About The Geo Factor – Location Matters

Lead GeoThinker: Ron Exler

ron at thegeofactor (dot) com

View Ron Exler's profile on LinkedIn

What’s The Geo Factor about?

Where matters. Location matters. The Geo Factor thinks there is tremendous potential for increased usage of location-based information (also called geographic, geospatial, spatial, map-based) by businesses and consumers.

The Geo Factor provides opinions on news; however, it is not a news aggregator. There are other excellent sources of geo-news. Instead, the intent is to provide an educated and independent view from a personal consumer and business perspective. The Geo Factor provides much of the content and invites guest bloggers and comments.

Who are you?

I am a Research Director for ISG Insights, the research arm of ISG. Previously I was an independent consultant providing services for market research and strategic planning. For the Open Geospatial Consortium, the standards organization, I wrote for industry magazines and Web sites including GeoConnexions, Government Technology, and Directions Magazine. Also, much of my recently published research at Saugatuck Technology, an ISG business is about location. I was also a regular columnist for MC Press Online’s MC Systems Insight. MC Systems Insight provides IT decision support with industry-wide analysis of events, comprehensive insight into industry trends, and point-blank commentary on how these events are shaping the IT experience.

Previously, I was in Product Management at the audience measurement company Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron). I was Vice President and Research Fellow for Robert Frances Group (RFG) that provided advisory services for information technology (IT) executives. In product management and consulting, I work with executives from some of the world’s largest enterprises; so I understand how business executives make decisions.

Prior to RFG, I worked for several enterprise technology and research firms in marketing, research, sales support, software development, and training. I have stellar geo-credentials with an M.S. in Cartography from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where I wrote my thesis on the cartographic value of Landsat Thematic Mapper data and prepared the campus’ first map for people with disabilities. I also earned a B.S. in Geography from Oregon State University where I mapped the local wildlife refuge and worked on crop analysis using remote sensing.

Some of my professional hands-on automated mapping/GIS experience:
– Prepared maps of cancer mortality rates and wrote related applications of statistical analysis for the EPA using SAS.
– Provided cartographic design and projection support for an early private boat navigation system on a PC, Navigation Sciences.
– Helped clients learn and use Synercom (now LogicaCMG) Informap AM/FM system and EMIS GIS (ODYSSEY from Harvard University).


Why the blog?

There are many decent blogs on topics geographical. The Geo Factor is different. The goal is to discuss geography from a business perspective, not a journalistic or vendor perspective. I try to analyze what’s happening rather than just report events.

You’re a consultant, former product management executive, and analyst – how can you write about technologies you don’t use?

This question makes many analysts squirm. Not me. While it is true I do not now personally use many of the technologies available, I hear from people who do. I addition, I have working experience applying technologies to solve business problems. While the technologies change, the approaches that work do not. Also, the underlying concepts and capabilities of automated mapping and GIS are the same. I learned the fields of geography and cartography before extensive use of automation, giving me a strong foundation of knowledge and a near-immediate appreciation for new applications.

Furthermore, my opinions come not just from the technology but also from the success stories and real use cases. Also, technology always has important strings attached such as a set of employees (or community of developers), stockholders or investors, partners, and the like. Viewing technology in a vacuum is a mistake many make but that I strive to avoid on The Geo Factor.

If you have hands-on experience (or not) and want to voice your view, write a comment or become a guest blogger.

You’re a consultant – how can I trust you?

I am well aware of the concerns many have about consultants. Also, many question the motives of blog authors. My personal code of ethics is clear and fair. While companies may sometimes pay for my services, I openly disclose all such relationships if I write about those companies on The Geo Factor. In addition, I disclose all financial relationships with any of the firms mentioned. I require the same from external contributors. In short – no hidden relationships that are misleading to readers. Detailed disclosure policy is below.

If any reader thinks the views expressed on The Geo Factor misrepresent the facts, let me know via e-mail (ron at thegeofactor (dot) com) or comments.

Disclosure Policy

The Geo Factor blog is a personal blog written and edited by Ron Exler. For questions about this blog, please contact him: ron (at) thegeofactor (dot) com.

This blog accepts advertising and sponsorship. Google Ad Sense ads may be served based on content of the blog and Ron has no control over the content of the ads. All advertising and sponsorship is clearly labeled and in the open.

Ron is not compensated to provide opinion on this blog on products, services, Web sites, or anything else. The blog does not accept paid article insertions. Instead, Ron is happy to hear about a product or service and write about it himself. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely Ron’s. If Ron claims or appears to be an expert on a certain matter, Ron will only endorse things that he believes, based on his expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

This blog does not intentionally contain any content that might present a conflict of interest. Ron pays all costs for the domain name and hosting. The contents of The Geo Factor blog represent Ron’s own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer or clients. If Ron mentions on the blog a specific company with which he has a consulting arrangement, he will disclose those connections in the post.