Data czars are passionate about the efficient capture and routing of data throughout any organization. Led by information requirements—not by software tools—they solve data issues at every level. Darron Pustam, MBA, GISP, a visionary leader in data management, shares his strategies and insights in this blog.

Blog Posts

Jack Welch, iconic business leader and transformer said – ‘Strategy means making clear cut choices about how to compete’. In his book ‘Winning’, he explains that the key to success is picking a general direction and implementing the ‘HE- double hockey sticks out of it.  Simply put, if you make a plan and commit to it, it is more likely that it will be accomplished.
Posted by Darron Pustam on Oct 18, 2011 1:36 PM EDT
Posted by Darron Pustam on Oct 18, 2011 1:35 PM EDT
Geography has ascended to an increasingly important role in today’s organizations. Geography enables spatial thinking and establishes the framework that GPS and GIS tools use to mold location into patterns for business critical consumption. The pervasiveness of geographic information however, also allows sticky interaction with core business processes at many organizational levels, as it embeds location into daily operations and workflows.
As a result, simultaneous initiatives to harness the power of GIS surface and can propagate a grassroots approach to an enterprise GIS. This bottoms-up initiative can quickly spin an enterprise GIS’s true evolution into a tangled web, particularly when the ownership and maintenance of now conjoined geographic and enterprise resources are the responsibility of different departments.  At this point, classifying the stage of an enterprise GIS can be overwhelming, considering many organizations maintain pockets of scattered GIS resources.  However, going back to the basic components can help tremendously.
First reassess the people, data, technology, and the processes. Next, scale them to fit the need. For example, the application supports thousands of people; the data is in the terabytes, in multiple locations and hooked into core business applications. Coupling the aforementioned with a strategic alignment to both internal \ external forces of organizational and technological changes, should give a good indication to general health and current direction of the enterprise GIS. It is important to remember that serving GIS in an enterprise capacity requires heightened governance and fundamental adherence to GIS principles and standards within the context of a spatial data infrastructure.
Posted by Darron Pustam on Sep 13, 2011 11:12 AM EDT
Posted by Darron Pustam on Sep 13, 2011 11:11 AM EDT
In the business of quality assurance one requires a meticulous demeanor. From a data quality standpoint - identifying the defects or errors in data is a primary first step. In Quality Is a Decision, I alluded to the abundance of data that is being generated and to the importance of managing that quality from the get go. In this blog I look at a helpful tool to do just that. more...
Posted by Darron Pustam on Jun 12, 2011 2:42 PM EDT
The HB-5005 caused quite a commotion over the last month in Florida, especially amongst the four thousand plus Professional Surveyors and Mappers residing in the state, placing at odds those for and against deregulation.

To capture a deep understanding of the meaning of deregulation, a bold look at the free market is required. In a free market the laws of supply and demand play a fundamental role. Supply indicates what the market can bring. Demand establishes the need. Together they both help establish price, quantity, quality, and competition. It is theorized that these forces move in concert with each other until an equilibrium state is attained. At this point it is believed that satisfaction would be achieved for all participants thus touting the process as fair.

With the establishment of government – for the people, a guiding hand was deemed necessary by some. Meant to ‘protect’ the public by law, essential industries were regulated from negative impacts of ‘Laissez Faire’. This scenario introduced strengths into the market that could trump against existing forces, curtailing market effects as desired. Following ‘The Great Depression’ and the fall of the stock market on Tuesday October 29th 1929,  the government began placing these protections in the form of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and that was just on the financial side of the house! Water, electricity, and communication were part and parcel.

According to, Charles B. Darrow walked into Parker Brothers at the height of the Great Depression in 1934 and showed them the game Monopoly, it went on to become the best selling game in the world. Unfortunately, it is also what happened to the many of the regulated industries.  Yes it is ironic, Alanis Moriseet. Thus, in an effort to rebalance the market, even the odds so to speak - deregulation unhinges the impact of legislation and laws and re-allows the market its freedom.

