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Quickly, quickly

2009/09/16

Small rant.

Knowing that there is a button or menu (or even where the button or menu is) to do something in a GIS package does not actually mean that you how to do something in GIS. Adding the default compass image to a map does not make you a cartographer. Being able to make a surface with kriging doesn’t mean you know what that means or if it’s appropriate or why maybe the defaults aren’t the best idea for the task at hand. It’s something that is spoken about pretty often in graphic design circles—the democratization of design because the tools are so accessible leads to a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of really bad work and a whole lot of attitude. And it certainly doesn’t qualify you for an actual paying job. If you are one of those people with the one class, here’s some advice—shut up and listen to the people with more experience. Do not think that doing an assignment in a lab has really prepared you to say “I know how to do that” and not follow instructions. And don’t think that with no experience you should be running around at your job or your grad office refusing to do what you’ve assigned to do because it doesn’t interest you. You have to earn that and you earn that by doing and by making an effort to learn. Checking out one out of date book doesn’t cut it. Do something. Do it again (it probably had problems the first time around). Make it better. Don’t just keep doing something the same way that you did once over and over again (unless of course the task is spelled out for you in detail, then do that). Why exactly would you think that anyone would let you near anything more interesting to do if you haven’t shown them that you can do anything at all?

Sometimes I see kids I know have only had one mediocre class running around with chips on their shoulders and the attitude that they are GIS experts and I just picture them as the robot in Lost in Space with the arms flailing and the repetitive “Danger! Danger!” And then I think that really the world would be well served if they did in fact run around shouting “Danger! Danger!”  so that everyone understands that they in fact know just enough to be dangerous. And with limited logic so growth is unlikely.

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