Hello folks! Yvonne Jones here, Marketing Manager, with ROK. For this month's update we have decided to pick the brain of our Sales Director Carey Jenkins and discuss her thoughts on customer service and its impact on the GIS community!
YJ: Good Morning Carey, glad to have you on board this morning!
CJ: Good Morning Yvonne, great to be here.
YJ: With all the options customers and potentials customers have for hosting GIS maps and/or data in the cloud, why choose ROK Technologies? What sets you apart from the others?
CJ: Let’s set product discussion aside for now and simply focus on service. What good is a product or service without support behind it? At ROK we focus on a custom experience. Every client is different and ever client has different needs. We pride ourselves on developing unique quality options for every client. Not only are the applications and maps unique per client, but every client gets personalized support for their services. Our team is thorough with the setup and will guide each client through any problem they may have. You are never without support from the ROK team. I think that makes us unique.
YJ: What about the product quality itself?
CJ: As an Esri business partner we are equipped with great knowledge of ArcGIS server and ArcGIS Online. Our team is well versed and can streamline the process for many clients. Not only that but we can create custom maps and applications as well. Whatever the client may need in regards to GIS map hosting we can handle with practiced care. With our team’s expertise and great customer service the clients are in for a great experience with our products.
YJ: So you mainly focus on GIS Map hosting and development?
CJ: We do emphasize our map hosting abilities but like I said we can create custom maps and applications as well. We can also create mobile applications. That way the clients can pass on their product to their customers in an easy to access form. Not only that but we are now partnered with eGroup and can host IT solutions and data in the cloud for our clients. We are evolving every day and finding new ways to bring solutions to our valued and potential clients. It is truly an exciting time for ROK technologies!
YJ: Wow! Ok so could you provide the readers with a scenario of a happy client and how they utilized your services?
CJ: Absolutely. We just received a raving testimonial from Franklin County in Alabama. This past summer, the Franklin County GIS Consortium used ArcGIS Online, together with map services hosted by ROK Technologies to create web maps for two local events.
The City of Russellville hosts an annual 4th of July celebration, attracting thousands of spectators. Also, in August, the City hosts a downtown festival, attracting dozens of vendors and thousands of patrons. Interactive web maps were used to display the locations of vendors, parking, first aid, attractions, and roadblocks, along with many other features. Public safety personnel and event organizers had access to maps showing the locations of emergency personnel, vehicles, and facilities.
ArcGIS Online was used because of the ability to embed the easy to use application within an existing website, use it in a mobile device, display map services hosted by ROK Technologies, and access a great variety of base maps.
They were very happy with the results!
YJ: You heard it best from our Sales Director. ROK Technologies really delivers in customer service and product. Way to go ROK!
Hello folks! Yvonne Jones here, Marketing Manager, with ROK. For this week's update we have decided to pick the brain of our CTO Jason Harris and discuss his thoughts on GIS hosting and cloud services!
YJ: Good Morning Jason. We are very excited to hear your thoughts on this very hot and trending topic!
JH: Good Morning Yvonne, great to be here.
YJ: Let's jump right in to the thick of things and start off with, why is a cloud hosted GIS solution important?
JH: It is funny, when I first heard the term 'Cloud Computing' many years ago, I said to myself 'This just means a server that's sitting somewhere outside of your building, it just a new buzzword that the industry is pushing'. It didn’t take me long to realize just how wrong I was. It is all about data redundancy, security, speed, scalability, and optimal use of available computing power. GIS, like other industries, can take advantage of these real world benefits right now. All industries and organizations should want to serve their data faster, more securely, and of course less expensively - and using the Cloud to serve geographic data and services should be no exception.
YJ: How does one make an informed decision in regards to what program to choose?
JH: As the industry continues to mature, we are given more and more options when it comes to serving GIS through the cloud. There are many factors to consider when choosing a vendor or service. The very first thing I discuss when making recommendations to folks is how hands on do you want to be? Many people opt to use a service such as Amazon EC2, where you 'rent' an entire server in which you must administer from start to finish. From licensing, to publishing maps, server maintenance, etc. Everything. It is your server and you are ultimately responsible for it. It is not a role that some folks want to take on though. There can be some budgetary issues because the cost for this service can vary quite a bit from month to month due to bandwidth demand, extra CPU cycles, etc. You pay for that server even if it sits idle for hours. For the very high volume and demanding map services, along with the right personnel administer it, this option works well.
