I started this blog about two years ago (04/2008) in an effort to: 1) document my journey (adventures) in GIS, 2) to make some connections with readers and others in the GIS community, and 3) to create a GIS presence on the web. So far, it’s served me well regarding 1) and 2). I won’t make any claims about 3). I’ve made some interesting contacts with people whose blogs I now subscribe to, and on numerous occasions, I have referred to my own previous posts while trying to remember something. Longterm, I would like this blog to supplement my GIS resume.
If you’ve been here before, you might’ve noticed that although most blog posts are somehow related to GIS, there really isn’t much of a red thread, and while some themes or projects recur, other threads are seemingly abandoned as loose ends. If this is a cause for frustration, I apologize. I wish I could find the time to document all my projects and discoveries to completion. But I can’t.
I started this blog as “Geologist”. My job title now reads Geologist/GIS Specialist”. What this means is that I have been spending more and more time exploring ways how we (my employer) can succesfully leverage GIS in our field operations and data storage and analysis, and have achieved – if not a Quantum leap – a shift towards more streamlined data collections (e.g. GPS) and improved record keeping. Yet, my day job still includes many responsibilities not related to GIS (note the hard hat in the picture), and – at least for the time being – I enjoy the balance of indentifying the hands-on challenge in the field and solving it with GIS tools from my desk. And while not all challenges on my wishlist are bound to get fixed – some are simply not practical, some do not warrant the expenditure in equipment or manhours, I find that based on comments and emails from readers, many of the things I tinker with are related to what others in the community work on. This is documented in the number of people who google their way to my blog
The more time I spend solving GIS problems and using different software packages, the more interested I get in the nitty gritty that lies beneath the surface. The Science of Geographic Information Systems. When it comes right down to it, I don’t think it matters much which software you use. I worked some with ArcINFO and Atlas GIS in college in the mid 1990’s. Then with Mapinfo in about 2000. It’s all a blur now because I’ve since switched to ArcGIS.
Rather than spend a lot of time trying to decipher one package’s every trick and toolbar, I’ve decided that I want to spend my time more wisely and really learn how to program. I believe that as a GIS hacker you’re bound to be more powerful than someone who can answer 1001 FAGQ (Frequently Asked GIS Questions).
Needless to say, the choice of language for me is Python. I’ve used it for ArcGIS geoprocessing, to create KML files, to hack into my Garmin GPS, to collect and format data for gINT, and most recently to manipulate raster images. Naturally, my to-do-list for Python is much longer. It includes spending more time with Geodjango, IronPython, numpy, postgres/postgis…
Python is straightforward, fun, well documented, everywhere, and unstoppable ! I still believe it’s the super-glue language for GIS. — But enough of my ramblings. I hope I haven’t bored you. Let’s get back to GIS. Leave me a comment if you like. I would love to hear from you.