00:01So I'm going to let you participate a little bit.
00:03So what's the weakest finger in your hand?
00:08C'mon. The pinkie. That's right.
00:12And what is the most popular letter of the alphabet?
00:17A. That's right. Somebody won.
00:19So tell me this, why is it that the original designers of the keyboard chose to put the most popular letter A...
00:28...in that awkward position to be struck by the baby finger?
00:33Why is that? Doesn't make any sense.
00:37I'll tell you.
00:39Well the original keyboard, of course, was the mechanical typewriter.
00:44And the layout actually originally had the popular letters in very easy to get to places.
00:50But what happened is, over time, people got good at it and typists became faster, the letters all jammed up.
00:59So they had to figure out another way of designing the typewriter.
01:02And what they did is they moved the popular letters to awkward places...
01:08...so they could slow the typists down to avoid that kind of jamming up.
01:17And why is that, that we today, with electronic keyboards, we still keep that legacy design of the keyboard to this very day?
01:28Why do we do that?
01:29Well because we're so used to it.
01:32In fact, we're so used to it that we're actually blinded by that design.
01:37We can't even see anything different.
01:39Well, there's a term for that kind of blindness, and it's called scotoma.
01:46Well it's a medical term, and it means tunnel vision.
01:49But it's also sort of a psychological emotional term that means a failure to see what's before our very eyes.
01:59A scotoma. It's a new word for you.
02:02Well, I worked for the utility company, and I can tell you this, there are scotomas all over the place in utility companies.
02:09But I want to talk about one specific scotoma that has to do with mapping and GIS.
02:16Well, maps have been used for many, many years in the utility company...
02:20...and what they did, they used the maps for was to kind of locate their stuff, their wires, their cables, the valves, and all that stuff.
02:26And they put it on the maps.
02:29And the original maps had sort of India ink on linen and then pencil on Mylar and then computer-aided design, and today, GIS.
02:43The old linen maps look an awful lot like the GIS maps, and why is that?
02:48Well utility companies want to make sure that these maps look the same through the ages.
02:54And not only look the same but actually they use the maps in sort of the same way.
03:00And what they have built is a scotoma to the possibilities of GIS.
03:07GIS isn't about, you know, finding out what I already know.
03:10It's about discovering, finding something new like...
03:14...where are there places in my infrastructure where a single event could take the whole system down?
03:22That reminds me of this story.
03:25I said I worked for the utility company in the northeastern part of the United States...
03:29...and that's a tough place to run a utility business, I can tell you this...snow storms and ice storms and, you know, hurricanes...
03:37...all kinds of stuff.
03:39Well I had this guy working for me and his name was Stanley.
03:44And every single day Stanley had to make a decision.
03:48And the decision was this.
03:51As the crews came back from their sort of normal daily work, he had to decide...
03:58...do I keep the crews on overtime in case something bad happens and, you know...
04:02...we're in New England and something bad a lot of times happens, or do I send them home?
04:07Do I keep it on overtime or do I send them home?
04:10And the way he did this was, he would gather up all kinds of data so he'd get the weather forecast...
04:17...and then he'd talk to his supervisors, and then he might figure out in his head, oh, you know...
04:22...we haven't maintained this part of the system or we haven't trimmed trees.
04:26And he would gather all of this data in his head, then he would organize that data by location...
04:34...then he would do sort of a risk profile and then he'd make a decision.
04:37So he'd walk into my office and he'd say, Bill, we're going to keep two crews or five crews or, nah, we're going to send them all home.
04:46And in all the years that I knew Stanley, he was almost always right.
04:51But what was he doing in his head, right?
04:53He was doing spatial analysis.
04:59Then Stanley retired.
05:03All of that experience, all of that knowledge, all of that data just simply walked out the door.
05:11What're we going to do?
05:13Well we have GIS and all of the capabilities that we've been seeing today, gathering data, spatial analysis.
05:20And so, think about it.
05:21Think about that I could go outside the utility company, grab a fire map and then maybe look at bridge damage.
05:28You know, I got these big old trucks and I don't them to drive over weak bridges.
05:32And I combine all of that stuff, just like Stanley did, to produce this map.
05:38Simple map but it's brand new.
05:41The red is where it's really bad.
05:43The green is good.
05:44And the orange is kind of in between.
05:46So now I can make a decision about what to do.
05:49Spatial analysis. GIS to transform the business.
05:53And I believe that when people remove those scotomas, innovation and transformation can happen.
06:01So I've got one final story for you.
06:03When I was with the utility company, we used an ancient form of communication, ancient.
06:10Made popular by Native Americans.
06:12Anybody know what it is?
06:16[Audience comment] Smoke signals.
06:17Smoke signals. That's right.
06:19And here's how it worked.
06:21When a transformer would blow up and catch on fire, we knew exactly where the problem was because we saw the...
06:28[Audience comment] Smoke.
06:29Smoke. That's right.
06:30Well we don't want to do that anymore.
06:32We want to use GIS and spatial analysis to find out where the fire will be before we see the smoke.
06:42And so, your opportunity really is to use GIS to peel away those scotomas for innovation and transformation.
Using GIS to Peel Away Scotomas
Bill Meehan, Esri utilities solutions manager, talks about the use of spatial analysis and decision making processes for utility applications.
- Recorded: Mar 6th, 2011
- Runtime: 06:54
- Views: 13782
- Published: Mar 28th, 2011
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