GIS Tech News (#106)

18 May, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

What Makes a Good GIS Leader?


Being well grounded in geospatial technology is just the beginning, says URISA's Greg Babinski.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a nonprofit association of professionals who apply geographic information system (GIS) and other information technologies in state and local governments. One of the association's many initiatives is the URISA Leadership Academy, a training course intended to turn GIS users into GIS leaders.

But just what are the characteristics of GIS leaders? Are they managers, or something more? What is their role in an organization? Greg Babinski, the finance and marketing manager for Seattle's King County GIS Center and URISA's president-elect, cleared up all these questions and more.

Cadalyst: What are the characteristics that define a good GIS leader?

Babinski: A good GIS leader, like any leader, is characterized by having followers, and leading and following imply movement. I think that is the essence of leadership — motivating people or organizations to do things differently, or together, or with purpose. To me, GIS does not exist in isolation; it has no purpose unless it is serving the organization that is paying the bills, be it a city, county, utility, business, or whatever.

Effective GIS leaders first and foremost have to be well grounded in GIS technology, but that's not enough. Just being well grounded in technology and having some other interpersonal and project management skills can make you an effective supervisor; throw in knowing how to respond to clients, and balance a workload, and deal with procuring services, and you can be an effective GIS manager.

But being an effective GIS leader also requires vision: The ability to see what no one else can see, and then motivate the GIS team and the organization to effect change. To me it is often about doing things differently. The GIS leader can see better ways to do things internally within GIS, and has the capacity to look above the day-to-day details and change how a GIS unit delivers the same with less, or more with less, or much more with additional capacity. Read more »
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


Bentley Reworks Geospatial Lineup

The new Bentley Map GIS platform for infrastructure applications offers three levels of functionality, united under one name.

By Cadalyst Staff

With the recent release of Bentley Map V8i (SELECTseries 2), Bentley Systems has simplified its entire geospatial software family, replacing Bentley PowerMap Field, Bentley PowerMap, Bentley PowerDraft for Mapping, Bentley Cadastre, and Bentley CADscript. But customers still have a choice to make, as the new release is available in three editions: the light-duty Bentley Map PowerView, for editing and viewing spatial information; the professional-focused Bentley Map, for data analysis and management; and the industrial-strength Bentley Map Enterprise, an entirely new product which provides access to advanced image management, solids texturing, document conversion, and long transactions in Oracle Spatial without the need for a server license.

"This lineup replaces many of Bentley's previous desktop GIS products, and now we have one single product brand ... which is available in three editions to meet the needs of different users and different workflows," Richard Zambuni, Bentley's global marketing director for geospatial and utilities, explained during a media briefing. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

Be Together: The Bentley User Conference
May 23–26, 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This conference for geospatial, architectural, and other Bentley users will comprise multidisciplinary sessions from nine conference tracks, including Water, Geospatial, and Utilities and Communications. Read more

Hexagon 2011 International Conference
June 6–9, 2011
Orlando, Florida
Leica Geosystems' User Conferences for Laser Scanning and Airborne Sensing have been combined with Hexagon AB's inaugural international conference to form the Hexagon 2011 International Conference. This event will bring together the latest technologies and user communities from Intergraph, as well as Hexagon's Metrology, Geosystems, and Technology divisions, in one location. Read more 

Earthmine Partner Conference
July 7–8, 2011
Berkeley, California
This first annual event will feature presentations from earthmine's partners and end users, including discussions of customer projects implementing earthmine solutions across a variety of markets. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What's New at

Student Team Outfits Prize-Winning Racecar with 3D-Printed Parts
The FaSTTUBe team uses an HP Designjet to prototype designs and produce components for the Formula Student Germany engineering competition. Read more

From the Trenches: Reprogram Your Mouse Buttons
Want to use your thumb button for Escape? It's easy to modify your multibutton mouse to suit your preferences. Read more

Keep Ahead of the Learning Curve, Part 2
You've got your training plan in hand, and now you need to show management why funding that training is a smart financial decision. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Destroy Malware with Free Spybot Utility
Your coworkers use their workstations for more than just CAD tasks — which means you must be prepared for virus outbreaks. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use social media — such as Facebook or Twitter updates, YouTube videos, or discussion forums — for work-related purposes?
Yes, I regularly use such resources for work-related purposes.
Yes, but on a limited or infrequent basis.
No, because my employer frowns upon or prohibits doing so.
No, because I don’t have the time or interest.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition