June 16, 2015
By George Demmy
A while back I was on a plane next to a man with a small backpack branded with the logo of a company with whom we do business. Small talk revealed that he was on his way to Afghanistan to help with the stabilization effort. He asked me what I did, and I segued with "I work at a small software company called TerraGo". He stopped me there with "Oh TerraGo! I know you! The PDF guys! You're all over Afghanistan!"
I don't remember much of the rest of the conversation, but I do remember, I'll admit, a glimmer of pleasure at TerraGo's recognition, but too a state of cognitive dissonance in which being characterized as "the PDF guys" had left me.
In hindsight, it's easy to see how people would make that association -- we've relied heavily on the GeoPDF brand as and as an organization we do spend a lot of time talking about GeoPDF. Unfortunately, it seems, at times, GeoPDF is conflated with what we do rather than identified as how we do it.
>Undoubtedly, we write software that creates, consumes, and modifies PDF documents. And we know a bunch about the internals of the Portable Document Format. But the essence of what we do is write software that allows people to share work more easily.
"to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor."
TerraGo is in the collaboration business.
And GeoPDF is just one part (more accurately: a trademark that brands a partially collection of parts) of how we help people collaborate. But, it's not the only way. Whereas, GeoPDF enables document-centric collaboration, TerraGo Edge enables distributed workforce collaboration by making it easy to share what people see with a private cloud application with mobile interfaces.
OK! That's a mouthful, I admit, but to call it a "mobile data collection app" (as some do) would be to miss the point. It's the collaborative aspects of the Edge system that makes it so powerful and being able to easily make a record of an observation -- what some might call "data collection" -- is but a feature of a larger whole. It's necessary, but not sufficient to be collaborative in the way Edge is. A data collection app cannot turn your distributed workforce into the eyes of the enterprise, but Edge can. For eyes on documents: GeoPDF. For eyes on walkabout: Edge. Two sides of a collaboration coin.