But, is this the freedom we really need and if not all, how much? Since the removal of Surveying and Mapping from HB-5005 should you rest easy or move to strengthen your commitment to the profession?

A copy of the PCS for HB-5005 can be found on the Florida Surveying & Mapping Society website.
Posted by Darron Pustam on Apr 7, 2011 1:54 PM EDT
The New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors (NYSAPLS) 52nd Annual Surveyors Conference and Exhibition was held Wednesday 19th through Friday 21st of January 2011 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.  The conference was exceptionally hosted and despite the snow storms and economic backdrop – was well attended.  Courses included Environment and Ethical Issues in Land Development, An Introduction to the new 2011 ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey Standards, Future of the National Spatial Reference System as well as CST Exams and much more.  On the GIS front, Point of Beginning’s July2010 Issue – Data and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster sparked interest into the inner workings of GIS within a disaster setting. As a result the course was keenly recommended as a continuing education credited session for the conference by Jennifer Mauer, NYSAPLS Director.

Presenting this course to an audience of surveyors, planners, and attorneys, engineers and GIS professionals of varying levels of GIS expertise was particularly challenging. Participants needed to appreciate the value of GIS, while understanding how the National Incident Management System (NIMS) fueled the coordination of efforts during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The course was divided into three main parts in order to deliver on that goal. Participants were first re-introduced to components of a GIS: hardware, software, data, people, and process.  Each component contained a reflection on the past, a flash forward to today, and what one could expect under similar emergency response circumstances. Secondly, the class was introduced to NIMS, its history, structure, certifications, and how these GIS components functioned under its umbrella. The third segment integrated both GIS and NIMS into a personal experience of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Then, after an enthusiastic question and answer session, the attendees were able to visibly identify each GIS component and gain an appreciation for the purpose of NIMS. Participants left the session knowing what they can expect if they themselves were called on to support an emergency response effort.

Since the conference, Arkansas Society of Professional Surveyors (ASPS) among others have expressed their interest in the course. If your organization is interested in presenting Deepwater Horizon - The GIS Response, please feel free to contact me at
Posted by Darron Pustam on Feb 7, 2011 7:10 PM EST

Note: The views expressed in the blogs and associated comments are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of POB.

Most Recent Blog Posts

In my last post, I setup my ideal organization into Production, Management, and Consulting divisions. Each segment can exist as a business in its own right and I will detail my ideal methods for dealing with each in their separate posts. The first one to be addressed is where everything starts: Production. Ever since its inception, surveyors have dealt with spatial data as sets of discrete points that represent a given region. This is still the best option in boundary surveying, but for anything else modern technologies offer a better solution. Specifically instead of building a dataset point by point, it is a better solution to capture the region via remote sensing like close range photogrammetry and terrestrial and aerial LiDAR. The two biggest hurdles to implementing these methods are their increased complexity and cost. more...
Posted by Andrew Gaiennie on Cyborg Surveying and You Feb 20, 2012 9:44 PM EST
This year the 53rd Annual New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors held their conference in the beautiful city of Saratoga Springs, NY.  A stroll down Broadway Avenue transports you back in time as downtown enthralls you with its snowy historic architectural locale. more...
Posted by Darron Pustam on The Data Czar Jan 16, 2012 2:30 PM EST

Recent Comments

I'm glad you could participate. I only go the invite the day before so did not get into the loop. I think the importance, not only GIS, but in being able to talk the lingo is very important. I've posted the links several times on the old POB board to the free training classes offered by FEMA on NIMS and other disaster related topics. It's important to be ab...
The problem with developing life cycles for any technology is that the technology changes very rapidly. As far as GIS goes, we can see there will always be a need for geographic information. Even the user profile is unlikely to change substantially. Specific focuses will change along with the trends that drive them. But the data will not change in any prof...