Carpe Geo: Becoming a Great GIS Leader

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How can you grow into the GIS leader you aspire to be? How can you work better with others? How can you get the most satisfaction out of your GIS career? These are questions that AppGeo believes can be answered through thoughtful application of Carpe Geo principles. Carpe Geo is about seizing the opportunities to do great things with GIS.

Those of you who attended the 2017 NSGIC Annual Conference in Providence, RI may remember hearing Bill Johnson’s Carpe Geo & Parvum Momentum presentation, where he first introduced us to these ideas. Since then, Bill has joined the AppGeo team and at this year’s NSGIC Annual he followed up with Carpe Geo, Part Deux, which explored how the principles of Carpe Geo can help you become a better GIS leader.

Becoming a great GIS leader doesn’t happen overnight. To better understand how one grows and metamorphosizes into that role, consider three lenses or models that can help you understand the growth path.

First is the GIO Time Allocation Model that Bill based on GIO peer interviews he conducted in 2013 when he was first appointed as GIO for New York. The core of being a GIO is a set of people skills related to building coalitions, political savvy, and owning the vision for where GIS can be most effective. These should be the activities where you, as a GIS leader, allocate most of your time, with a particular emphasis on articulating and promoting the vision. All of your activities should coalesce around the vision.

Next is the GIO Career Maturity Model, which explores the notion that as you rise through progressive ranks in your career, at each step you need to shed some of the earlier career skills related to the mechanics of GIS, and stretch yourself further into skills on motivating people, seeing the big picture, and taking initiative. Only by giving yourself space to grow can you fully inhabit the GIS leader role.

Finally, the GIS Half-Life Model considers the lasting value of various components of enterprise GIS. This Model shows that the technology components, where we often spend significant time and attention, have short half-lives - they lose value quickly, while data, partnerships, policies, and training/methods have much longer half-lives and should be the elements where we focus our energies.

All of this can be boiled down to the Carpe Geo “secret sauce”:

Seize. Solve. Share.

That’s Carpe Geo.

AppGeo believes that Carpe Geo embodies the values that underpin all of our work, and we are pleased to be able to promote and support the spread of Carpe Geo. That’s why we have given Bill the title of Carpe Geo Evangelist. Call him anytime on the Carpe Geo Hotline (Bill’s cell, at 518-859-5576).

We invite you to read a blog post by AppGeo VP, Tom Harrington, with his thoughts on how Carpe Geo influences our work. We also invite you to explore our new web page where we are documenting Carpe Geo and posting related resources. Please explore at:, and let us know how AppGeo can help as you seek to seize your own GIS opportunities.

We apply these ideas every day to our software; Giza for highly efficient cloud-serving of tiled datasets; MapGeo, our SaaS web mapping solution; as well as custom application development using our Best of Breed approach; and our full range of GIS consulting services to assist you with planning and execution of GIS and geoanalytics projects, large or small. Let’s put the ideas of Carpe Geo to work together.