For folks that wish to take a more hands-off approach, the latest offering from Esri called ArcGIS Online is an excellent choice. It allows non technical users the ability to quickly and easily publish their maps and data to web using the power of the Esri hosted cloud. Simple web maps can be easily configured from a wealth of ready to use templates - and then shared within your organization, or the world. There can be some downsides to this service, mainly the limited ability to utilize the more advanced features of ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS online is a 'metered' solution meaning you pay for what you use - which can be both good and bad. As your monthly usage can vary widely, these situations can be difficult to budget for. Overall, if you are looking to get your feet wet in 'Cloud Hosted GIS' and looking to easily share your data, then ArcGIS Online is a great option.
Then there is a hybrid type of cloud solution, which I like to call the 'Personalized Cloud'. In this scenario, you partner with an existing company, such as ROK, to host GIS data and map services for you on their cloud. This approach allows you to be hands on, while maintaining all the benefits of the cloud infrastructure - such as scalability and redundancy. In addition, the full power of Esri's ArcGIS Server is exposed. However, you get one more very important benefit - the expertise of a dedicated team backing you up. Managing servers and dealing with intricacies of serving spatial data can be time consuming. When you have a talented team that is there to help, it can make all the difference. Using this approach allows you to focus on your core competencies, and leave the heavy-lifting and server maintenance to others.
YJ: Wow. Jason that is a pretty lengthy answer, could you narrow it down to the single most important point?
JH: Well Yvonne, it really all comes down to the economics of scalability. Some options use the 'metered' pricing tier, while others, such as ROK, use a fixed price. The very first thing that we do here at ROK is to talk to the customer. We are all developers at heart and understand what it takes to successfully launch a service or new web app. So, in these initial discussions, we get a good feel for the requirements and target audience. This lets us estimate out the resources needed and determine a fixed monthly price that won’t vary - and one that the customer is comfortable with. Let us look at this scenario - Suppose you are hosting an emergency management application during hurricane season along the gulf coast of Florida. As a hurricane approaches, more and more citizens use these hosted services to, for example determine an evacuation zone. This scenario would sharply raise your monthly bill, since more and more 'credits' were used. Again, as we discussed before, this can be a budget concern if using the metered approach. The good news is that service is not susceptible to this rapidly increasing load. The cloud is able to quickly scale up, allot additional bandwidth as needed - all to effectively serve your GIS services.
YJ: Ok, so you spent a good time on how but now tell us why to
choose a hosted GIS solution.
JH: We are all expected to do more with less these days. No matter which approach you take, the benefits of utilizing a cloud hosted GIS are compelling. Taking into consideration a lower total cost of ownership, server uptime/redundancy, scalability, along with far fewer management headaches, moving your GIS to the cloud just makes sense.
YJ: You heard it best from our resident CTO. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here or contact Jason Harris at email@example.com.
Cloud computing. A common term used here in the IT world but five years ago was a novelty for most of us. Cloud computing is changing the way companies do business. Can you and your company benefit from cloud services? The answer is absolutely. According to analytic data collected by Vertical-Cloud.com, by the end of 2013 small and medium-size businesses will have surpassed enterprises in cloud adoption with key verticals such as service, banking, education, and insurance.
The large appeal of cloud computing began with database storage. Cloud service allowed companies to move a bulk of their data and information to a cloud database, permitting them to free up internal server space and unload the costs of desktop programs. Companies were learning how to save money on operating and maintenance costs by using a cloud, thus freeing up their server for other potential revenue streams.
An important concern for most companies was and is security. Will their data be protected with cloud programs and will their client’s data be safe? Your systems are already as secure or insecure as they are and moving to the cloud doesn’t change that. The worst case scenario is that a cloud service might expose how weak your system’s securities are. Luckily cloud services are equipped to provide extra security to better protect you and your data.
