Geographic Information Systems

2008 is going to be my year of total technical advancement. I recently started a new era in my company by purchasing and installing a new piece of software that will make many routine tasks in my job much easier, plus add a plethora of additional capabilities to my arsenal, and hopefully prepare and equip me for a gamut of future career movies.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the merging of map and database. It’s been around for a while (probably decades) in one version or another, but the market leader nowadays, I daresay, is ESRI, and their flagship product line today is ArcGIS 9.2. I had often wondered how I might get a chance to work with this software. There seemed little room for it in my workplace, mostly because of resistance to new technology and change from the old guard.

Things have changed, and I am hoping for a grand old time. I’ve already completed a report to a state agency with all new maps, and it was awesome. If you’ve never heard of GIS before, you’ve most likely used it today. Think of mapquest – geocoding of addresses and maps. Think of google maps – finding a place and overlaying an aerial photograph. Think of an online real estate search, looking up a house, and then checking for closest shopping, schools, etc. That’s GIS. If you have  a list of clients and their addresses and you want to produce a map that shows those clients living within 2 miles of one of your stores, you need GIS.

Okay, I am not expert – yet. Plan to be though. I took a college course in 2004. I meant to go on four 4 semesters but I figured I could learn more myself. Now, Ii have the software and reason to use it. Watch me. I may be working for google soon 🙂

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