Esri User Conference 2022 Recap

The Esri User Conference 2022 wrapped up last week and it was the first in person User Conference since 2019. Some of our team members attended the conference in San Diego and also presented at a breakout session with our incredible partners Waveguide and GeoCam. If you’re on the fence about making an investment in this – or any – user conference, here are 3 highlights that should help you make the decision to be part of the action:

There is no better way to see how others are using the tool and to share best practices.

Think you know everything there is to know about using ArcGIS Pro? Think again! Whether it’s learning sessions facilitated by Esri team members, breakout sessions facilitated by successful customers or visiting with exhibitors at the expo, there is plenty to learn at this 3-day user conference.

In the telecom space, fiber management solutions was a hot topic this year. Finding solutions that satisfy the needs of internal teams as well as teams in the field is critical to project success. Just one a-ha or new nugget of information can be a game changer and this an event where that can and does happen regularly.

The networking opportunities are unparalleled.

Consider yourself an introvert and don’t really dig networking? You’re not alone! Luckily Esri has a strong Partner channel that communicates regularly with customers and that’s the perfect “jumping off point” for anyone attending this user conference and hoping to have networking success. At a minimum, connect with your “people” at Esri and make sure they are aware that you would like to engage in some fruitful networking which at the event. They will facilitate some introductions and then, as networking, tends to go, things take off from there.

The potential partnership opportunities are incredible.

Are there other companies in the Esri ecosystem who “do what you do”? No doubt. Believe it or not, there are often collaboration opportunities with those companies.

Are there companies in the Esri ecosystem who do something that would be a great enhancement to your services? For sure – and this is where you can make connections and further explore ways to partner and create an even better experience for your clients.

If you think of your business development and ultimately your potential revenue streams as a pie chart, consider this:


Then consider this:

Diversification of leads and business? Yes please! Plus, what this graph doesn’t illustrate is that you will not be doing 50% less of what you’re already doing, you will potentially do 50% more thanks to the new opportunities that attending and being fully engaged in the Esri User Conference can bring.

It goes without saying that we are advocates of carving out time and budget to attend the Esri User Conference. We get out of it every ounce of time, money, and effort that we put into it and more. We hope all customers feel the same because all of our clients benefit from all of us being the best we can be in our business.

Have questions about our experience at Esri User Conference 2022? Please be in touch!


Meet The Team: Marie Overing, Geospatial Engineer

This article original appeared in our quarterly email newsletter. Not receiving our newsletter? Click here to sign up!

From the beginning, our company has offered 5 core services that meet the needs of the clients we work with. We have always had a development helping to solve problems using apps and tools and in the last year or so the department has grown significantly to meet the development needs that we have internally as well as our clients face out in the field.

Currently led by Taylor McMaster, the team includes Thomas MattimiroSam Szotkowski, Marie Overing and Wessley Kidau. We had a chance to interview Marie recently to learn more about what’s exciting in the world of GIS web development for telecom…

Tell us about you and how you landed at Millennium Geospatial…

I’m from the Netherlands and attended University in Ohio. I was alwasys interested in maps but when I took my first (ever) computer science class during college, I was hooked on programming and I eventually discovered GIS which was the “missing piece” for me when it came to mapping data because I’m a visual person. I got a Masters in GIS at University of Wisconsin and joined the MGS team shortly after that.

You worked in GIS prior to joining the team and the work you did wasn’t telecom related. Since you have unique experience using GIS in other industries, what have you enjoyed doing the most?

I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed working on the MGS development team the most because I’m able to utilize my programming skillset in addition to GIS to solve problems/create apps and tools. I also enjoy being part of a team that’s solving for the complex issues around getting Internet to more households around the world.  

What advice do you have to those interested in this field?

There is a lot of opportunity and if you are willing to work hard and learn, there is a lot you can do in the GIS space.

Marie Overing is a Geospatial Engineer at Millennium Geospatial. She has a passion for coding, maps, golf and Lacrosse. Connect with Marie on LinkedIn.