But what is next for cloud computing? Companies are now looking for ways to evolve and change their business by using the cloud. They are asking how to provide services and products via the cloud that will benefit their customers and improve the bottom line. How can Cloud Services change and improve your business?
Contact us if you are looking for ways to host your map services online.
We are excited to announce a new partnership! ROK Global is utilizing eGroup’s eCloud infrastructure to allow users to easily view, understand and interpret geographically referenced data right from the desktop.
As a result of the partnership, commercial enterprises and governmental organizations will be better prepared to make data driven decisions, at a fraction of the cost. As these groups strive to improve efficiencies, deliver superior customer service and a better informed constituency, commercial enterprises and governmental organizations are increasingly turning to geographic information systems (GIS). Historically, these entities have been challenged with rolling out GIS given the high cost and complex technical specifications, despite the significant business benefits.
Our managed ArcGIS Server cloud hosting, powered by eGroup’s eCloud, offers a solution that is cost effective while allowing enterprises and public organizations to integrate their enterprise software with ROK GIS solutions, products and services. Additional benefits include:
-Lower total cost of ownership (fixed, monthly cost)
-Hosted Computing Infrastructure
-State-of-the-art 24×7 Data Center
-Dedicated Virtual Servers: Scale resources as-needed
-Consolidated Storage: Readily Available
-Highest Levels of Business Continuity
-No ArcGIS Server license required – We handle that.
-No bandwidth investment – Do you have enough bandwidth to serve that bandwidth intensive cache? We do.
-No personnel investment – We have best in class ArcGIS Server specialists on staff. We take care of the technical obstacles to ensure your map services run at optimal speed
Utilizing our ArcGIS Server cloud hosting service includes several benefits when compared to other cloud based server configurations. We maintain all the benefits of other cloud solutions without all the ‘unknowns’.
“Reliability and performance in a storage solution are key criteria for ROK’s cloud initiative. In-depth knowledge of the storage industry and a thorough understanding of ROK’s leading edge offerings make eGroup the natural partner of choice to exceed ROK’s cloud storage requirements,” Mike Murphy, president at ROK Technologies.
Client Spotlight: We are pleased to welcome Escambia County, FL as an ArcGIS Server Hosting Client. Escambia County, Florida is presently working on launching ROK GoMaps in the future and is currently utilizing ROK’s address search tool. Residents of Escambia County can utilize the address tool to find information about a property such as County Commission District, water franchise jurisdictions, school zones, voting precinct, emergency management hurricane evacuation zones and more. Residents with questions on how to use this great tool can view a video tutorial here (http://www.myescambia.com/lookup.html ). Don’t forget to check back soon. Once Escambia has launched ROK GoMaps, the public will have access to more searchable data.
“Escambia County Government and Citizens have benefited in many ways as a result [of] ROK Technologies' services. We have provided GIS web map services to the public for several years and the tools and templates provided through GoMaps and other "ROK" services have pleased internal staff and outside citizen users. The staff at ROK Technologies has introduced several new ideas such as an address reporting tool and a video tutorial to assist users by demonstration. Their quick delivery on development following our requests has offered a chance to test concepts and enhance the successfulness to our GIS users. We are looking forward to future advancement through an ongoing partnership with ROK Tech.”
Charlie Gonzalez, GISP, GIS Manager, Escambia County, Florida
Give your citizens/employees on-the-go access to county maps and information via their mobile device with our new GOMaps Mobile Application. Powered by ArcGIS Server, GOMaps Mobile utilizes the state-of the-art in mobile GIS technology.
- Allows access to your GIS maps for any mobile platform
- Custom Searches like Owner Name or PIN
- Bookmarks i.e zoom to a specific town
- Drill Down Identify
- Map Themes, such as Zoning, Aerials, Basemaps, Schools, etc
Benefits of GOMaps for Mobile
- Reduces foot traffic in county offices
- Alleviates phone support to realtors, banks, attorneys, and surveyors.
