Team News

Getting out and about and showing off our newest toy

Yesterday, our lead developer, Ben Sainsbury gave a 5-minute “lightning talk“ at the Annual GIS In Action Conference at Portland State University. It was awesome.

He spoke about nTendril, a software tool we developed that allows users to perform versioned, self documented analysis and cartography using disparate data located at its point of origin in a collaborative manner on the web.

It’s really quite amazing.

In case you missed the presentation (or were there but want more details) please give us a shout. We’d love to show you nTendril. And we won’t be limited to five minutes!

Continuing our relationship with Tigard

Continuing our long collaboration with the City of Tigard, we have recently begun a new consultation project focused on helping the City envision and define their next generation GIS architecture. The goal is to equip Tigard for growing geospatial demands while simplifying the upkeep and maintenance of their resources so that they are easily maintainable by current staff.
That’s no small task, when you think about it. Location data is growing in importance for both government and industry, as well as individuals. GIS used to be it’s own separate fiefdom within most organizations. Something that was a secondary concern compared to other IT needs. But now GIS data is being being folded into everyday workflows and applications.

So how do we simplify a process that seems to be ever-growing in complexity? For starters, we do our homework. We look closely at the City’s current architecture and the workflows it supports; we look at the maintenance effort and procedures require to sustain the current system; we review the needs of different stakeholder and end user groups. With information gathered from these activities, we are able to accurately characterize the current state of operations, complete with areas of risk, and areas where changes, expansions, and improvements are most desired. We can then combine some industry research and peer review information with our own experience working with many other organizations to optimize their geospatial systems to develop a responsive set of recommendations for Tigard’s next generation GIS platform.

Some of the factors to be addressed through completion of this project include:

  • overall system resiliency,
  • increasing geospatial capabilities of - and integration with - business systems,
  • expansion of the mobile workforce,
  • expansion of cloud infrastructure and desktop virtualization,
  • simplified design and publishing of focused geospatial applications, and
  • simplified promotion of development resources to production environment.

Interns!

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It’s a very exciting week for us here at the Gartrell Group. We have taken on our first set of interns!

We have a history of doing informational interviews with folks who are just finishing up school and looking at the horizon. Over the years, we have made many introductions to people up and coming in the Portland tech scene. Additionally, we have hired many of these folks in small and focused sub-contracting engagements as a means to identify and help cultivate tech talent and to help people along their careers. We view it is a both a benefit of being part of the local tech scene and a contribution to that community.

Right now, we’ve got three interns; two recent graduates of Epicodus, a local coding academy (our most recent hire, Drew, is a graduate). They will be working on a software product we are bringing to market. We also have brought in a high school student who will be learning some of the basics of video editing in order to assist us with FAQ videos for our clients and internal use.

We make an effort to set up programs so they are mutually beneficial and provide the opportunity for real world experience. Real coding. Real business experience.

Our interns are being offered the opportunity to apply learning from their classroom environment and add depth and focus not possible in survey courses or fast-moving curricula. The project that we have them working on is not a throwaway, example job. It is a real software product that we have been developing for some time now and are in the final process of bringing to market. Their work will be invaluable (in that we’re not paying them anything. That was an intern joke…).

We will likely have openings for interns next summer. If interested, send us a line.