Ethan Fenelon, Certified Drone Pilot

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

In our business, we spend a great deal of time sharpening our Esri saw. Our team member Ethan Fenelon not only does that every day, he recently became a certified drone pilot. This is as big a deal as it sounds, and Ethan was kind enough to take some time and break it down for us recently:

What certification do you have?

-FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. It’s also known as FAA Certified UAS Pilot, Remote Pilot Certificate and Certified Drone Pilot.

What organization did you get the certification from?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

What can you do that those of us without this certification can’t?

I can now operate a drone/UAS commercially. You legally have to have a license to operate a drone for business purposes.

What did you like about the training?

There is no required class you need to take for this certificate so you have many different options for how to learn the material. The most common option for preparing is to purchase online video classes. Many different sites provide the same kind of training that you can sign up for and it is all self paced. I took an Unmanned Aerial Systems class at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse when I was attending there last Spring where I learned all of these materials online. The course work focused more on flying the drones and processing the imagery but we were still tested on the training weekly. This class opened up my eyes to drones in the workforce and I hope to use them more in the future.

Was obtaining this credential challenging? If yes, what was challenging about it?

I anticipated it would be challenging, but it was a little more challenging than I was expecting. I would consider myself new to most of this information with airspace so it was a little overwhelming to learn. There are a lot more rules in the sky than I anticipated, which isn’t a bad thing. Learning about airspaces, sectional charts, METARs and TAFs were my biggest struggles.

Do you have to ever renew/update your credentials?

The certificate lasts 2 years. I am able to complete some continuing education training online that will keep my certificate up to date.

What are some GIS applications that require or are enhanced by using a drone?

Drones can be used to generate 3D point clouds, basemaps and can be used in other remote sensing practices. Drones are often used to survey hazardous areas and at lower costs. These are just some things that come to mind with the use of drones in GIS.

Congrats on your accomplishment, Ethan!

Interested in learning more about how we can use drone technolology to enhance your current or future projects? Please be in touch!

Partner Spotlight: An Interview With Myles Sutherland From GeoCam

This partner spotlight with Myles Sutherland from GeoCam originally appeared in our quarterly email newsletter. Not receiving our newsletter? Click here to sign up!

Kevin Maes: Can you share more about your vision for GeoCam?

Myles Sutherland: Our vision is to help organizations save time, creating efficient processes to work from accurate, current 3D geospatial data. We imagined an approach using simple GNSS enabled cameras and Intelligent Image processing that would allow us to scale up data services anywhere in the world.Our team comes from the geospatial, imagery, and gaming industries, so we were well versed in the complexities that come with using low accuracy smart devices with big teams or in using laser scanning equipment that requires a lot of capital to scale and skills to operate.

We boiled the challenge down to going from sensor to geodatabase as fast as possible to support organizations looking to design, build, and operate infrastructure across city, utility, and commercial real estate markets. What gets us excited is seeing organizations and their teams get excited about applying intelligent imagery and geospatial data to their workflows, that in the past was out of reach or too daunting to dive into.

Today, we speak more about creating Geospatial Digital Twins helping map, measure, and model complex structures like Utility networks and the various components that go into operating them. This is a 3D problem … no more 2D mapping.

KM: Technology wise, GeoCam is making game changing shifts to how wireless and fiber can be executed and managed. How do you see that impacting or potentially impacting the telecom industry and your business model?

MS: One of the big benefits is being able to optimize the field work and allow staff to work on more complex critical aspects of a project rather than taking multiple trips to collect data or validate data from previous visits. We believe that high quality data can be collected really early in a project’s development that carries with it a lot of downstream value.

Today, we can image a city to support an initial design, creating a smarter design. Downstream as the project is being developed the same imagery can be applied to creating precise data to support the construction process. In fact this isn’t a belief … it’s what we are doing working with your team and why we’re excited to help wireless and fiber companies build faster and more efficiently.