- Access your GIS maps anytime anywhere
- Potential Revenue Source
- ROK offers deep GIS expertise and support that extends your ability to leverage Esri technology
Interested in learning more? Contact us
Virtual Franklin County was built for the purpose of communicating with the public. By capitalizing on Geographic Information Systems, and coming onto our ArcGIS Server Hosting, we will now be able to show the public property information, voting poll locations, bridges with school bus weight restrictions, road closings, and capital improvements, such as utility enhancements and road resurfacing, among many others. In addition to the “need to know” information, we are including many other helpful resources as a part of our GIS data. These include recreational facilities and events, historical documents and photos, and demographic information, just to name a few of the map layers. We have added widgets, available at the ESRI ArcGIS Viewer for Flex Resource Center, in order to add functionality to the GIS application and allow the user more interaction with the information. This is a very dynamic GIS application, as we will be adding and updating information on a regular basis, to ensure that the citizens of Franklin County are able to receive current, updated GIS data. Click here to see the ArcGIS viewer.
"Our goal at Franklin County was to configure an ArcGIS Viewer for Flex application, design a GIS map for the application, and to have it all published and hosted on a tight deadline. With the help of ROK, we managed to meet the deadline with ease. Their customer service is phenomenal. Always helpful and friendly, and pulled me out of a jam on more than one occasion. They were even there to help late into the evening after normal business hours. Not to mention the fact that we are thoroughly impressed by their technical capabilities in the realm of Geographic Information Systems. We have been told by many users of our GIS application, including seasoned GIS professionals, how impressed they are at the drawing speed of our image cache and map service. For these reasons, we will look to ROK for any additional support needed for our GIS efforts." Michael Hughes, GIS Manager, Franklin County, AL GIS Consortium
Are you a small business or local government and have an Enterprise License Agreement(ELA) with Esri? Are you short on the resources to get this implemented? Are you struggling with:
-Hardware, Servers, bandwidth, etc.?
-Application Map Services?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then ROK Full Service GIS can assist you with your ELA. ROK Full Service GIS can take your licensing and host it on our cloud, providing you a remote access through Citrix. This frees you up to continue with your day-to-day activities, such as editing and updating your data.
ROK Full Service GIS offers you peace of mind by providing:
-All IT Infrastructure
-Backup/Data disaster recovery (eGroup)
-40 years GIS experience which can assist you with data conversion, migration, configuration, upgrades of all service packs. By allowing us to help you with your Geographic Information System needs, we allow you to more effectively focus on your core competencies and day-to-day jobs.
Client Spotlight: We are pleased to announce that our long time client, Onslow County, NC has upgraded from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server, allowing them a more broad and effective use of Geographic Information Systems. When visiting the Onslow County, NC website, users now have access to the ROK GoMaps applications, thus giving them the ability to perform powerful GIS analysis, including complex queries, export excel files, and create spatial buffers. It is an exciting time for Geographic Information Systems altogether, and we're very happy that our friends from Onslow County, NC are taking the opportunity to utilize the full potential of ArcGIS. The application utilizes Esri basemap map services along with their own dynamic and cached map services, allowing for all new GIS capabilities. The cached map services utilize ROK Technologies' cloud-based tile hosting service to ensure rapid delivery to the end users. GoMaps is an application developed and hosted by ROK.
“Recently, ROK Technologies updated our website to the ArcGIS server, and implemented the GIS application GoMaps. We have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. I had dreaded changing the website, because normally the public is resistant to change. However, with this change to a more effective Geographic Information System, I have been pleasantly surprised with the numerous compliments we have received. Over the past 14 years, we have worked on several projects with ROK, and they always go the extra mile to support us and aid us with all of our GIS needs. The entire ROK staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and easy to work with. It has been a pleasure working with them through the years on various GIS issues, and I look forward to working with them on future projects as well."
Patricia Pike, GIS Manager
- ROK annouces new iOS Application for the citizens of Santa Rosa County
- Parcel Fabric Training - Spring Dates Announced for April
- Hosting GIS Data in the Cloud
- Does Customer Service Matter?
- Why host your GIS data in a cloud?
- The Cloud Evolution: Are you on board?
- ROK Global Applications Group, LLC partners with eGroup
- Client Spotlight: Escambia County, FL
- GOMaps Mobile - iOS and Android Applications
- The Parcel Fabric Training - October 2012 - Charleston, SC
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