Well – so much for wrapping this up before Christmas. I’ve got one more “general” post and then some specifics on QGIS and other things. Well – maybe not. I really don’t have much of a plan except write. in fact – writing with little to no editing.
So a few years ago I had a certification and I was looking at renewing it and people were talking about a test. There was a lot of discussion. In the middle of the discussion someone said “Well what if we make it too centered on one piece of software” and then someone else was worried “what if we make it practical” and anyway someone had the bad idea to turn to me and go “Hey what do you think?”
I said “I think you should take every GIS Person out with a map and a compass and turn them loose and if they don’t show up where they need to be they fail”.
…and that didn’t happen. As geo people we’ve turned maps into this art form to convey information while others of us have turned the information into bits and bytes and don’t care what it looks like on a piece of paper. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I wished I was better doing both. I often sit and look at maps I make and wonder “Is this is usable for Navigation”. I’ll go out on a limb and say we rarely navigate with the maps we make. To be honest – why would you. We’ve got enough information on our maps it’s hard to get lost in an urban setting. What about out in the wilderness?
Way back in 1994 I won a compass for being smart or something during my BS Degree in Geology. More than likely “something” because back in the day I was a hair covered geologist. Back then you might have to make measurements and make notes on a map and possibly have to connect Point A to Point B with a pencil. I’ve rarely used the compass for much because not much long after getting this I dove into the world of computers and lost my hair and my rigged chiseled six pack abs.
For 2020 my plan is to make a map and go out with a compass and navigate around. Worry about Magnetic declination. Measure my pace. Make notes. No mobile data collection. No Maps on the web. Maybe I’ll stick a compass on my canoe and just worry about direction. Will it make me better at my job? Maybe. Will it be nice to get back to basics with a map and navigation. Oh yeah. How many of you can read contours on a map? Worry about contours! Do you put magnetic declination on a map?
So – get outside if possible and navigate around. Make some notes. Hey – you might try to make a map from scratch. Buy a compass (no clue what kind or type). Get out.
I had to look hard for someone that wasn’t a bearded-male-end-of-the-world-prepper to describe maps and compasses. Enjoy.