Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

Paul Wickman (Flat Rock Geographics)
Business & Strategy Yerba Buena Salon 12-14

The misuse of technology is not a new topic (guns don’t kill people, people with guns do) and I am certainly not the first person to consider this in the context of geospatial/GIS. With all the great conference sessions on geospatial technologies and how to exploit them, this “non-GIS” geo-community could stand to review what we are doing, not just how we are doing it.

One review from the recent SXSW (South by Southwest) conference described geo-fencing as the ‘next generation of geolocation’; as if geo-fencing were some cutting-edge technique. In the days of old-school GIS, your friendly analyst and his arsenal of oh-so-very-special software was the gatekeeper to geospatial data analysis. Those shackles are now off. What might people produce without an understanding of GIS concepts such as analysis across geographic scales, choosing appropriate data classification methods or even the implications of (gasp!) geo-fencing?

The current job market demands geospatial software developers, yet university GIS programs are slow to produce them. Is the GIS Professional no longer needed or will they find a new place as geo-data scientists in the emerging field of Big Data Analysis?

Photo of Paul Wickman

Paul Wickman

Flat Rock Geographics

After many years of IT consulting in the SF Bay Area with several well-known “locals” like Cisco Systems, Intel and Sun Microsystems, Paul launched Northstar Geographics (NSG) in 2008. Based in St Paul, Minnesota NSG specializes in applied geographic analysis, web mapping application development and spatial database design. Now in its fourth year, NSG is developing GeoCruncher; a cloud-based location analytics service designed for Business Intelligence reporting integration.

  • Esri
  • AT&T Interactive
  • Google
  • Nokia, Location & Commerce
  • Facebook
  • Bing
  • Control Group
  • Localeze
  • MyCityWay
  • Socrata
  • Urban Airship
  • MapQuest

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