I’m “stuck” in Waikiki this week at our Honolulu office helping them get back on track with their GIS after our GIS coordinator resigned to join her husband in the peace corps on Tonga. The new GIS person is really excited about GIS and that is always nice to be around. Sometimes even I need my GIS Kool-aid recharged.

Anyway I was hanging out at Duke’s Waikiki and randomly started talking to the group next to me at the bar. Turns out that they are all readers of my blog and have been migrating their GIS from an ESRI only shop to a combination ESRI/open source shop. It was interesting to hear how they were picking and choosing the best products from ESRI and open source to help them better get their work done. What was also interesting is that they didn’t decrease their maintenance costs, but reallocated. They’ve replaced most of their ArcView seats with QGIS, replaced all but one license of ArcSDE with PostGIS and in turn used those savings to buy more licenses of ArcInfo and extensions. They’ve been able to give their high end GIS analysts the tools they feel that they need to get their work done, but still increased their GIS production. Every person at their company has either an ArcInfo or QGIS license on their desk that they can connect to WMS services hosted by MapServer and PostGIS.

I wish I could have spent more time with them talking about this, but they were heading to China in the morning so they needed to get to bed. I liked how they were able to give better tools to everyone by prioritizing what they needed and picked the best tools for the job.