Remote work has become increasingly prevalent in geospatial companies, and implementing the right IT solutions is essential for ensuring remote work efficiency. This series will explore the top 4 IT solutions that can help geospatial companies optimize their remote work setup, including cloud-based software, virtual private networks (VPNs), high-speed internet, and remote desktop solutions. Each week we will expand on these topics and talk about the challenges for each, and provide solutions we hope are helpful.
Part I: Cloud-based Software for Geospatial Data Management
Cloud-based software has become increasingly popular among geospatial companies for remote work, as it allows remote employees to access and manage geospatial data from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud-based software offers several advantages, including scalability, flexibility, and ease of access, which can greatly enhance remote work efficiency in geospatial companies.
One popular cloud-based software for geospatial data management is ArcGIS Online, a web-based GIS platform offered by Esri. ArcGIS Online provides remote access to GIS tools and data, allowing geospatial professionals to create, analyze, and share maps, apps, and data in the cloud. It offers collaborative features that enable remote teams to work together on projects in real-time, share maps and data, and provide feedback. ArcGIS Online also integrates with other Esri products, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap, making it a comprehensive solution for geospatial data management in a remote work environment.
Another cloud-based software for geospatial data management is Google Earth Engine, a platform for analyzing and visualizing geospatial data on Google’s cloud infrastructure. Google Earth Engine provides remote access to a vast collection of geospatial data and offers powerful processing capabilities for remote sensing, data analysis, and visualization. It allows geospatial professionals to collaborate on projects, share code and data, and create interactive maps and visualizations, making it a valuable tool for remote work in geospatial companies.
Despite the advantages of cloud-based software, there are also challenges that geospatial companies may face when using it for remote work. One challenge is the potential for increased data transfer costs and bandwidth limitations, as cloud-based software often requires transferring large amounts of geospatial data to and from the cloud. This can be particularly challenging for companies with limited internet bandwidth or those operating in remote or rural areas with limited internet connectivity.
Another challenge is data security and privacy, as cloud-based software involves storing geospatial data on third-party servers. Geospatial data often contains sensitive information, such as proprietary maps, customer data, and intellectual property, and ensuring the security and confidentiality of this data in the cloud is crucial. Geospatial companies need to implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as data encryption, access controls, and authentication mechanisms, to protect their data from unauthorized access or breaches.
Compatibility and interoperability can also be challenging, as different cloud-based software may have varying data formats, structures, and processing capabilities. Geospatial companies may need to invest in data conversion or customization to ensure that their data can be seamlessly integrated and used in the cloud-based software they choose to use.
Lastly, user training and technical support may be required to familiarize remote employees with cloud-based software and ensure they can effectively use it for geospatial data management. Providing adequate training, documentation, and support remotely can be challenging, as remote employees may require additional assistance to troubleshoot technical issues or address user-related concerns.
At Aerial Services, we were able to improve collaboration and data sharing among remote team members by implementing such cloud-based software. Doing so allowed us to centralize data storage and access, which made it easier for team members to find and work with the data they needed. Additionally, our solution enabled remote employees to access and analyze geospatial data through web browsers, without the need for extensive software installations, which, in turn, made it easier for Aerial Services to onboard new employees and keep their existing team members productive, even when they were working remotely.
Here are some of the specific benefits that we were able to achieve by implementing cloud-based software:
- Increased collaboration: Team members were able to easily share data and collaborate on projects, even when they were working in different locations.
- Improved data security: The cloud-based platform provided a secure environment for storing and accessing data.
- Increased data transfer speed: Data could be transferred more quickly and easily between team members.
- Improved compatibility with existing workflows: The cloud-based platform was able to integrate with existing workflows, which made it easier for team members to adopt the new technology.
So, despite all the hurdles and challenges working in the modern world, cloud-based software for geospatial data management can greatly enhance remote work efficiency in geospatial companies, enabling remote employees to access, analyze, and share geospatial data seamlessly and collaboratively from anywhere, at any time.
In our next article we will discuss Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) for remote access.