Building a Web GIS Business
I'd. Like, you to meet an interesting Penn Stater. Stephen. Ansari is co-founder. Principle, of blue roster the, company that you heard about in the video prelude, to this case study, this. Story is about how Stephen and his partner built a successful business in web GIS it's. Also about what you can do to create opportunities. For fulfillment. In your own career I, met. Stephen in 1997. When he was an undergraduate, student, in a course I taught at Penn State in fact, that course called mapping our changing, world was, an early on-campus, version, of the online course you're taking now in those. Early days of the web I built, HTML. Files to illustrate, and share my lectures and assign, students, to code HTML, -. Steven, came to, Penn State from Downingtown, high in southeastern, Pennsylvania to. Study earth science and mapping he. Was already into web programming, by the time he enrolled in my class. Stephen, had been coding since age 8 when, his family bought an apple 2e and he found a book on basic, programming. Later. He upgraded to, a Tandy, 1000. SX which, he says opened up a whole world of programming, simple, applications. And user interfaces, he. Says he loved the immediate gratification of. Building things with code it, was like engineering, but without the need for raw, materials, for. A time coding, remained a hobby for Steven his academic, interests, centered, on earth science, and mapping. Then. In, 1995. The, US Census, Bureau launched, its Tiger map service, one, of the earliest web mapping services. Even. With his slow, modem, connection, to the Internet Steven, was amazed at the ability, to explore, the Census Bureau's Tiger, lined files and thematic, maps online. Later. In our mapping our changing, world class Steven. Discovered, the United States geological, surveys, digital, rest or graphics, as you. Know dr. G's our topographic. Maps that have been scanned and geo-referenced. That's. When he started to see connections between maps, and computers, as an. Earth scientist, working on the field he'd, always thought of topo, maps as Jay printed, things maps. And the world really, were changing, but. It wasn't until his first job out of college that. Steven got to put these insights, to work. After. Graduation, in 1999. Steven. Found a job in the Washington, DC area as, a policy, analyst, for a firm that was writing groundwater, guidance, documents, for the US Environmental, Protection Agency. Working. At the desk next, to him was Michael Lippmann Mike. Had earned a bachelor's, degree and then a master, of Public Administration and. Environmental Policy at Cornell, a fellowship. At EPA brought, him to DC, where, he later found work as a policy, analyst at the same firm as Steven. The. Co-workers, shared, an interest in the potential of web mapping and an, early Internet map server, technology. Called arc IMS, which, their employer, was just beginning, to experiment, with the. Company sent Mike and Steven to Redlands, for training in the new technology, they, made connections there, that, would serve them well later. Some. Of their employers, government, agency, clients wanted. To begin mapping contaminated. Sites in the US that, provided, Mike and Stevens, first foray, into GIS. Although. Their employer didn't create the National, Institutes, of Health toxmap, shown, here the example, does suggest what an arc IMS, like web, mapping, app, looked. Like in those, days. Steven. And Mike began, to envision how web GIS could be a game-changing. Technology. But. Electronic, maps still, seemed esoteric. To most of their employers, clients, even, Google Maps was still years, in the future and the. Dot-com, boom had recently gone bust it. Would take a while longer before a business model based on web mapping and GIS would. Seem viable, in. 2002. Steven. And Mike took the plunge and founded, blue raster, LLC. In interviews. For this case study Steven, and Mike explained, that the name blue, raster, is meant, to connote the ability, to cap, sure complex, reality. Systematically. And to, represent it simply, in ways, that reveal the meaning, their customers, wish to convey, that's. The value they aim to deliver with, web GIS. Blue. Rosters earliest, contracts, involved, creating web, mapping apps about. Radioactive. Contamination. At research, sites for, the Department, of Energy, the, first of those sites was Brookhaven. National Laboratory. On, Long, Island. Brookhaven. Operated. A high flux, beam reactor. Used, for scientific research, from. 1965. To 1996. According. To the Department, of Energy the reactor. Was decommissioned, in 1996. After tritium. A radioactive. Form of hydrogen, and a byproduct of reactor, operations, was, found in nearby groundwater.
And Who, are energized, to move on to the next level. These. Same traits that prepared Steven and Mike to build a successful business in web GIS are what. We hope you will develop and build upon in your time, with us at Penn, State. You.