Perhaps you are curious as to whether GIS could benefit your company. Maybe you have a GIS system within your department and have a need to make use of it. Or you could be one of the many employees who have to use a GIS within their working environment and want to make the most use of the facilities available within a modern GIS system. Whatever your motivation for wanting to be more capable in using your GIS system you are probably aware that unlike many software packages GIS is not necessarily intuitive. If you want to be able to make the most of the program you will almost certainly need to have some form of structured training. Currently there are many different ways of improving your knowledge. There are self paced programs available on the internet for instance. Or you could purchase one of the many books on the subject and set yourself a target to be up and running in a specific time frame. You may be lucky enough to have an enlightened employer who decides to invest in sending you on a formal training course for your specific program. Even one day's training could make a very big difference to your ability to make a successful use of a GIS system.
Now this may seem a rather strange question to ask, but please bear with me for a minute. A recent survey found that most people were unaware of the similarity in chemical content of branded headache products and their generic alternatives. This particular study found that each product is given a specific code which ensures that it meets specific standards and contains correct levels of aspirin or paracetamol per tablet. So a branded product would have the same code on its packaging as the generic product indicating that it was more or less of the same quality and potency. The main differences between the branded product and the generic were packaging and price. The branded products often made claims which according to this study often exaggerated the ability of the product to quickly cure a headache because of the special formulation unique to the brand. The reality was that both branded and generic contained almost identical ingredients. They both primarily relied on either the aspirin or paracetamol element to relieve the headache. So why do people buy branded headache products when they have a price difference as high as 300% to 400% over the generic brands? The study showed that in most cases consumers were unaware that the generic product offered similar results to the more expensive branded option. Most consumers who were informed of the facts said they would buy the generic option from now on.
Joe Short BSc has been involved with various mapping solutions since 1993. If you are considering implementing a GIS or have ArcGIS, MapInfo or Quantum GIS training requirements I would be happy to be of assistance to your organisation.