generalPodcastShow Notes

A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 224

A VerySpatial Podcast

Shownotes – Episode 224

November 1, 2009

Main Topic: Our conversation on some of the debates over GIS and its future

  • Click to directly download MP3
  • Click to directly download AAC
  • Click for the detailed shownotes


  • This week’s podsafe music: “Voodoo Bar-B-Q” by Big John Bates
  • News

    This week A Very Spatial Podcast is sponsored by ESRI.

    Mapping for Everyone is a new ESRI Web site that gives people easy, step-by-step instructions to start making maps for free. The Web site provides tools to help you share your map with others, including an interactive map and access to spatial data and free web mapping APIs. To learn more or get started, visit


    One thought on “A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 224

    1. I just listened to this podcast and i have to put in my 2 cents. Last spring i talked about his very subject at an Illinois GIS Association conference. My talk was entitled “GIS under an IT Umbrella”. While i appreciate Frank’s perspective, it is not an all or nothing solution. I love keeping GIS separate, within IT. I love to see GIS have its own budget, within IT. GIS needs a DBA who completely understands the spatial concepts of the geodatabase and ramifications that sequel queries can have on the GISness of the database, within IT. currently i work for a county as the GIS Manager within the IT Services department. There are three mid-level managers, Business applications, Technical support and myself, GIS.

      IT people see GIS as pseudo IT, especially when you talk relational databases and Web servers. They look at you like Ben Bernankey might look at a ten year-old discussing the Economy. What better place to get a Sequel Server set up and properly firewalled, patched, and ready for primetime than within the IT department itself? I have three servers, they are mine i have complete access, control and management of them, no one uses them, there are no file shares, the Sequel instance is completely mine. You know what i don’t have to do? OS Updates, virus protection, Sequel Server service packs, etc.. The IT department sees it as ‘one of their own’. I knew I was in-like-flint when my most recent server came in, it’s huge and has hot-swap processors. There was actually crowd when we had it up & running and pulled a processor out. I still didn’t get invited to lunch, but I think that’s more because I’m a manager than because of being GIS. 🙂

      When GIS is isolated, it becomes a black box. People throw map requests over the wall and hope they’ll get it back in time for their meeting. Whatever prestige the GIS department hopes to gain, they will always be seen as the “map-guys”. Last month, Don Meltz had a great discussion (still going) on his blog about where GIS is going. There’s a part there where he talks about how GIS is like Word Processing used to be back in the 60s. I know it’s a stretch but the point is we should be enabling other departments to ‘Do’ GIS and not ask it to be done for them. The more people think they can make a map for themselves, the easier it becomes for GIS Professionals. Will the profession change? Yes, of course. They all do. What we don’t want to become is some dinosaur COBALT programmer in the back corner always talking about the good ole days. Get ahead of the curve, that in itself it the most difficult aspect of my job.

    Comments are closed.