Does Your Spatial Data Need a Matchmaker?
February is the month when we are allowed a brief examination of our own lot in life, coming to realize one of three things: how much you love your significant other, how much you wish you had a significant other, or how many boxes of chocolate you can eat in one sitting. If your Aha! moment looks anything like the first two realizations, it is likely you have had a run-in with a matchmaker or two (or three) who have helped to introduce you to that new partner or reminded you how much you would rather trade in your meddling friend for a box of chocolates.
Thankfully for those matchmakers in our lives, they typically are the first to see the signals that we may need a nudge in the right - or at least a more adventurous - direction. Thankfully for those of us working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), we can recognize those pesky signs as they relate to our own spatial data. We can play matchmaker ourselves or find an application to aide on this journey of data discovery.
Before getting back out there, it is best to take stock of the present. What spatial data is currently housed on your enterprise system? How many layer files? Where are those ArcGIS Map Documents? Who owns what? We need a reminder of what we have before we can put those assets to good use.
A good reminder is a list of every ArcGIS Map Document, layer file, feature class, and raster dataset on said network. A great reminder is a list of every ArcGIS Map Document, layer file, feature class, and raster dataset on said network coupled with details of ownership, age, brokenness, and more.
It can be tough to pick a good date these days, but the same should not apply to your data. A red flag your GIS needs help is if you are plagued by an endless sea of red checkmarks with every ArcGIS Map Document or ArcGIS Pro Map Project you open. The file may look fine from the outside, but you will soon enough see what a waste it is once it is on the dance floor (errr, computer monitor). Files that have changed location, deleted, or renamed can all be culprits for broken layers in your workspace. It can be simple enough to fix warranting you know where that correct data source lies and it is contained to a minimal number of files, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes the King of Duds is the only card we draw, and it becomes apparent a grander gesture may need to be made.
While duds can sometimes be fixed and turned into what you were looking for in the first place, bad apples never change. Corrupt ArcGIS Map Documents often come riding through our workspace and our hearts on their motorcycle, ruining our productivity. If the map in question is important enough, it can require our full attention to address - forcing us to hunt down layer files and feature classes once again, rebuilding the map from scratch. Just like the regular bad apples in your life, wouldn't it be nice to know which of these files is going to derail your day? Well, we think so too.
Times can be tricky when we know we are ready for more, but just aren't sure how to make it happen. Is your company ready to move from ArcGIS 10.2 to 10.6? Are you and your team looking to implement ArcGIS Pro in your daily workflows? It helps to have guidance in these circumstances, and a matchmaker can provide just that. Everything from ensuring broken data is cleaned up, removed, or fixed to upgrading existing documents to these new, more mature platforms.
Just like dating and people skills, spatial data can grow stale if it hasn't been properly maintained. Refreshing these files from their data source or even performing a full inventory to take stock of what is available (cue our first sign) are ways to get your data back in the GIS game.
Interested in finding the right matchmaker for your enterprise data? We are eager to help! Besides, we guarantee that it will be a more successful ordeal than that time your coworker set you up with their neighbor's dentist. The stakes are high, the odds are good, and thankfully, we have tools like Integrated Marco Studio on our side.