Jump to content

 
Photo

Google, Inc. announces Sketchup Build Your Campus in 3D Competition


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

I didn't see this anywhere in CartoTalk as of yet. VERY interesting news for those of us who work with higher education and offer Sketchup as a design service related to campus mapping. ;)

http://contest.sketchup.com/entry.php
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#2
CHART

CHART

    Chart

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 358 posts
  • No Country Selected

Derek,

I assume your team will participate. So a 'best of luck' is in order.
Chart

#3
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

Jacques,

Actually the competition is only open to students, so we're just an interested bystander in this one. We WILL keep tabs on the finalists though, as that might be a PERFECT opportunity to find an intern and/or add some additional talent to our team.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
Jean-Louis

Jean-Louis

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montreal Quebec
  • Interests:In the vast ocean of my ignorance, I have a few bubbles of interests
  • Canada

Derek

I find myself a little worried that one of my potential base of clients ie campuses, are basically told that they can now obtain campus maps for free at least that it is something that any student can do. I am presently courting a university for a campus map and I am concerned. During the years, I am sure you had to educate a lot of people who naively beleived that a good pictorial map was something that 'any computer could do'. Of course my sales pitch is that I would provide them with something more that a straight google-earth type of rendition but still I am afraid that this will further lessen the perception of value....Whats your take on this?
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#5
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

Jean-Louis,

This probably sounds a little "cliche", but good design work will always have a customer base....be it vector, raster, hand-rendered, SketchUp/3DStudioMax, cartoon-style illustrations, etc. We all would be kidding ourselves if we did not think that SketchUp will syphon a bit of design work away from those other styles in the coming years! However, I also remember hearing people in 1993-1994 say that the personal computer was going to be the "death of mapping" at the drafting table.....and in 2006, our hand-rendered designs generated the second largest percentage of revenue for our firm.

Rather than focus on the threats that SketchUp might pose for our other pre-existing mapping styles, I prefer to focus on the opportunities that it will likely present. A *LOT* of those "do it yourself" projects will not be designed or completed to a level that a collegiate institution will feel are worthy to be placed in front of the general public. SOMEONE is going to have to either:

- help those institutions polish/finish their .skp files to a level suitable for sharing with constituents, and/or
- help them pick up the pieces and develop a more-traditional style of map design if they are unsatisfied with the appearance and legibility of their .skp graphics.

Someone ALSO will need to help institutions develop suitable print and signage (non-electronic kiosk) versions of their interactive content (not a current strength of the SketchUp product), either polishing the static raster output from SketchUp (adding in iconography and text overlays) or developing complimentary "static" designs. Either way, I plan to have our firm waiting at the door...arms open wide, ready to help any of those institutions who are wanting/needing assistance. :)

I actually still kind of enjoy having the "apple cart knocked over" in our industry from time to time, as "chaos" or "change" is one of the absolute BEST times to gain new market share and new clients from other firms who cannot or will not adapt to a changing marketplace. There are two main ways to increase revenue within one's firm:

1. Increase the size of one's slice of the pie (percentage of industry market share).
2. Increase the size of the pie (overall sales within the industry).

I think what Google is doing will eventually INCREASE the amount of revenue to be made within campus map design (#2), as it will create a "keeping up with the Jones' effect" within higher education.....and for every one "do it yourself" institution out there, there will be at least 2-3 who won't want the hassle/headache to have to try and learn SketchUp to build and maintain their own imagery. That's a BIG reason why we added a Google SketchUp trainer to our design team around 18 months ago....as we want to be ready when that scenario starts to present itself.

I think the key is flexibility and not having all of our eggs in one basket. That, and doing what you're already doing: offering a unique, interesting, quality product and then targeting specific prospective clients who are likely consumers of that product.

Derek
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#6
Mike H

Mike H

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 168 posts
  • Location:State College, PA
  • United States

I feel that regardless of the big industry decisions concerning software design, data access, DIY mapping ala GoogleEarth - the designer/client relationship remains on a different level of engagement. I'm always happy when anything having to do with maps/GIS makes headlines, because it serves to create awareness among a massive population sample. It increases map literacy, which by default has people questioning thier current maps effectiveness.

Granted, the soundbite rarely suggests the intrinsic difficulties faced by real map designers in delivering a top-shelf product, but even if the public perception is "look what they can do with computers now" we can all hope the final message is "We need a new map".

Design competitions are always welcome! Anytime I find excellent examples of map design I try to pass them along to interested parties. After seeing the advanced data-driven webmaps at NACIS Madison I sent those links to my universities administration as a 'best practice' example. (That was UMadison and UOregon). I don't even have a clue how to do programming work like that, but if I can stimulate the concept within my university administration, they *may* decide to step up and explore a redesign.

Anytime the public begins to question the existing map product they have in use, it benefits all of us who have an opportunity to work with a new client. The fear of print map obsolecence was voiced when mapquest launched, and it never happenned - and with exciting new tools like Google I think it only creates more opportunities for all.

m.
Michael Hermann
mike [at] purplelizard.com


www.purplelizard.com

#7
Jean-Louis

Jean-Louis

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montreal Quebec
  • Interests:In the vast ocean of my ignorance, I have a few bubbles of interests
  • Canada

A neo-luddite's grumbling :huh:

I agree with pretty much everything that Derek and Mike have said. In fact, I have often found myself saying the exact same thing over the years

But despite the 'soundbite', I must admit that I do have private thoughts which I rarely express. I am just being philosophical here and voicing to my peers some things that I do not say publicly. They do not contradict what you say they simply add nuance to it.

