[Ottawa_users] contacts

Dave Sampson samper.d at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 10:43:16 EDT 2009

Tracey does make a very good point.

>From what I have seen in the Geomatics industry and education over the
last 12 years is that GIS is moving more from a generalists realm to one
of two worlds of specialists.

1. The comp sci folks who know the numbers, algorythms, application
building, web services handling, database management and general system

2. The Domain specilists who use GIS as a tool. Historicaly this has
been the playground of the geomatics fields and also the environmental
fields. More recently this is branching off to social sciences, health
care professionals, lawyers and others.

Since you are familiar with the comp sci end of things, last night we
were just talking about how Geospatial data handling and processing is
now entering a realm of high performance computing, taking advanatge of
multi-core processors and also off loading tasks to the GPU (Graphics

This is certainly an area where a group of people need to be involved.
As a Geographer and Recreologist I am not going to pretend to knwo
anything about advanced comnputing but can helpl with the domain
knowledge. From a comp sci perspective I am sure you could lend a hand
with creating applications that exploit multi-cores, modern RAM and

In the end I am still a fan of generalists working together.

Lots of areas to explore for sure...


On Fri, 2009-08-14 at 09:42 -0400, Tracey P. Lauriault wrote:
> I also recommend accompanying GIS learning with an education in
> geography, environmental studies of the field within which you wish to
> apply the geomatics.  
> Anyone can use a tool but to use the tool to inform decisions and
> public policy also requires and understanding of the issues and also
> geographic concepts.  This means using the tool responsibly.  I have
> seem many terrible GIS maps, bad science, poor social policy and
> ridiculous assumptions based on spurrious variables coming from people
> who can use the tool but do not comprehend the natural, physical and
> social science behind their representations.  
> Think of it this way, knowing how to use word processing tools does
> not make one a writer, knowing how to use SPSS does not make one a
> statistical analyst.  Knowing ESRI or any other geomatics tool does
> not make one a cartographer or a person able to accurately, reliably
> and authoritively communicate a geographic phenomenon.
> My favorite good example is the collaboration between the AAAS and
> human rights groups, here is a link:
> http://serendipityoucity.blogsome.com/2009/08/13/high-resolution-satellite-imagery-and-the-conflict-in-sri-lanka/
> The geomatics people know their science, communications people know
> the stories, the HR groups know the ground.  Together they produced an
> excellent report that aims to objectively report ground truth.  
> On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:50 AM, Dave Sampson <samper.d at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>         Most of what I have learned about GIS has been self taught so
>         pardon the
>         offloading of resources. I also find that learning something
>         is a lot
>         easier when you have a particular task at hand to do.... so
>         here are
>         some questions to think about and some reosurces to get you
>         started...
>         hope it helps.
>         Well I guess the first place to start is maybe answering some
>         questions.
>         1. What do you want to do with GIS
>         2. Do you have a specific problem?
>         3. Would you know the difference between raster and vector and
>         when
>         either one is used
>         4. Do you own or will use a GPS?
>         5. Are you on windows or linux? (or mac?)
>         Some resources that might help.
>         * The university of Guelph Geography dept. they might have
>         some intro
>         GIS courses you can drop in on or take
>         http://www.uoguelph.ca/geography/
>         * This is a good book for getting an intro to GIS and open
>         source
>         software http://www.grassbook.org/
>         * here are all the tutorials for GRASS.
>         http://grass.itc.it/gdp/tutorials.php  if you complete this
>         list you'll
>         know more than the average GIS user.
>         * OSGEO4W is a stack of open source software you can install
>         all at once
>         instead of seprately (this is a windows thing, let the list
>         know if you
>         are using Linux and if so what distro)
>         http://trac.osgeo.org/osgeo4w/
>         * Here sre some QGIS documentation and tutorials
>         http://www.qgis.org/en/documentation.html
>         The Canadian centre for remote sensing has some great online
>         tutorials
>         for image processing of satellite imagery:
>         http://ccrs.nrcan.gc.ca/resource/index_e.php#tutor
>         GeoConnections is a National program helping to build capacity
>         in the
>         field of Geomatics for Canadians... check out their online
>         tutorial:
>         http://www.geoconnections.org/publications/training_manual/e/
>         this will
>         be a good intro to geospatial web services, standards and
>         metadata.
>         For some free data check out the following resources:
>         * http://www.geobase.ca/
>         * http://geogratis.gc.ca/
>         The atlas of Canada should give you some idea of what kinds of
>         products
>         can be made from GIS outputs. Certianly not the only use for
>         GIS but it
>         may provide some motivations. They currently have a feature on
>         polar
>         maps:
>         http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/english/index.html
>         That is enough resource dumping from me for now.
>         i hope this sends you on your way to self discovery.
>         Cheers
>         On Thu, 2009-08-13 at 13:56 -0700, Mike Waters wrote:
>         > Hi there,I have sent an email or two in the past regarding
>         the following subject: How to get started in an ESRI position.
>         This task is the Catch 22 in the finest example.
>         > I have a strong IT background, however the leap to GIS is
>         quantum.
>         > Any suggestions ? I have tried to acquaint my self with GIS
>         and as you might guess there is a limit to this, Appreciate
>         any suggestions in the Guelph.        Michael Waters
>         >
>         >
>         >
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> -- 
> Tracey P. Lauriault
> 613-234-2805
> https://gcrc.carleton.ca/confluence/display/GCRCWEB/Lauriault
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