Below you'll find an article in our local paper from Journalist Cheryl Wolfe of the Pantagraph papers in Bloomington, Illinois. She did a fantastic job and we wanted to include her article in our blog as a "Thanks!".
(Reprinted with Permission)
Cloudpoint Geographics moves to new office
Hodel plans open house
ROANOKE—These days, Jon Hodel often has his head in the clouds and is always thinking higher.
When office space for his growing business, Cloudpoint Geographics, Inc. got too small, Hodel started looking for something bigger. He found it, just a block away in the building that formerly housed Dr. Michael Meier’s dental office.
A building with several smaller rooms might not fit the needs of most businesses, but for Hodel and his employees, it was literally a godsend.
“This office has been a perfect fit for us,” Hodel said of the building. “The Lord provided for us; we couldn’t have asked for a better fit.”
Hodel said it was getting crowded in his old office on Main Street, but now all employees have their own space, in addition to a conference room and a kitchenette. And, the move kept Hodel’s business in his hometown, just where he wants it to be. There was a time when Hodel was thinking of re-locating to another town because he could not get enough high speed Internet service in Roanoke, a service that is vital to his business. But he recently found a way to get by with the service in place.
“We don’t have fiber yet due to the cost, but we’re using the Amazon cloud, and we’re getting by for now,” Hodel said. “We have seen increased efficiency, and cost savings came into play.”
Most people don’t really understand the kind of work Hodel does unless they are very technologically savvy. Hodel is a licensed professional engineer and certified Geographic Information System (GIS) professional. His business started with him, by himself in an office with a laptop, and grew to where it is today with one part-time and five full-time employees. Their work includes GIS mapping for government utilities and public works and asset management, among other projects. Simply put, they make maps, Hodel said. But the maps are not simple.
GIS maps are detailed and made using satellite technology. They allow clients to visualize, question, analyze and interpret data to better understand patterns and trends, as well as what is happening in geographic space. They are also valuable in creating and maintaining more accurate records.
There is a growing interest and awareness of the economic value of GIS. It can be used to manage assets, such as the life expectancy of streetlights or to schedule garbage truck routes to maximize efficiency in fuel and labor. Cloudpoint performs both small jobs and big ones, like a utility mapping job in Mendota that has taken all summer.
These descriptions are only a fraction of the work that Cloudpoint is capable of doing, and they barely scratch the surface of what will be available in the future. Hodel said drones will be used as a powerful commercial tool in the future pinpointing a number of things, from agriculture applications to other commercial uses. He plans to be a part of that technology as it is implemented.
”We’re really excited about the new technology drones will bring,” Hodel said. “It’s fascinating. I really enjoy new things. It’s the engineer coming out in me.”
Hodel said he hopes to hire a licensed pilot to work with drones in the future to create another arm of his business.
The work of Cloudpoint Geographics is far above most of the public’s head, so getting his name out and helping others learn about the services he provides to gain new business is sometimes challenging.
“We find we do a lot of door knocking, and use our web presence,” Hodel said. “Most of our business comes from referrals or face-to-face marketing.”
Hodel wants to do a little face-to-face marketing with the people of Roanoke where he has lived most of his life. He has invited them to come see his new office during an Open House, on Friday, Oct. 2, from 4-6 p.m. He will be glad to explain some of the fascinating aspects of his work to anyone who is interested. And, he wants everyone to know how much he enjoys his new office in Roanoke.
“We’re really happy to be here,” Hodel said.