KM: What’s been the biggest surprise to you related to the broadband/Internet industry in recent years?

MS: Well I am a Geographer, so learning about the industry has been really fun. I try to relate everything back to a map helping me visualize what the network is, where it is, and how it’s being used. Once you start thinking about the 5G wireless on the street, in buildings, the fiber backhaul, and of course my favorite the microwave networks it really hits home how connected we are and how complex the networks are. Someone showed me the microwave network for Los Angeles in 3D … blew my mind to think about all these links providing redundancy to not just my phone, but the public safety organizations needing to communicate and collaborate.

One of my good friends taught me that there is no wireless without wires. That woke me up to thinking more about where the real costs are and how we could help the process of building these networks. We are not only working on OSP use cases, but also ISP. In buildings this is a really complex challenge esp as we start to think more about the cyber security aspects to the network and the other services that layer onto the networks, including indoor positioning.

KM: What do you think the industry will look like in 5 years?

MS: Well I am still learning a lot about it so I’m not sure I have a valuable opinion! I do hope we have more distributed, equal access to information. Speed is everything and anytime we can access information quicker than before we figure out how to leverage it. It seems to me that it should be everyone’s right to have a base level of access. As we roll out faster cellular networks this is going to be a big challenge. The work being done in partnership with cities and townships on neutral host networks is fascinating to track.

Myles Sutherland is the Founder of GeoCam, a Geographer and a proud Kiwi. Prior to launching his startup he worked for nearly a decade at Esri working with startups. Connect with Myles on LinkedIn.

Interested in reading another interview with an industry expert? Click here for the interview we did with Rebecca Denman from Holtger Bros., Inc.!

PRESS RELEASE: Millennium Geospatial Earns Release Ready Specialty From Esri

Kevin Maes
Millennium Geospatial

Millennium Geospatial Earns Release Ready Specialty From Esri

GIS consulting firm recognized for industry expertise and software specialization

Madison, Wisconsin: Earlier this month, Millennium Geospatial was awarded the Release Ready Specialty from Esri.

“Our team is committed to bringing the best ArcGIS knowledge in the marketplace to our clients and having the opportunity to achieve this specialty from Esri has been a win for our clients, our company, and for Esri,” said Kevin Maes, VP of Engineering at Millennium Geospatial.

According to the Esri website: “Partners in the Release Ready Specialty offer industry expertise along with solutions,services or content using the latest ArcGIS products. As early adopters of Esri software releases, these partners are leaders and ready to help you leverage the newest capabilities.”

“Access to the training and development opportunities offered to Esri Partners has been a phenominal opportunity for our team,” said Taylor McMaster, Director of Technology at Millennium Geospatial. “It’s one thing to know that you can use the tool and quite another to demonstrate your abilities and have them reviewed and validated directly by the software company. This collaboration is what sets the Esri Partner program apart form many other partnerships.”

Millennium Geospatial has been an Esri Silver Partner since 2019.

About Millennium Geospatial: Established in 2019, Millennium Geospatial was developed to work in partnership with Broadband Service Providers, Telecommunication Construction Companies and Engineering Consultants to address their Data, Engineering, & Project Management needs with custom created field applications, dashboards, and data integration. With project experience in 40 of the 50 states as well as Canada, the Millennium Geospatial team has a deep understanding of the business challenges that their clients experience. Millennium Geospatial has positioned itself to work with their clients to provide GIS solutions that are unique to the needs of the client’s project and overall company goals.

For media, training, or other service inquiries, Contact Us.

5 Reasons The Time Is Ripe To Become A FISP

Wispapalooza is going on this week and that got us thinking about the “WISP to FISP” topic even more than usual.

When we create educational content to share on our website, we have extensive discussions so our writers understand what we’re trying to convey. These discussions are incredibly valuable and often evolve our topic from what we originally intended.

Interestingly, in today’s landscape, we’re finding that WISP and FISP do not necessarily need to be two separate business models.

