The new normal for the GIS world
Toby, our account manager, has had to embrace many changes since his move from automotive sales to geographical information systems a few years ago, but at a time when everything seems to be in flux, we asked Toby how those systems, work, and life in general, had changed for him in the last year.
From office to working from home
I’ve now been at Beacon Dodsworth for 4 years and had the privilege of working on some of our largest projects. Lately I've been getting to grips with using, and teaching people to use our geographical information systems in a remote environment. The long commute allowed me to make my cycle training a part of my everyday routine and I’ve been developing as both a GIS professional and competitive cyclist. Then coronavirus happened and like most people around the world, everything changed.
Beacon Dodsworth were quick to move away from an office environment to protect their staff but even so, the first 2-3 weeks were a bit of an adjustment, and it took this time to find a good routine and pattern that I could work to. However, my home office is all set up to mimic my desk in the office as much as it can. I’ve even brought my chair home which helped a lot with comfort. Unfortunately one of my new co-workers, Kev, is very grumpy with me working from home as it means that he can’t sit on the sofa whilst I’m out at work anymore, although he does get the additional staff benefit of more treats and walks.
Desktop GIS to online mapping
Fortunately, one project I have worked very closely on is the development and deployment of MapVision, our completely web-based mapping tool. In the development of MapVision, I worked on the client facing side and spoke to users about; in the early phases - requirements, and later stages their feedback and ideas to improve the platform. This meant I was completely comfortable with this new product when it was needed most. Although all of Beacon Dodsworth products are resource-light enough to work on a laptop, the added advantage of being able to create and collaborate with others completely online has made my job a lot easier.
From face-to-face to online training
In addition to helping clients to identify the right product to meet their specific requirements, I spend much of my time training and offering support to users on Prospex and MapVision. Each client uses the tool in different ways, so moving to online training has been a challenge. Fortunately, now that we have a powerful online collaboration tool in the form of MapVision, we can easily turn sample data or postcode lists into maps, visuals or analysis to get immediate feedback on whether that is what the client requires. Our focus on one-to-one or small group training also transfers well to online training. Plus of course I feel very lucky to have that contact with other people during lockdown, especially since it allows me to pass on client needs to our developers to ensure that MapVision continues to develop as a product.
Changing client needs
With changes across the country, we’ve seen a change in our projects too. Projects prior to COVID-19 seem to have mostly been paused and replaced with new digital projects as other organisations try to keep moving forward despite lockdown. This has led to a decrease in clients requesting static maps as PDF or JPEG files and an increase in clients wanting interactive maps such as those offered in MapVision.
I’ve also seen an increase in clients wanting one-off bespoke maps for very specific projects, often in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We tend to handle these requests as consultancy jobs as it is often more cost effective for a client without an in-house data team.
Tough commutes to circuit training
I race for a national cycling team, with most summer weekends spent travelling the UK to races. About 60% of my training came from my daily 20 mile (each way) commute by bike. With the new office only 20 metres away and a complete halt to sporting events I have had to find other ways to stay on form. I quickly found a very similar routine by getting up and leaving at the same time as I would for work, but doing a morning circular 20 mile loop. In the evenings I can easily extend this distance too. Although with no races planned for this season (yet), training has been long and low intensity to maintain an endurance base.
The new normal for working in geodata
So, after a few months after the COVID-19 lockdown began, it feels as though my own working pattern, and the location intelligence marketplace is settling down into something of a new normal. Thanks to the flexibility of our new web-based systems - and a lot of doggy treats to keep Kev happy - working from home is sustainable for the foreseeable future. Progressive GIS companies are fortunate in that the demands of clients for location data services have changed rather than reduced. A lot of companies are looking at geodata to create a sustainable future for their sales and distribution networks, and reviewing solutions to suit a home-based working trend.
If your business needs to review its distribution or sales network in response
to COVID-19, we can help. Please get in touch.
online or call us on:
Our other blogs
Cycle to work day
Each year for #cycletoworkday we take a look at cycling statistics across the country and try to map that data and find interesting trends. This is mainly because we at Beacon Dodsworth are either a little bit obsessed about cycling, or we tend to worry about the environment.
Mapping for local projects
Recently, we were contacted by a company responsible for organising charity door knockers. They needed more than 9,000 postcode sectors mapped at A4 size to use at a local level to plan fundraising routes and clearly define territories for each agent.