The fact remains that in my experience I have not found that the whole digital technology revolution made my life or my work more lucrative or easier. It was a horizontal rather than a vertical change

I get excited like everbody else when a new gimmick comes out. Sure, I totally appreciate for instance that I can e-mail jpgs of artwork in progress instantly to clients but there was a time when I did not need to. There was a time when clients expected to pay (or wait) for a lot of things that they now expect instantly and for free. Over the years, I ended up simply passing on the improvements in efficiency or time or quality to the clients because there was a raising of expectations. This may be good for the economy and the industry as a whole but in my life it has meant that I now deliver more work for less money. In the 1970?s, my actual hourly revenue from now-embarassingly cheesy artwork on advertizing maps was, I believe, higher than it is now even though my quality and service are far superior.

Technology may be lucrative if it gives you an edge on everybody else but I have never been on the cutting edge. Despite my public posturing, I have to admit that I am not really an innovator, I just follow the trends in innovation. I ?m probably going to have to put in a lot of time to learn and master Sketchup for instance. There is a certain amount of fun and excitement in that but that time will not be billed. I agree with Derek and Mike when they say this will create more of a market of people who will need to update their maps and probably more people that can afford to do so. But the bottom-line for me as an individual freelance, will likely continue to be more investment and delivering more for less.

The true increase in value has been my growing experience and skill not the technology. And sometimes the technology hype causes the public to become more blind to the improved skill as when I have people look at a 1000 hour map and say: ?My kid does this in SimCity?. Also despite my staary-eyed cant about globalisation, I hope there will not come a time when I have to compete with an army of offshore map artists working at Chinese rates like friends in some other industries have.

It all balances out in the end. but that is exactly my point to people who get excited about technological innovations: It all balances out.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#8
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

The fact remains that in my experience I have not found that the whole digital technology revolution made my life or my work more lucrative or easier. It was a horizontal rather than a vertical change


EXCELLENT comment, Jean-Louis! I think that is a very accurate assessment for all of us, at least on a "macro" level. However, every change in an industry (new software, economic boom/recession, 9/11, etc.) will result it "micro" gains and losses. Those who best anticipate or capitalize upon change will reap the largest rewards. Earnings within an industry might not change much as a whole, but the individual firms within an industry can experience WILD fluctuations as the result of stimuli/input.

I think about the example of the campus map design "industry" as a whole. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Perspecto Map Company WAS "campus mapping". They were the "Microsoft" of our tiny little industry. Then, the owner of the company died, and his successor (his daughter, I believe) decided that they were going to do things "the way they had always been done" (what worked for their former owner) in the midst of the coming of age of the personal computer within campus map design. Pretty soon, Sherry Erb (Sketches, etc.), Bob North (North Illustrations) and other quality designers came on to the scene.....and saw (and exploited) several of the competitive disadvantages resulting from Perspecto's "do it the way it has always been done" response to a changing industry. Perspecto subsequently witnessed a slow but steady decline in their market share while Sherry and Bob grew into extremely formidable competitors.

Then, in 1999-2000, a small start-up named "tonnhaus design" came on the scene....using the "dot-com" business model/philosophy along with the practice of completing all of their vector projects remotely without ever setting foot on a client's campus (cost-savings to client). Within 4-5 years, tonnhaus evolved to the point where it merged with/acquired North Illustrations, Jack's River Communications and other one-person shops.....bringing their successful business model in vector to other styles of design, and growing into one of the largest firms in the industry (along with Sketches, whose work I have admired for years).

Over the past seven years, I have spent over 21,000 hours and $300,000 to try and build our firm into one that will be the "Perspecto" of the campus mapping industry for the foreseeable future. A BIG part of being able to do that is spotting up-and-coming trends and technologies like SketchUp a year or two before they come crashing on to shore and positioning our firm to be able to capitalize on it.....doing what one can to avoid "doing things the way they have always been done" and opening the door to the next start-up to come in and take large chunks of market share in the process.

My "blessing" AND "curse" in life is that I am never comfortable in how things are.....never able to sit back, relax and rest on my laurels. If there's an hour or two to kill, I'm sending email.....researching competitors......tracking web site statistics, etc. I'm too paranoid that, if I "let off the gas" for even a week or two, I'm going to open the door just a crack for someone to make my job/mission harder to accomplish down the road. I've just seen too many GOOD companies become a shell of their former selves because they did not see change on the horizon and/or were not willing/able to adapt to it.

Maybe after my two girls are off to college I can let off the gas a bit? :) With things such as Google is doing with SketchUp though, the next 3-5 years will be absolutely CRITICAL to those of us in custom cartography to either "ride that wave" or plan our alternate responses to the industry shift that is coming....AND IT IS COMING. :)
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#9
Jean-Louis

Jean-Louis

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montreal Quebec
  • Interests:In the vast ocean of my ignorance, I have a few bubbles of interests
  • Canada

With things such as Google is doing with SketchUp though, the next 3-5 years will be absolutely CRITICAL to those of us in custom cartography to either "ride that wave" or plan our alternate responses to the industry shift that is coming.


Derek

Good points. I got the idea of what you said as soon as I saw your website. You seem to have applied the right business model and the right attitude
For my part, I think I will further specialize by developing a different type of map style for something like campus maps. ?something that looks different from a Sketch-up 3-D. In any event, I will keep you posted
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->