I made a few updates to a number of pages on the site. The GIS Blogs page is now called Geo Blogs and I added a few more blogs to the list. Also, I made sure the mash-ups available on the map mash-up page all work.  I try to keep up with the mash-up examples, but sometimes data sources change and I need to update the code.

Thanks for reading!

Avid Geo September Meet-Up! [UPDATE!]

Avid Geo September Meet-Up is coming up this week. Check it out…

September #AvidGeo Meetup

Thursday, Sep 20, 2012, 6:30 PM

Applied Geographics, Inc.
24 School Street Boston, MA

9 Members Went

Join The Geo FunIt’s time for a another great AvidGeo meetup of people who like to talk projections, google maps, Open Street Maps, and more. Please come join the fun and share this event with friends in your community at work or school.We are going to crowd source the needs of this meeting. So you are all potential organizers. Please help us put…

Check out this Meetup →

And, again, I can’t make it. Why am I always busy on the third Thursday of the month…

UPDATE – Guido Stein, leader of the Avid Geo group, sent out an update about this month’s meet-up:

Just wanted to give you a heads up that the meeting is coming up on Thursday and we are going to be hosted by the wonderful people at Applied Geographics also know to me as my company.

This month Lars will be giving us a little demo on basic OSM editing and I will be sharing a little python code for data for geometric manipulation.

We will be trying to record and push this meeting onto youtube at the avidgeo to share the meeting with the rest of the world…

Want more info?  Check out (and join) the Avid Geo meet-up group.

Dear ACS, if you are killed off, I will miss you…

Since it is widely regarded that killing the American Community Survey is a bad idea it would make complete sense that portions of the Senate still want to end it.  The main arguments against the ACS are that it is expensive, intrudes on privacy and is “unconstitutional”, whereas the benefits (which in my opinion far outweigh any of the negatives)  generally go along the lines of better data equals better decision making.

I wanted to write a full post about the dangers of ending ACS from the point of view of a geographer, but I became very frustrated reading the stories about why it should be ended that I just deleted everything I had except the first paragraph you just read.  However, I do think it is important to at least give my opinion as a geographer and someone who values good, unbiased data:

Without current and quality spatial data you won’t know where you are or where you are going…

In a world where big data and quantitative analytics are essential to data-driven decision making the loss of the ACS could send shock waves through the business, academic, non-profit, and government worlds.

Now, I am going to volunteer some personal information, tag my location, and post some pictures to Facebook.  Now, there is a data collector I can trust!


Note: It is reported that the White House will veto this if passed.

Comments, comments, comments

For the first time ever I have gone through the comments on and responded to a number of them.  Keep the comments coming!

Moving forward I promise I’ll be more responsive when readers post comments and questions!  Maybe:)

Goodbye AAG

Dear AAG,

It’s not you, it’s me…

For the first time in eight years I will not be renewing my membership to the AAG.  It’s not that I’m moving away from my roots as a geographer, it’s that I really have no use for being a member of the AAG.  I’m no longer an academic geographer and I can’t justify paying for the general services they provide.  I haven’t attended an annual conference in a couple years, I barely skim the PG and Annals when I get my copy, and their jobs section leans heavily towards academic searches.  At this point I don’t have an active membership with GITA or URISA, my membership to AAG will expire soon, and I haven’t paid my dues to GTU in 7ish years…

Now, this brings up a larger question.  What is the point of being a member of these professional geo-societies?

Traditionally these organizations have provided a variety of “perks” to their members such as job listings, publications, the latest industry news, and hosting regional and annual conferences.  They also lobby on a number of topics (remember MAPPS), for their members and the greater industry.  However, I never find myself  going to these organizations for the latest news and industry trends, the best job listings, or attending their conferences.

So, what can a geo-professional do to stay “in the loop”, while saving a few hundred bucks?

  • Where do I go for my latest industry news?  I follow a number of these organizations on twitter and I read the industry blogs.  This avenue is much more active than the monthly newsletter.
  • What do I do for conferences?  Well, I go to the Esri User Conference, but I have found more value in attending a number of local GIS/spatial/technology conferences and meet-ups.  I tend to believe that smaller conferences and meet-ups have a much larger impact on their participants, as people tend to participate and contribute more in smaller, more focused groups. Side not: I know it’s larger than what I am talking about here but I’d like to go to FOSS4G someday.
  • If I need a job, where do I go to for the best listings?  Well, I’ve been out of the job search game for about two years now, but when I was searching, and when my friends are searching they are using Linkedin, following the GIS listserves (which seems a little old school now-a-days), and following the social networks.  Also, making those personal connections at the smaller conferences and meet-ups can’t hurt!
  • What about publications? As a reformed academic, part of me still wants to publish some of my more technical work (papers are coming in 2012!).  But, with many researchers having their own blogs and websites, much of the research is becoming freely available.  Even though many sites (including this one) may contain non-refereed material, more people have read through these websites than will ever read an academic journal.

The question still remains.  What is the the point of being a member of these organizations, or any geo-spatial industry group?  At this point I don’t believe any of them carry any weight.  Does being a member of these groups mean anything anymore?  Is there an organization worth being a member of that will actually help me professionally?

If you have the answer let me know (post a comment or retweet!).  I want to know!  These organizations may be great for many, but unless I’m convinced otherwise, I’ll be a geospatial free agent this year.