If you’re a WISP, the time is ripe to consider becoming a FISP but fear not, this is probably not a “get rid of what we we’re doing completely and invest in all new stuff” sort of thing. A hybrid path is very often the route to success. We have seen it dozens of times with our own clients. With this in mind, here are 5 reasons the time is ripe to become a FISP:

Adding Fiber To Your Business Model Allows For Growth and Competetiveness In The Marketplace

When you are strictly operating within the WISP business model, towers are what make the Internet magic happen. Towers have their limitations in terms of coverage area and also speed when the tower is servicing many customers. Towers also need to be maintained – sometimes a lot.

WISPs that are adding fiber to their model are taking what’s worked for them and their customers up to this point and growing to establish longevity in the market and meet the wildly high demand for Internet – and preferably fast Internet.

Access To Grants, Loans and Other Financing

Federal grants are what typically make headlines, but remember that there are a wealth of grants at the county and State levels as well. Traditional financing is an option as well as options like our parent company Millennium is offering through the Millennium Infrastructure Fund.

Why does this point make the list? For one, a fiber investment is expensive and the other reason is that Covid indirectly exposed how lacking Internet is in many areas of the US so there is a new level of interest in financing these projects.

Business Evolution

The reality of our times is this: keep up with the market or someone else will.  Interested in still being competetive in your marketplace 25 years from now? Investing in fiber is inevitable. If you are interested in growth, fiber is inevitable. Is speed your thing? Well then fiber is inevitable. If you want to expand your customer base or even just simply retain your customers…say it with us: fiber is inevitable.

As we said earlier, a total business model overhaul is not necessarily required, but expanding the vision is likely needed for WISPs to be in it for the long haul.

Fast Is The Future

If you want to know what consumers think of their Internet options these days, go to any small town in America and ask someone. Anyone. They will likely all say the same thing: The Internet is too slow around here.

Think about it: Netflix (and all the other subscription based streaming options) is our modern day cable or sataillite television. Slow Internet means good luck streaming. If that doesn’t seem all that important to you, consider kids who can’t do their homework or participate in school if it requires being online, watching a video or livestream, uploading homework, and the list goes on.

Bandwidth Is The Future

Remember when we paid for long distance phone calls by the minute? At .25/minute, we kept our conversations short and sweet or we paid dearly. The same is true with Internet. People want/expect/demand access to unlimited bandwidth. Gone are the days of people paying for data caps because “that’s just how it is”. Technology has brought us to a place where it no longer has to be this way, and companies that are meeting this consumer need will come out the winners of people’s hard earned dollars.

Demand for fast Internet is at a fever pitch at this moment in history. Do what’s best for your company, but whatever you do, don’t stick with what you’re doing simply because “this is how we’ve always done it”.

If you have questions about a potential FISP project, feel free to reach out to us!

Partner Spotlight: An Interview With Rebecca Denman of Holtger Bros., Inc.

This partner spotlight with Rebecca Denman from Holtger Bros., Inc. originally appeared in our quarterly email newsletter. Not receiving our newsletter? Click here to sign up!

Kevin Maes: Holtger Bros. has been a full service OSP utility contractor for many years. What were you/the company seeing in the marketplace that planted the company firmly within telecom in recent years?

Rebecca Denman: Yes, HBI has been a key player in this industry for 75 years! We have seen some ups and downs in overall work opportunity, but that has shifted in the last several years. As bandwidth and data needs have increased, the industry has had to transition to a more fiber-based network to support these needs; resulting in more infrastructure to be built and maintained. Essentially, with the increased demands in the industry and the level of experience our team has to offer, HBI has been able to build and maintain some great long term business relationships with our customers!

KM: Are you seeing more design build requests where the clients are asking the construction company to do the engineering and if so, do you see that trend continuing in the future?

RD: A few of our clients are focusing on this turnkey method for their build requests, but overall, we are still seeing the majority of any design builds being led by engineering firms, or by the engineers on staff with our clients. It really seems to depend on the variables and who the client is.

