend is shading.  Ideally I would plant a small forest to gain from the natural cooling effect of plants, but I will have to start with some shade cloth (or blankets, or any other covering) to reflect the sun from my westerly windows.  Stopping the sun before it hits the house seems obvious.


Here I am: Email me, or watch for tweets from Gaia Resources.

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