[GRASS-user] ArcGIS, GRASS and employability

Michael Barton michael.barton at asu.edu
Mon Sep 18 09:45:35 EDT 2006


You'll probably get a lot of response on this, but I'll add a bit here. In
terms of not being known outside Newcastle, take a look at the
user/developer map on the GRASS web site. I'm in Arizona, USA--quite a ways
from Newcastle--and we are using GRASS in research projects and teaching it
to students here.

Because many companies use ESRI products, it will be useful for students
seeking employment in those companies to have some familiarity with ESRI
software. However, they will go farther if they have a good understanding of
GIS concepts, and especially how to use GIS to solve problems, than simply
the techniques of how to push which buttons. People who actually know what
to use GIS for, can get up to speed in different systems pretty fast. So an
overview of different software, including ESRI, might be a good addition to
a course that uses GRASS to more effectively teach how to use GIS.

Also, those who are employed in places where the results are more important
than the software used might do better with GRASS--e.g. those focusing on
research or in consulting.


Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Center for Social Dynamics & Complexity
Arizona State University

phone: 480-965-6213
fax: 480-965-7671
www: http://www.public.asu.edu/~cmbarton

> From: Roy Sanderson <R.A.Sanderson at newcastle.ac.uk>
> Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 08:51:47 +0000
> To: <grassuser at grass.itc.it>
> Subject: [GRASS-user] ArcGIS, GRASS and employability
> Hello
> Last spring I converted a short course I give to some of our MSc students,
> from ArcGIS 9 to GRASS 6.0.  Whilst the students had had no prior exposure
> to GIS (or indeed Linux), it was obvious that they progressed through their
> work much more rapidly and learnt more in terms of the fundamental
> concepts, and I was pleased with the overall results.
> However, the External Examiner's report for the MSc has criticised the
> change to GRASS, stating that "it isn't known outside Newcastle" and that
> it is harming the students' employment prospects on graduation.  The
> examiner is clearly wanting me to go back to using something like ArcGIS or
> MapInfo in the GIS module.
> It would be useful if anyone could provide me with a few facts/figures on
> the use of GRASS outside of academia, especially in any large commercial
> companies etc.
> Many thanks
> Roy
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------
> Roy Sanderson
> Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability
> Devonshire Building
> University of Newcastle
> Newcastle upon Tyne
> NE1 7RU
> United Kingdom
> Tel: +44 191 246 4835
> Fax: +44 191 246 4999
> http://www.ncl.ac.uk/environment/
> r.a.sanderson at newcastle.ac.uk
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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