Take a break with 1Spatial’s Aled Nicholas

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve worked at 1Spatial for around 2 and a half years now as a Senior Consultant in the Geocortex team. Prior to joining 1Spatial, I started my GIS career in the army where I spent nine years working on various aspects of GIS while gaining my degree in the subject too. Since leaving the army I have worked in GIS roles in local authorities, transport authorities and within subsea cables and oil & gas pipelines.

Fun fact about you?

I once leaned out of an open door of a Hercules aircraft while flying over an active volcano in the South Sandwich Islands (I was, of course, strapped in). This was when I was in the army, I spent six months in the Falkland Islands and volunteered to go on a patrol flight that went over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Even without the volcano, it was a spectacular flight over South Georgia and seeing the sea ice stretch to the horizon nearer the South Sandwich Islands was another incredible sight.

What do you enjoy most about working at 1Spatial?

In one word, I would have to say variety. So, this is the variety of solutions we are providing, ensuring that every project I work on has some new innovative approach. But it can also be the variety of interesting people I get to work with, either working on customer projects or with other teams in 1Spatial.

You are a Senior Consultant in the Geocortex team – what is your favourite Geocortex product and why?

That’s a difficult question really, as it depends on what you want to do. It’s like asking which of your pets are your favourite – publicly you should probably say that you love them all equally. But, to be honest, there are favourites.

Sticking with the pet analogy, I could go with the faithful old lab option of Geocortex Essentials, as it is such an easy way to create web mapping applications and, with the HTML5 viewer, still has to be the most feature rich viewer on the market. The number of out of the box tools that comes as standard allows you to create a fantastic application, and that is even before you start extending it with workflows, reports and print templates.

But I do like shiny new things, so I think I would have to go with the excitable puppy option of Geocortex Access Control. Access Control is so simple to use but can save you bucketloads of time that would be spent trying to replicate what its functionality.

What’s the most interesting data challenge you’ve tackled?

This would probably be working on the Smart Signing, Lighting and Guarding (SmartSLG) project. The aim of this project was to create Traffic Management (TM) Plans which showed where road signs, barriers, cones and temporary traffic lights would be located in the event of road works. Within a workflow, a location would be selected for the road works. Still within the workflow, the base mapping is then analysed and information on speed limits, one-way systems, road names etc are gathered. This is then passed to 1Integrate, where complex calculations on the base mapping’s geometry is carried out (road width, pavement width, distance to traffic signals etc.). All of this information is taken into account and a TM plan is created.

What made this so interesting is that we really were gathering so much information from the data, but also that we were combining all the products that we sell to create a working solution. If even one part of the data changed, it was likely that this would lead to an entirely different layout. It is also a great project that showcases different aspects and unique strengths of 1Spatial products.

How long have you been working with Geocortex?

I first started working with Geocortex in 2012 while working at a local authority. I worked with Geocortex there for a couple of years, before taking a gap of a few years before starting at 1Spatial in 2018.

What do you love about Geocortex?

Really it is just how easy it is to use. The applications that can be created in Geocortex can be, and generally are, produced by GIS users rather than developers.

But even though it can be so simple to use, the applications and tools that can be created using Geocortex are so feature rich and powerful that there are endless possibilities for what Geocortex can be used for.

If you were given an airline ticket to go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Assuming that this is a free ticket, I feel like it would be a waste to say some of the places in Europe that I love. So, I would probably say the ticket would be for Buenos Aires. From there I would head over to Patagonia, to somewhere like El Chalten and enjoy some outdoor activities like climbing, mountain biking and hiking.

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