I’m Not Actually a Wizard, I Just Manage Data

I have a bad habit.
It started in the 1990’s and I haven’t been able to kick it.  Also, I don’t really want to kick it because my habit has given me a career, and in some circles, there are people who think I am super smart because they have the impression that I know and remember everything.

The truth is, my memory is terrible, but I keep things that I know will be needed later in a reliable place – pretty simple, right? That place where I keep all my knowledge is not a top-secret safety deposit box, it’s not a binder full of paper on my desk, and it’s certainly not my brain. That safe place is a database. Actually, it’s many databases.

You see, my habit is that I keep databases for the smallest, simplest things.

  •  What started simply as a way to keep track of the books I own turned into an ongoing way to track every book I’ve read since 1998, when I read them, how long it took me to read them, how I rated them.
  • What started as a way to book our camping trips this year turned into a mini database of all the best parks in British Columbia, driving distances from my house, preferred sites in each park, order of preference of each site in each park…etc.
  •  What started as basic document and communication management grew into keeping my project documents and communication in a cloud-based common data environment, which means when I get a random phone call from a VP asking for a drawing of an Emergency Department our team did 5 years ago, I can access it and send it to him or one of our clients in 2 minutes.
  • What started as helping our production team get some data into their Revit rooms so they could colour up some plans turned into cleaning and standardizing the data, and learning about Revit schedules and key schedules, where I could actually control the information on the drawings.
  • Which then morphed into taking all of the room and program information that I previously managed in dumb dead documents and putting it into a single controllable database tool.
  • Which then morphed into me overseeing the tool, and creating all project databases (imagine evil laugh here).

As you can see, my habit has spiraled out of control, but at least I get paid for it.

Whether you are a data dork, a wizard of standardization, a creator of tools, or a consumer of information, this year’s Data Day (being held in Canada, eh) will have something to peak your interest and spark conversation with other like-minded individuals.  See the event website here: http://www.rtcevents.com/2017/na/dd/

Tammy Adolf
Integrated Design Data Manager, Associate
Stantec, Vancouver

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