Leaving a legacy: Preventing the loss of Tribal Data.

By havingn long time staff members update infrastructure mapping with precise GPS units, an organization can ensure their employees work is documented for future generations.

By havingn long time staff members update infrastructure mapping with precise GPS units, an organization can ensure their employees work is documented for future generations.

As employees accumulate years on the job, they begin to build up an internal database of information.  A common term for this is Tribal Knowledge. This is a fantastic resource for an organization which can cut down time and save money.  However, eventually all employees leave. Whether they retire, take a new job elsewhere, or they are let go, they will all move on in one way or the other. So the question is, is your organization working to document the tremendous amount data that your long time employees have internally?  If so, great! If not, it may be time to start thinking about this.

Anybody in a management role can think of at least one team member that fits this category. Now ask yourself, "What am I going to do when he/she retires in 3 years?" Would your organization be ready to keep moving forward, building upon their work? This is the issue many organizations are dealing with on a daily basis. By implimenting a Geographic Information System (GIS), your organization can begin to collect and document a majority of that tribal knowledge before it is lost.

The threat of a potential loss of tribal knowledge is a real and a common issue.  Another common issue is the hesitation of long time, often not computer savvy, employees to be willing to learn and use new technologically-driven tools.  I can tell you from experience that most employees, even the most hesitant, are able to grasp the easy to use tools and most often they find it very satisfying.  By using either a GPS unit or an iPad that is running the Esri Collector application,  long time employees can document their work in order to preserve it for future generations. Treat it, if you will, as their Masterpiece.  A culmination of a lifetime of work and dedication.

A great start to documenting the knowledge of a long time employee is to have them mark up a map with the locations of features that they have worked on before.

A great start to documenting the knowledge of a long time employee is to have them mark up a map with the locations of features that they have worked on before.


Once the map is marked up, you can bring it into the GIS and use it for field verification and locating features to be shot with a GPS.

Once the map is marked up, you can bring it into the GIS and use it for field verification and locating features to be shot with a GPS.

When an employee's time at a job can be measured in decades instead of years, they develop a sense of pride in what they do.  At that point they're not just another cog in the machine, they are the engine. Constantly driving projects in the right direction. Always the go-to expert on how to do things and where infrastructure is. They retained information that was taught to them 30+ years ago by their predecessor and their successor will do the same.

 

Now consider this. If you have a GIS in place and can start documenting the system that you know better than anyone, you can leave behind a tangible legacy of you and your team's work and expertise.  We are in the midst of a geospatial revolution with new user friendly technology that allows us to document geographic features more precisely than ever before, and your long time employees can lead the way. By documenting the tremendous wealth of information of your crew, your organization can lay the foundation to build on for the next 100+ years

 

Contact us for more information for converting Tribal Information into digital archives

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