November 13, 2018
Coffee Break! All things GIS and Getting to Know Brian Kingery
By: Leslee Oliver
With GIS Day 2018 happening this week, I grabbed coffee with Timmons Group’s newest E-Government Solutions Transportation Practice team member, Brian Kingery. Brian started with our firm in September and is an expert at all things ArcGIS, from Esri Story Maps to Web AppBuilder. He is a fascinating storyteller, is passionate about helping organizations utilize GIS to enhance their businesses and was first exposed to GIS when he was enlisted in the US Army in 2009. Read below to find out more about Brian’s expertise and how you can utilize his special skills for making the most out of your GIS.
Q. Where were you first exposed to GIS?
In 2009 I enlisted in the US Army as a 12Y Geospatial Engineer. I went through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) school house at Fort Belvoir, VA and was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. From there I was able to practice GIS and travel all over the world, including a few trips to Germany and a deployment to Afghanistan.
My experience in the military really shaped me personally and professionally. I was given the opportunity to interact and collaborate with people of all backgrounds and nationalities seeing the true impact of what GIS is capable of while being responsible for the well-being of people and assets in near real time in critical situations.
Some of the types of spatial intelligence products I developed included:
• Convoy route planning maps
• Site selection maps for helicopter landing zones and troop movement
• Line of sight products to determine things like radio frequency coverage or potential locations of enemy insurgents
Q. Describe your role at Timmons Group in 1-2 sentences.
As a member of the E-Government Solutions Transportation Practice team, I help organizations make the most of their GIS investment. I have a passion for helping organizations increase their understanding and use of ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, Portal for ArcGIS, configurable applications such as Web AppBuilder, and helping organizations tell their story with Story Maps. Internally, I collaborate with the various groups of Timmons Group looking for ways to enhance current GIS workflows, as well as, help plan for the future of GIS at Timmons Group.
Q. If there’s one thing about your role that others would be surprised to know, what would that be?
The barrier to entry into the world of GIS is the lowest it's ever been and it's getting lower each day. I do have programming experience and being able to automate or enhance a workflow or application with code is very helpful. I would say something that might be a surprise to most is the majority of what I do is promoting and using Configurable-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies. COTS technologies can be very beneficial to organizations as they are easy to deploy, modify, and maintain over the life cycle of an application.
Q. How does Esri’s System of Engagement benefit organizations?
Esri defines a system of engagement as a system that manages and promotes user collaboration and interaction beyond just being a system of record. By taking advantage of all that modern web GIS has to offer, an organization can attain the level of collaboration it desires among its employees, customers, partners, and the public. Utilizing a set of interconnected applications and providing data dynamically as services easily consumable by anyone with an internet connection is a game changer. This is what modern GIS looks like.
Q. How can organizations get more out of their GIS?
First, think spatially first. So many projects are started and then the spatial component is treated as an afterthought when it should be at the forefront of the initial design. Over time, components of the data might change such as dates, IDs, and any other number of fields there might be, but the one thing that is absolute, is the location.
Second, educate staff to understand the types of GIS solutions that are out there and how to use them. COTS technologies get more and more configurable every day allowing organizations to achieve more with less, but your staff needs to know about them. A large part of my continued success is due to reading blogs and software releases documenting current bugs and enhancements from past releases. Knowing the capabilities of the tools you have at your disposable is a key to success.
Third, embrace the movement to the cloud. The majority of the time, organizations of all sizes will see immediate cost savings when it comes to storing of data and infrastructure maintenance. It is worth looking into moving or taking a hybrid approach.
Q. How can your role at Timmons Group help organizations achieve this?
Before coming to Timmons Group, I was the ArcGIS administrator at the Virginia Department of Transportation. One of the biggest projects I worked on there was Virginia Roads, the agency's open data portal. Virginia Roads was built on Esri's Open Data platform powered by VDOT's ArcGIS Online organizational account.
Over the course of 2 years, I worked closely with various divisions of VDOT such as the Traffic Engineering Division, Maintenance Division, and Traffic Mobility and Planning Division to develop their workflows and create targeted purpose driven applications (read more on that story here). If you wanted to search for Park and Ride Lots throughout the Commonwealth, there was an app for that. If you wanted to see what streets in your neighborhood were scheduled to be paved, there was an app for that. And because all of this was provided through a system of engagement of interconnected apps using data services, all of the layers shown in each individual app could be layered into one application and consumed by all if desired.
I am excited to leverage my experience with Virginia Roads and ArcGIS Online at VDOT as I see it being beneficial to many other organizations wanting to tell their story and engage with their user community.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Q. What is your dream vacation?
VIP treatment with my sons at the Super Bowl when they get older.
Q. Favorite Sports Team?
Jets and Yankees. Also, any professional soccer match. The atmosphere in those stadiums are electric especially on international stages and in the European leagues.
Q. Favorite Richmond, Virginia Restaurant?
Citizen Burger Bar in Carytown
Q. If you weren't a GIS Analyst, what would you be?
Professional golfer by day. Professional poker player by night.
Q. If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Play with my kids more.