is Spatial special?

This week had Fuzzy Tolerance write a fairly clear rant about GIS Professionals and how we generally need to get out more. Read here

Tobin has got a point, although this is true for every industry. There is only so much you can learn, only so much you can improve, when you specialize in one particular area and never see anything beyond that. It just makes sense. You won’t be introduced to new ideas, you won’t see what other groups of people are doing, what other new and exciting things are in the world.

Designers are making maps just as easily as people with years of cartographic experience. They seem to be the ones coming up with new, innovative designs for sharing geographic knowledge, for sharing statistics. Are they all good? Of course not! Not all maps are good. Some display wrong information, some deliberately. Some simply just look pretty and don’t really show you anything. But how many GIS people are the ones making these?

I definitely agree on Fuzzy Tolerance’s point about names. Particularly:

‘You’re not a GIS Programmer, you’re a Programmer. ‘

Whenever I have looked for GIS jobs, I have founds tons that essentially want a programmer with GIS knowledge and that’s what many GIS people are. They are really no different from video game programmers, they have to program something to build a world.  Based on many GIS people who I’ve met, it seems to be true. You’re programmers.

But what am I?

I am currently in the role as GIS Technician at an engineering firm. Lots of us use GIS here, lots of us use AutoCAD or various other drafting and modelling programs. Since I have been here, I have learned a lot of new terminology in both my languages, learned how to eye up the condition of a building, the different aspects of a subsidence prediction and its effect on said building, the different types of mines built for our product and how to document my work so that anyone picking it up later can understand.

I am not an engineer, I’m not a technical draftsperson. What am I then?

I’m going with Geographer.

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