Boston: America’s Most Active Geo-City!

That’s probably an overstatement.


The Boston geo-calendar is jammed packed with awesome stuff right now.  If you are in the area over the next few weeks, check out some of these upcoming events:

Now, I am sure I missed a few events.  If you know of an event that I missed tweet it out to @GISDoctor and I will make sure to add it to this list and retweet to my followers!

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Not the end, yet…

As with almost all blogs at some point in time the writer(s) eventually lose interest, become busy with other projects, or just fade into the digital sunset.

I am awfully close to meeting all three of these categories.

It’s time for something different.

When I started I never had any real expectations of what I would do with the site, and that shows with the topics I have written about over the past several years. For better or worse, I haven’t written much over the past year.  Between my job, renovating a multi-family home, and literally running a 1,000 miles I haven’t had the time, energy or desire to keep the site up-to-date.  Twitter has been great for keeping my ideas out in the social geo-sphere, unfortunately, I just haven’t had the inspiration or time to put many ideas or projects into this medium.

But, it’s not truly the end. isn’t being turned off, but the focus is going to change.

I still have a lot of ideas I want to share with the community I love.  Even though I have a great passion for geo-tech I will avoid writing about it.  Over the past couple years I’ve been observing the great GIS-troll war.  No matter what project you are interested in, what technology you use, or how you use a given technology there is someone out there who will have no problem trashing you, without any sense of context or content.  We are all guilty of this.  Hell, I provided one of the most popular outlets for this very practice.  But for me, this has run its course and I am really tired of it.  Geo as grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years.  We should be working harder to do more as a community to solve problems and develop ideas, regardless of our personal “stack” choices.

So, where does this leave me and the site at this point in time?  Well, I will be cleaning up, turning off the comments (if you have anything to say, just twitter it), retiring some old code example pages (I still see some of my Google Maps examples still being used, which is neat), and updating some of the more actively viewed pages on the site. I also hope to change the feel of the site.  When I do post, it will be about the G(eography) in GIS. Tech trends come and go, but the geographic problems we are interested in solving, and desperately need to solve, are here to stay.

Thanks for all the clicks.


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The Tool Belt Approach

Firstly, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.

I’ve been busy.

My wife and I bought a two family home in South Medford, Massachusetts a couple months ago. It’s a nice little place, in a walkable neighborhood with access to transit, and it’s only 4.5 miles from downtown Beantown (no one here calls it Beantown). The home, as they say, is a “fixer-upper” and both units need lots of work. My wife and I have been spending every waking moment doing yard work, rebuilding our first floor unit’s kitchen and bathroom, painting walls, doing demolition in our basement, working with our plumber and electrician as they rewire and replumb the entire home, negotiating the city hall permitting process, Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera…

During the past couple months not only have I learned a ton of new homeowners stuff, but I have acquired a ton of new tools (consignment tool shops are the best place ever). Thankfully, I grew-up in a very handy family so I’m not totally in the dark when it comes to home improvement and these tools come in handy. I’ve learned that not every project needs every tool. Before I start a project I scope out what I need to get done, load up my tool belt and get to work. I don’t haul the entire toolbox (or toolboxes) to the project each time.

My tool belt is a wonderful thing. It is lightweight, I only load up what I need for the specific project, and it and forces me to think about my project and make the right planning decisions.

I see so many parallels between my tool belt project approach and what I try to do as a geo-professional.

In the spatial world we often get tied to the idea of the toolbox(es) when working on analysis projects. Toolboxes, whether geo-toolboxes or regular toolboxes, are often full of tools one doesn’t need for a specific project, and sometimes they can be full of tools we use improperly (how many of us have actually used Kriging in the right context or tried to use a flat head screw driver as a chisel?). Without proper planning – planning out a project before you even start – may cause one to use tools in their toolbox incorrectly, perhaps coming to less than a correct conclusion.

We, as geo-professionals, will be much better at what we do if we learn how to solve the problems and answer the questions related the projects we work on first, instead of trying to know how to use every tool in our toolbox. Yes, there will always be the plumbers, contractors, and electricians who have every tool that there could ever be related to their job, just as there will be those all-knowing GIS gurus. However, the vast majority of geo-professionals are those who do other things and not “all GIS, all the time.” I really believe that by using the tool belt approach we can develop a better class of geo-professionals. Understand your problem, do the research to solve it, and then load your tool belt with the proper tools to solve it. And, good, detailed geospatial analysis like good, detailed home improvement never goes as fast as it does on HGTV.

Now, where did I put my hammer?

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