What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Have you seen the ‘what I do’ meme? What better way to explain Geographic Information Systems (GIS) than debunking all the perceptions?

What our friends think GIS is:
Often times, all our friends remember is that it has something to do with maps and maybe phones.

What our moms think GIS is:
Maybe it’s due to selective hearing, but many of our moms think we make GPS.

What the general public thinks GIS is:
Nearly 20 years ago it was a lot worse, but the general public thinks it has something to do with surveying. Not quite, but we have a division that can do that for you.

What our bosses think GIS is:
Although it would be cool, we don’t quite have matrix-like coding skills. We’re just glad they don’t want us to go into details and just let us keep doing awesome things.

Geospatial Professional Sarah Hague to Lead New Department

2Sarah 265x278WYTHEVILLE, Va. (Sep. 13, 2017) - PILLAR, Inc., premier roadway operations and maintenance advisors, announced today the launch of its Geospatial Solutions division. Sarah Hague, GISP, ENP has been named director of the new team, which utilizes GIS data to better maintain roadway assets, provide public information and increase efficiency of local government services.

"For the past 15 years, the team of professionals at PILLAR has been focused on ensuring the efficient and successful completion of infrastructure projects," said Mark Boenke, president. "With the launch of our Geospatial Solutions department, we are adding infinite opportunities for our clients to leverage GIS data to improve their operations."

PILLAR's Geospatial professionals will utilize GIS data as an integral tool in advising clients on the most efficient, cost effective solutions to roadway operations and asset management, as well as provide public information and increase efficiency of local government services and Next Generation 9-1-1.

Hague is a certified National Emergency Number Professional (NENA), Certified GIS Professional, an Esri Certified Professional and brings more than 17 years of GIS experience to Pillar. Her specialties include GIS and remote sensing and cartography.

Are You Staying Busy of Being Productive

As a business owner, I am frequently asked, “How is business?” I often used to reply “Busy” but had a colleague follow my answer up with the question “Is it productive?”

Wow, that was a new one. I stopped dead in my tracks with a blank but inquisitive stare on my face, prompting my colleague to explain the question. Being busy without making progress is like being stuck in the mud with your tires spinning every time you mash the accelerator. Sure, you’re giving the appearance of “working” to get out of the mud, but you haven’t moved or bettered your position. In essence, you’re not being productive.

How often do you catch yourself spinning your wheels in the mud? What can you do to zip out of the mud when you mash down the accelerator?

One of the first things you can do to increase productivity is prioritizing your to-do list, which is exactly what Pillar does when it comes to asset management. We make a list of your assets and determine which items to address based on the needs, resources, time, severity, permits, etc. This helps you maintain your assets as a whole while fully utilizing your budget, staff and resources.

Importance of Safety

Did you know that your safety program is an important part of your new business strategy? Potential clients want to know about your safety program as part of their request for proposal (RFP) screening when accepting bids on a project.

John Meola, Pillar Inc.’s Safety Director, recently published an article in Construction Business Owner magazine about this very subject.  When accepting bids on a project, clients no longer ask the simple question “Do you have a safety program?” They want pages of information about every detail of your safety program and proof that your company is committed to safety.

Part of the reason for this is that OSHA has intensified its accountability process and revised the violation fine structure, making it very costly for those not following safety guidelines. For that reason, it’s important to know what clients are looking for when it comes to information about your safety program. Some of those items include:

Previously, we talked about the critical importance of maintaining an accurate inventory to support asset management. Knowing your inventory is just the first step in good asset management. It's also important to know the condition of that inventory, which brings us to the next step, assessing your infrastructure inventory.