Social change over 10 years
With the next census due to take place this year, we thought it was a good time to take stock of some of the changes and trends we noticed between the 2001 and the 2011 census. What difference does 10 years make to our society and the people that live within it?
Beacon Dodsworth New Office
Now we are back in the office, we continue to support hybrid working. So, we’ve taken the opportunity to downsize our office to make us more resilient to future lockdowns, staff self-isolation, and any other uncertainty the modern world might throw our way.
Postcode to postcode drive time and distance
What happens if we want a postcode to postcode drive time lookup table?
How to create a postcode map
Turning a list or spreadsheet of postcode data into a series of points on a map isn't as simple as using an Excel wizard to do it for you, but it isn't rocket science. We look at the best way to create a postcode point/pin map.
Administrative geography is a way of dividing the country into smaller sub-divisions or areas that correspond with the area of responsibility of local authorities and government bodies. We take a look at administrative geography, what it is and how to use it.
What is geodemographic profiling?
More than 64 million people live in the UK, each with their own outlook, priorities, needs and way of life. Geodemographic profiling offers a way to group these individuals to try and identify the right audience for your product or service.
Who spends most on Fruit and Veg
National Vegetarian Week (#NationalVegetarianWeek) this year ran from 10th to 16th May. It gave us the opportunity to highlight how GIS mapping can be used to create marketing campaigns and raise awareness of the benefits of eating more fruit and veg.
Using geographic intelligence to grow the UK’s broadband network
Using geographic intelligence to sustainably grow the UK’s broadband network.
Data visualisation and colour blindness
John, our director talks about living and working with colour blindness in the mapping industry where colours are pivotal in adding dimensions to people's understanding.
How far is it to the beach
We use Beacon Dodsworth's scripting technology to answer that most important of questions when the sun finally does threaten an appearance.
All you need to know about postcodes but were afraid to ask
The humble postcode has been around for years. We look at how postcodes are used and what led to their introduction.
TimeTravel: the latest update
We look at the latest update to TimeTravel, our dataset of drive times and distances between any postcode sector or district. What has changed in the UK road and geographic network, plus new features to make it even more accurate.
British Population Survey (BPS)
The British Population Survey (BPS) is a survey of household income and shopping habits collected by face-to-face interviews. We take a look at the BPS in detail, what exactly it is made from and how its data can be usefully applied by businesses and public organisations.
As a Yorkshire-based company, we wanted to help celebrate Yorkshire Day, which takes place on 1st August. Naturally, we wanted to put a geographic spin on the celebration, so we took a look at drinking preferences within God’s own county.
The foundations of geographical analysis
Displaying data on maps makes it easier to understand as well as giving a new perspective on a problem. Using a GIS to prepare and present data has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years, but graphical displays of data on maps were around long before computers came along.
How to back up your Prospex data
Keep your GIS projects safe by using the in-built Prospex back up process. Here is how.
The power of postcode sectors
Postcode sectors are aggregations of individual postcodes and they provide meaningful geographical reporting areas in any GIS. However, they aren't as easy to map as you might think. Here is how we do it.
Living Costs and Food Survey
The Living Costs and Food survey (LCF) is compiled every year and is used by the UK and European governments, Department for Transport (DfT), and Her Majesty’s Revenue and the Customs (HMRC). But what is it, and why should we care?
The new normal for the GIS world
Toby, our Account Manager, looks at the changes to working style and client needs in the geodata industry following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Where is the North
We've used the territory manager tool in Prospex GIS to split the UK into north, south and east and west with equal population counts.
What is GIS software?
A Geographical Information System (GIS), is a tool for analysing, visualising, managing and presenting data that is related to a physical, geographical location. That link to geography is the key difference between GIS and other data visualisation techniques.
Mapping GP prescription data
An article by Allan Brimicombe (Head of Centre for Geo-Information Studies at the University of East London) & Pat Mungroo on using GP prescription data to understand health needs.
Geodemographics and the University of East London
The University of East London explain how they have been using our P² People & Places geodemographic classification.
The census helps you to understand your customers
The UK Census 2021: what it is, how is it made, and how can it be used to help your organisation with demographic analysis.
Google Fusion Tables
After almost 10 years of service, Google retired their Fusion Tables product at the end of 2019. This tool was very useful at visualising and sharing large amounts of tabular data - particularly amongst small and mid-sized businesses. So what can we do to fill the gap left by this tool?
Your continued use of this site is taken as implied consent to receive cookies from us and our analytics partners.