Geography Seminar Series


The GIS Manager: How GIS managers can thrive as leaders

Professor Jochen Albrecht
Department of Geography
Hunter College, CUNY

Monday, September 17, 2018
7:05 - 7:45 PM
1004 Hunter North

Pizza will be served.

ABSTRACT. During my sabbatical, I have been researching on how to prepare experienced GIS analysts for the next step that is managing a GIS unit. That task takes them out of their technical and disciplinary comfort zone and those who endeavored to do that, had up to now only the resources of the Project Management Institute to work with. In line with the aphorism that “spatial is special”, I have been working on a book that is intended to serves as the one go-to place for professionals dealing with geospatial data.

Regardless of whether GIS departments are run as a unit within enterprise IT, facilities, or as a line managed item under a CEO, there is a culture clash between those inside the GIS unit and those outside or those who are spatially aware and those who aren’t respectively. A lot has been written about spatial databases and why they are different from regular enterprise databases. However, this still addresses only the technical aspects, teaching database managers about spatial queries, but very little beyond that. Literature on lifecycle management, stakeholder management and questions of certification and ethics are available to entrepreneurial individuals but they would have to cobble everything together themselves and would still miss out on exemplary case studies. For the latter, I have been mining submissions of the past ten years of URISA’s Exemplary Systems in Government award. A systematic (scholarly) analysis of what makes GIS portfolios successful, including the follow-up of how sustainable these systems turns out to be is completely new and of significant value to the whole community of GIS professionals.