Friday, March 11, 2005

Confessions of a GTViewer convert

I would just like to inaugurate my first post on here by heaping while adulation onto this product:
Yes, GTViewer has made all of my wildest GIS dreams come true.

Here at MG&E we made the decision about a year and a half ago to migrate from FRAMME to G/Tech and jump into the wild world of the integrated database. We quickly realized that our antiquated Map Viewer, which had served us well in the past, would not be able to make the migration with us.

I was overjoyed.

The last significant upgrades to our Map Viewer seemed to have occurred sometime between the invention of the transistor and the Carter administration. The support was virtually non-existent and the documentation didn't venture far beyond "File->Open". Each year its obsolescence grew like a tumor. No, not like a lung cancer tumor. I mean like those benign ones that people don't notice at first that keep getting bigger and bigger, and they keep living with them anyway out of some kind of stubbornness or ignorance, until one day you're reading about them on the front Headlines of Yahoo News about how they pulled a 100 pound tumor out of the gut of some poor lady in Ohio. Yeah, those tumors, the ones that kids give names to. That was going to be our fate, and we were all going to lose our jobs, our wives and kids, and our dogs too. Even if our wife and kids and dog left us a note about where they left to, it would be useless because we wouldn't be able to find the address our GIS.

It had been 10 years since we had migrated off paper, and all out viewer was good for was reproducing that paper we had spent so much money getting rid of. It was almost as well, as our data had the integrity on an Enron director's meeting. Good thing our viewer couldn't let anyone see it too well.

And Then I Met a Man Named Larry Cosgrove

He was trying to sell us stuff at GITA. Something about a Pole Inspection program.
"That's great Larry, but we can't spend all kinds of money for some pole inspection program that we could write ourselves if only we had a Map Viewer that didn't make us hate our lives and ourselves, and our dogs hate us too."

Larry tried to explain to us that dogs not only love his Pole Inspection program, but also the tool it runs in, GTViewer. "And you can run it on a tablet PC."
We tried explaining to Larry that ours boss only feeds us bread and water, and that we don't have tablet PC's, and we didn't care.

But Larry didn't listen and a bunch of his people traveled all the way up here to little old Madison, Wisc to give us a demo of the illustrious Pole Inspection Sample Program for Pocket GTViewer.

We began to get curious.

"So what do you mean that this Gtview is cust-o-mise-able? "
"You can put a program in the GTViewer-a-bob?"
"Will it make our dogs like us again?"

And then Larry converted some our data and sent us back the result. And then he sent a copy of the documentation. We were floored. A product that not only did stuff, but also told you how to do it.

After spending years complaining about how no one makes sane GIS tools, we had been saved.
It's been a year now since we switched all of our Viewers over. And I hate calling it a viewer, because it's really much more than that. Although G/Tech is our underlying GIS, it is only the foundation of our GTViewer temple.

Thank You GTViewer,

1 comment:

Larry Cosgrove said...


Thank you for sharing your wildly funny and sincere experience with GTViewer. Sometimes I do have to drag my friends kicking and screaming to success. I appreciate your compliments and I thank you for your kind words about both the product and myself.