Monday, January 22, 2007

Manifold World Headquarters?

This blog started because of nagging questions about Manifold the company, not manifold the GIS software. Who is Manifold? Where are they really located? How many many people (other than Dimitri Rotow) work there? Basically, what's their story? They make a lot of noise on the internet, but who are they really? If I'm going to recommend to a client that they adopt Manifold as their GIS platform, the client is going to want to know a lot of this stuff (and more).

I've taken GIS training in Huntsville, AL at Intergraph World Headquarters (which reminds me of a large military base), and also at ESRI World Headquarters in Redlands, CA (nice facility in a crappy part of CA). Imagine my surprise when a former coworker emailed me this photo he snapped while driving through Carson City, NV, of "Manifold World Headquarters".

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Questioning the Manifold Phenomenon

Everybody's blogging these days it seems, why not me? OK, so maybe I'm a few years behind the curve here, but that's not the first time I've heard such comments (at least the mullet was retired about a year and a half ago :-)

I've been using GIS off and on for about 20 years now. Mostly Intergraph product, but a fair amount of ESRI technology too, and some other stuff even including custom raster stuff programmed on minicomputers and pre-Mac Apples back in the day. Over the last several years, GIS has taken a back burner to more general IT consulting, that's just the way it's worked out. But that does not mean my love for and fascination with GIS has taken a back burner.

Blogs are an interesting source of info on what's happening in (and behind the scenes of) the GIS industry. ESRI is the greatest thing since sliced bread and will cure cancer with the next release, ESRI is more evil than Saddam and Jack Dangermond is the devil incarnate, ESRI blah blah's great entertainment actually, and maybe I'm a sick puppy but I'd rather spend my time reading things like James Fee's blog ( than watching yet another reality TV show.

So here's the deal: I live in northern Nevada, where this Manifold company is supposedly located (more on that later when I figure out how to post images to this blog thingy ), and I don't know anyone who uses it. In fact, it was only a couple years ago that I first heard of it. (Manifold: GIS, or secret society?) Yet when I read stuff online (blogs, the Manifold web site it seems I really missed the boat all these years of floundering with Intergraph / ESRI GIS bohemoths. No wonder I finally gave up with GIS and found solace in the IT junkyard! Nobody had shared the wonders of Manifold with me when I was impressionable! I'm beyond being saved now, but maybe I can help some of the younger GIS-heads out there, ones with futures--Manifold is God! It does everything "dinosaur" GIS does, but better; it also does more; and halelujah almighty it costs one-one billionth as much money!

I have to admit I tried Manifold about a year ago, and it was...OK? Good? Well, it wasn't bad. But it wasn't a comprehensive, mature enterprise GIS either. There are many smaller applications (esp. where budget is an issue) where Mannifold may be a better solution than enterprise software. But can it really cure cancer, dice onions, and hang the infidels?

Call me sick but I've become fascinated with the whole Manifold phenomenon, and need to know more! Who is Manifold? What makes them tick? And can I -r-e-a-l-l-y- get a new Mercedes for the price of a skateboard at Walmart?