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All of the Low Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked!

Robert White

All of the Low Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked!


One of my biggest pet peeves is the term “low hanging fruit.” Somehow there must be a quick and simple return in business if you just make an obvious, simplistic move. Presto! The rewards are yours! In this day and age we seem to be in love with instant results and instant gratification without the corresponding investment in the hard work required to achieve it.

Real world opportunities are often subtle and nuanced. You likely will have to work very hard to uncover the subtleties. We’ve been surprised to the degree that software seems to take center stage overshadowing the cost, value and importance of data - the actual permanent home of value in your business. A Fortune 200 customer recently told me, “Software comes and goes, but your data is forever.”

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We can attribute much of the problem to software-only companies who, in their own interest, suck up all the budget for software and blithely suggest you simply scrape together public data for your projects. It may satisfy that sales person’s quota that month, but the customer will ultimately not be as successful as they otherwise would be since they will have to spend time correcting, editing, and perhaps ultimately redoing a sloppy corporate GIS database.

The return on investment in GIS, and in particular land mapping, seems to be directly proportional to the amount of blood, sweat and tears you put into the quality of your data. Ideally, it is built to specifications which support your business hypotheses. For example, a good GIS query in response to “show me all of my expiring leases” will show you the precise geometries and accurate dates to support this query. You may also be able to spot some additional opportunity based upon the accurately portrayed geometry to make clever business decisions.

We should face the reality that the easy and obvious opportunities are long gone. When exploring for oil and gas land opportunities, for example, it’s important to have your leases accurately mapped so that you can precisely identify which acreage is leased and which is vacant. Rounding off your map to the “nearest quarter section” simply won’t do anymore.