There’s a great quote in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:
“He started to count to ten. He was desperately worried that one day sentient life forms would forget how to do this. Only by counting could humans demonstrate their independence of computers.”
This is going to a be a long running story arc in the life or North River Geographic Systems, Inc so watch for updates.
Back in my former career of not that long ago I had this long running argument that would rear it’s ugly head. It would go something like “Am I a employee of <blank> or a GIS person?”. I was both – you have to be both. I would find myself posing this question from time to time when I was asked to do something that I found to be off center as a GIS person. The thing I was asked to do would be great for the company – but I felt that it was of questionable GIS intent…and in general bad form. I find myself now – having been a business for just about 4 years – almost the same question. Am I a GIS person or an ESRI person? I’m a Business Partner and currently an Authorized Trainer…..so I’ve drunk the Kool-aid so to speak.
As a GISP – I think I owe it to myself and my clients to get more well rounded in the world of GIS. I’m participating this week in a GA URISA workshop on Open Source GIS. Being the education chair for GA URISA I’ve started perusing the material. Something happened….I feel woefully unprepared. I wanted to co-instruct and I’m really beginning to think I can’t just yet. You see – I can make ArcGIS do what I need it to do. I’ve used ESRI software since my fledgling career started 16 years ago. The open source stuff is a bit new to me. I want to know more – I need to know more. I know I’m not breaking new ground – but for those of you who read and keep up you might find this interesting. Open Source software – particularly Linux – has been a side to my life for some years that I have enjoyed immensely so why not let it be part of my career.
I pulled one of my lab laptops today and reformatted it with Linux. Which flavor? Ubuntu. So I abandoned Windows and as a result I abandoned ArcGIS on this machine. What am I going to put on it? What can you put on it?
- Quantum GIS
- Open Jump
…..and I am going to work on getting better as a GIS person. My Goal – share out data from that machine to my ArcGIS machine. Use my new linux machine to complement my work. Learn. Enjoy and immerse myself just a little bit deeper into GIS. It should make me a better “GIS Person” and a “ESRI Person”. I hope it will. At the absolute worst – I’m going to learn. I may even come up with some ideas that expand the business a bit.
Anyway – check back from time to time. I’m going to be doing some “stuff” and posting what I have learned back up here. So today I “counted” using Open Source GIS Tools. It was kind of nice.