GEIS: Enabling Business Systems With Location Intelligence
Stephen Cosgrove, Founder
The era of GIS has dawned. The word ‘location’ immediately brings to mind Google Maps, as it has given an entirely new dimension to geospatial intelligence and travel. Geospatial intelligence is gaining traction among enterprises for efficient asset management and tracking. It brings crucial context to a number of business aspects from market planning to operational optimization as it reveals patterns, connections, opportunities, and risks that are difficult to decipher otherwise. GIS is emerging from an arcane backroom operation to becoming just another data dimension in enterprise systems such as ERP and CRM. As a result, GIS is no longer treated as a special case to be managed outside the usual IT norms. Further, the commoditization of geospatial maps by players such as Google has contributed to removing GIS’ “special” status.
When it comes to integration of GIS data with enterprise systems, a common issue is ensuring that all parties are referring to the same device or structure and that the nomenclature is aligned, as the operations teams typically do not have much exposure to or knowledge of the GIS system. Wherever possible open standards, such as the Common Information Model (CIM), and open protocols, such as those administered by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), should be used to allow interoperability between enterprise and GIS systems. Standards adoption is helpful when seeking to employ modern agile management techniques, including Dev/ Ops/Continuous Delivery methodologies which enforce standard pipeline and delivery practices in GIS systems. As an expert geospatial technology integration and consultancy services provider, GEIS operates on both sides of the fence—geospatial expertise and subject-matter knowledge –to enable businesses to integrate and effectively leverage their GIS data.
GEIS is a provider and integrator of geospatial and location-based software solutions that enable effective planning, management, and control of networks, assets, and resources concerning utilities, telecoms, and other industries. “From an integration perspective, we encourage the use of appropriate open standards such as Common Information Model (CIM) within the power distribution industry, rather than point-to-point interfaces,” says Stephen Cosgrove, Founder of GEIS. The company’s innovative and feature-rich products redefine institutional geospatial capacity and the scope of user adoption. “GEIS simplifies and takes the complexity out of geospatial solutions and implementations that include adding a data dimension to existing ERP systems or providing mapping data within these business solutions,” says Cosgrove.
GEIS was founded in the mid-eighties to support mainframe and manufacturing-based systems. Later, the company changed its focus to the burgeoning geospatial industry segment.
Our team has acquired experience across the utility and telecommunication space that gives us a greater level of subject matter expertise than being ‘pure’ GIS specialists
Since then, the company has been working on GE’s Smallworld product suite - a GIS with a market-proven portfolio of products that support the full lifecycle for network assets from strategic planning, design, and build to operations support. GEIS is a GE Smallworld partner, and their Mundi solution supports clients in making complete use of their asset data collected from the Smallworld products. GEIS’ solutions are well received by GE customers in the market. As a ready-to-deploy GE Network Viewer extension, GEIS’ Mundi delivers an enhanced business solution by complementing and extending the feature set. The solution is highly configurable and enables clients to turn features on and off to simplify the view for end-users. Mundi’s query tool supports nuanced queries for users. Clients can also make use of the measurer tool for segment length and angle information to project directions and distance in their GIS projects.
Mundi provides a fully-functioning Explorer tool that supports a wide range of formats. The tool also offers the ability to assemble a client’s collection of records, which may then be used as the input to a Thematics operation or sent to a third-party system. It provides a sophisticated Thematics engine that enables on-the-fly styling of the map data by an arbitrary combination of filters. In addition, Mundi offers a sophisticated layer control system that supports preset visibilities, grouping, mutual exclusion of layers, and opacity. Here, layers can be interlinked and presented in a variety of styles as the underlying data dictates, including radio buttons and dropdowns. What’s more, Mundi includes support and tracing for physical network inventory (PNI). Mundi is currently deployed in three countries, both in the utility and local government sectors. In addition to in-house use, Mundi is used as the public-facing web mapping portal, and also deployed in the field for use as a mobile solution.
GEIS offers a PNI based product— Pathfinder—that finds paths between two structures in a fiber network. Pathfinder identifies areas offiber splicing to complete a path through the network and can automatically perform the necessary splices to create a complete end-to-end fiber path. The solution can output a splice report detailing the network changes, displaying multiple fiber paths between two structures. Clients can view business information such as fiber owners, leases, and current usage types about the paths to make informed splicing decisions. The solution supports both cable connectivity and graphical splice diagrams and automatically orthogonalizes new connections in splice diagrams to ensure tidiness.
The ‘No Surprises’ Agenda
“We believe that clients need a solution that is suited to their current and future needs. Our team has acquired experience across the utility and telecommunication space that gives us a greater level of subject matter expertise than being ‘pure’ GIS specialists,” says Cosgrove.
The GEIS team goes the extra mile for its clients by guaranteeing ‘No Surprises' in all of their services. Cosgrove emphasizes, “The key to delivering to the ‘No Surprises’ principle is to have sound knowledge of the business drivers, objectives, and processes. This leads to the right solution for the client, and not just a technical solution. The payback is once a project commences, our insight ensures that an optimum outcome is achieved within the agreed timeframe.”
Having worked closely with clients in the utility and telecommunication industry for decades, the GEIS team has acquired a sound, practical understanding of its complex challenges. “Our team believes technology only reaches its full potential when it is driven by an intuitive understanding of the business it serves,” says Cosgrove. The team identifies client requirements and suggests suitable products for them depending on where they are in their development and product maturity cycles. Most often, the company uses cloud-based tools to assist inthe collaboration and to enable clear and concise communication externally and internally, which is essential for successful outcomes. Further, GEIS takes a flexible and agile approach to deliver solutions while complying with regulations and providing higher returns. “We aim to make sure that the appropriate solution is covered in the initial implementation,” adds Cosgrove.
The client services team is available anytime, providing front-line support capable of guiding customers, overseeing implementation, and delivering training services. Altogether, the company proactively serves and supports its customers, essentially reducing their concerns and allowing them to remain focused on other areas. “System integrations tend to be both complex and critical to our client’s BAU processes. Several of our clients have effectively outsourced day-to-day support to GEIS, giving them confidence that issues arising with business-critical processes will be addressed in a timely manner by highly expert personnel,” remarks Cosgrove.
"The key to delivering to the ‘No Surprises’ principle is to have sound knowledge of the business drivers, objectives, and processes. This leads to the right solution for the client and not just a technical solution"
For over a decade now, GEIS has assisted numerous clients on the geospatial front. The company has worked with GE in the globalization of its GE Electric Office product. This led to GEIS being subcontracted to undertake the first Electric Office 4.3 implementation worldwide. Similarly, GEIS has developed interfaces to a number of advanced distribution management systems (ADMS). In addition, GEIS has helped telecommunications clients by supporting integration activities between OSS and BSS systems to expose GIS data more widely to operational and business functions.
GEIS will continue to enable its customers to make informed and practical decisions in combination with their wide range of the latest geospatial solutions. “We want to continue to be one of the preeminent geospatial technical solution providers and integrators. We are committed to assisting companies in exposing their spatial and location resources to a wider enterprise audience, which will provide considerable additional value using web mapping tools without the need for data migration,” concludes Cosgrove.