Member Spotlight – Beehive Industries

This month, we will feature an Organization for our member Spotlight. That Organization is Beehive Industries, located in Lincoln, NE. Responses were provided by Mike Schwab.

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NE GIS/LIS: In a few sentences, what does your organization tie into the GIS world?

Beehive: We provide map-based and location aware products to municipalities, natural resource districts, small utilities and private sector companies that allow them to track the items important in their world.

By leveraging spatial data and database applications we are exposing GIS data and tools to a large community of users. Our goal is to remove the barriers that separate spatial data from the user, and to take the GIS data that was once up on a pedestal and get it down into the dirt.

NE GIS/LIS: How many employees are in your organization?

Beehive: We currently have 24 full time employees.

NE GIS/LIS: How long has your organization been using GIS?

Beehive: We have been using and developing GIS tools since our inception in February of 2011.

NE GIS/LIS: How has your organization participated with the Nebraska GIS/LIS Association?

Beehive: We have been both a sponsor and exhibitor at the GIS Symposium and we have been a sponsor of the Annual Meetings.  We also have employees who are actively involved and have served as officers within the Association.  We are actively involved with the planning committee for the GIS Symposium.

NE GIS/LIS: What are 3 words to describe your organization?

Beehive: Innovative, Active, and Exciting

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like most about your organization?

Beehive: We are pushing spatial tools into areas that have, historically, had very limited exposure to the benefits of these types of tools.  It has been a great experience helping our clients navigate this world.

Also, our company is very involved in our community.  Each employee is encouraged to commit at least 10% of their work time to volunteer activities around the community.  It is a great feeling to be involved with a company who encourages volunteering as strongly as we do.

NE GIS/LIS: What has been your favorite project at your organization?

Beehive: I have two.  First, our work with the NRD’s around the state has been very exciting.  It’s not one specific project, it’s more of a coordinated effort across multiple districts.  By providing staff with tools that simplify the way they collect the mass amounts of data required to make educated decisions about items such as water use, static water levels, allocations, etc. has been great to be a part of.  The NRD’s who leverage Beehive software have seen a myriad of benefits to their processes and we are constantly reacting and evolving our tools to accommodate future needs.

Second, the Energy Saving Trees web portal with the Arbor Day Foundation was a fantastic project to work on.  This work has combined a lot of innovative tools and technologies into an application that can actually make a difference in the world.

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest moment at your organization?

Beehive: Anytime that we can help our clients work through a difficult problem by using our applications always gives me great pride.

NE GIS/LIS: What is on your wish list for the next 10 years?

Beehive: I would love to see the gap between spatial applications and legacy database applications disappear.  The migration has been ongoing, but it would be great to see that gap continue to decrease.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you think the future holds for the GIS profession?

Beehive: I believe that the role of the classic “GIS” person will start to diminish as smarter applications are made available to more and more of your team members.  Don’t hang me yet, I think that this is a good thing.  Growth is always a good thing, and there is tremendous opportunity in the GIS community to be a part of that growth.  As more and more technologies evolve to include some type of spatial component, GIS users are going to have to evolve as well.  There are a lot of new positions and roles out there for people with GIS backgrounds, I just think we as a community need to embrace this and continue to evolve with the technology.  Find ways to make your maps and data more available to other team members, integrate old data with spatial technology, don’t be afraid to explore new territories, etc.  These are the things that will continue to make the GIS professional an integral part of your organization.

NE GIS/LIS: We would like to thank Mike Schwab and Beehive for taking part in our Member Spotlight!

Fundamentals of Geography: Airline Tragedy

Geography plays a much bigger role in our lives than we sometimes realize. Every day, we make decisions based on how to get from one location to another – and it becomes even a greater concern when we take into account our mode of travel because geography is essentially mathematics:

Distance = Time + Cost

So we make location decisions based on our ability to reduce the variables Time and Cost to affect the outcome Distance. How far do we drive to work, school, or recreation is part of our daily interaction with geography.

The horrible tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was shattered in Eastern Ukraine along with as many as 300 lost souls is an example of how geography matters. If one wants to avoid large land areas, this will increase distance – and increase our variables of time and cost. Airlines must consider profit and customer convenience (time in-flight) when plotting courses between locations. Weighting the consequences of a chance encounter with a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile is not often part of the equation in the consideration of flight paths.

Mathematically, our old friend Pythagorean, working with Euclidean geometry, figured out the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides of a right triangle. In simple geographical terms, by traveling the hypotenuse, one moves over a much shorter distance (975 miles) as opposed to the combined distance of legs a + b (1240 miles). Time + Cost are reduced considerably:

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This is not much solace for the poor folks who perished in this catastrophe. An international act of intentional terrorism or a mistaken identity and nervous trigger finger will undoubtedly be played out in the media for years. What is sure is that geography is always an issue that needs further consideration and appreciation – because geography matters.
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“Then my spirit will haste to her resting-place, As she lies on the wreck-strewn floor;
I will shelter my love in a close embrace, Till the sea shall be no more.”

Danske Dandridge, Lost at Sea, 1900

For the Spatially Challenged