KM: What do you think the industry will look like in 5 years?

RD: I expect that this industry will continue to thrive over the next 5 years, as we are in the infancy of these fiber builds right now. With the continued increase in bandwidth demands there will be a need for more areas to increase their fiber footprint. We are seeing a tremendous amount of fiber work being deployed nationally through the different broadband grants, in addition to the more localized “non-funded” builds. At this point, we don’t see this slowing down anytime soon, which is great for all of us!

Rebecca has led the marketing efforts at Holtger Bros., Inc. for over 15 years. A few of her key accomplishments in this role include significantly increasing company sales since 2005 through the establishment of high impact marketing plans and strategies for business development programs and enhancing company revenue on contracts by negotiating higher market pricing through effective strategy implementation. Connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn.

Interested in reading another interview with an industry expert? Click here for the interview we did with Terry Rubenthaler from Midwest Energy Communications!

Creating Feature Classes In ArcGIS Pro

Have you ever Googled: How to _________?

Has anyone ever not done that?

Our team works with a lot of technology. In our business, the software we work with most frequently is ArcGIS Pro from Esri. This is a tool that’s…robust. A new user can quickly be left thinking: Where do I begin? How do I __________?

We’re Here To Help!

ArcGIS Pro by EsriTeam member Adam Schreiner recently created a short, easy to follow video walking a viewer through the process of creating feature classes in ArcGIS Pro:

Interested in learning more from our team? Check out our growing help video library on our YouTube channel where you will find this video on creating feature classes in ArcGIS Pro as well as many more. Pro tip: Subscribe to the page so you never miss new content!

Interested in learning how to build a map in ArcGIS Online and open it in ArcGIS Pro? Click here to learn how!

How To Build A Map In ArcGIS Online and Open In ArcGIS Pro

Have you ever Googled: How to _________?

Has anyone ever not done that?

Our team works with a lot of technology. In our business, the tech we work with most frequently is ArcGIS Pro from Esri. This is a tool that’s…robust. A new user can quickly be left thinking: Where do I begin? How do I __________?

Team member Justin Neustaetter recently created a short, easy to follow video walking a viewer through the process of building a map in ArcGIS and opening it in ArcGIS Pro:

Interested in learning more from our team? Check out our growing help video library on our YouTube channel! Pro tip: Subscribe to the page so you never miss new content!

Here We Go: Team MGS Is “Hiking” The Appalachian Trail!

We recently shared details about the Ascent Plan that we’re currently working on. One of the initiatives is to create a Team Member Wellness Program. While a fully formed program remains a work in progress, as we create it we are mindful of two important points:

There are many done for you Wellness Programs in the marketplace – a plug and play program hooked on to a health insurance plan is common – but to ensure we build something that resonates and is, in the words of the Grateful Dead (and Jim Collins), “built to last”, we’re going to DIY this iniative and we’re confident we won’t regret it!

During the month of July, our team members have the option of working together to virtually hike the Appalachian Trail!

The trail is about 2200 miles and we currently have around 20 team members. If we each get moving 4 miles per day for 31 days, we’ll get there together!

We’re making this as do’able as possible.

Movement counts. You may not have the time, interest, energy, or stamina to jog 4 miles a day. But we all probably log a mile or two just by walking pets, walking to and from the bus stop, mowing the lawn after work, walking around the office, and more. Weekly 9 hole golf league? That’s probably 1-2 miles if you do the math. Swimming laps? This is a virtual adventure so count it! Biking around Lake Monona? That’s 13 miles! There is truly something for everyone to do in this activity.

Another element of this month long collaboration involves giving back.

Our company plans to donate funds for every mile collectively logged by the team this month up to our goal of 2200 miles. We are working as a group on what cause will receive the donation now.

Interested in following our progress? Tune in on social media as that’s where we’ll be posting updates! Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Why Pinterest, you ask? That’s another post for another day…

Cheers to wellness, teamwork, and giving back!