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What a Lovely Mouse

Selina Sandoval

I was chatting recently with an old acquaintance that was struggling with how to handle a workplace situation, in which a co-worker from a different department with some free time on their hands casually decided to have a go at doing the first person’s job. The product, predictably, was quite awful – and the co-worker was pleased as punch with their own efforts. “What to do?” said my friend, “It’s like when the cat leaves a half-eaten dead mouse as a gift on the doorstep and expects praise for it."

His analogy got me thinking. How often do we do this? Apart from different values placed on different skill sets, how often do we set out on a project that we personally think is a great idea, when in reality there are much better ways to execute? Naturally, I’m thinking about data. If you’re a GIS professional, where is your talent best applied?

It might seem attractive to go out and build yourself a grid database. There is data out there, much of it free. At the outset, the thought of building something yourself would probably give you a sense of accomplishment, and at first glance, it looks like there should be some cost savings to your company worthy of a pat on the head and an “attaboy!” accompanied by a nice treat.

But what condition is your mouse in? You may be proud of it, even justifiably so (it probably took a lot of work!) – but one needs to look at it objectively. Is it defensibly accurate enough to support very expensive business decisions? What did it really cost once you factor in your time? What will it cost in hours to keep it up going forward?

Do you have the ability and latitude to chase down endless data issues as surveys change? Is there a ready-made premium mouse out there in the marketplace (may we suggest from WhiteStar?) that is built and maintained by professionals who do this all day, every day?

Where is your time and talent best spent, really?

Save the Date: Tour de Texas in October

Save the date, Texas – WhiteStar is rolling into town in October for a series of morning seminars. Join us to see what’s new, network with peers, talk about data, eat breakfast, and maybe win a piece of cool tech. Watch your inbox for more details soon! Here’s our schedule:

  • October 20, 2014 – Midland
  • October 21, 2014 – Forth Worth
  • October 22, 2014 – Dallas
  • October 23, 2014 - Houston