Gee Ex eS Stuff
I have been a GxS Junkie for
Years! GIS & GPS are words, not acronyms, in my world.
I purchased my first GPS unit, a Garmin 45, way back in the
spring of 95. My friend Steve and I had been out kayaking off the
coast of Maine one weekend. We were about 10 yards apart when a
FOG bank blew through. I could hear him clear as day, but had no
visual reference at all. That week I bought my first GPS unit.
Later, that summer, I found out that WaterProof didn't mean
A second unit lasted a few
years longer before I purchased a Garmin RINO 120. It, too, later
proved that water proof didn't mean OceanProof. Garmin did
replace the unit with a refurb. They didn't require a signature
when returning it. Some schelp walked off with my unit and Garmin
essentially said "TFB! Gimme 89 bucks and we'll give you a
replacement refurb". I said F O!
A Lowrance GPS unit was purchased to replace the Garmin.
During the RINO period I learned about the Garmin communication
protocol. In near temporal proximity I learned about Google GMaps
and KML. The marriage of GPS and easy to use mapping was
AWESOME! I was fetcing tracks out of the GPS and sharing with
others involved in the outing and plotting their and my data on Google
Also during this period I took a Intro to GIS class at Keene State
College. It was largely an Intro to Arcview 3.x class. There was
material about the history of GIS and Projections presented. I
aced that bad boy with a final project that showed where one could
reasonably expect to find Cellular
phone service in NH. My project was used as part of the
advertisement a year or so later announcing the new GIS Certificate
When the GIS Certificate Program was announced I signed up. I was
between jobs and something other than job hunting was a welcome
change. Earning a certificate meant succesful completion of 4 of
5 GIS related courses. Intro To GIS was one of them. Other
offerings were Intro to MapMaking, Intro to Remote Sensing, Intro to
Surveying and Intro to Idrisi. I signed up for and successfully
completed the first two. Having had the same instructor for two
classes at once was interesting. I wasn't impressed at all.
I was intersted in subject matter and he was interested in making me a better student. He
was the only instructer presenting the remaining 2 courses. I
chose not to finish.
The Intro to MapMaking largely amounted to using Corel Draw to emulate
the old fashioned layers of mylar or acetate in manual Map
Making. I expected 40 hours of training, I got 20 hours and
another 20 hours of doing homework in class. I felt ripped
off. The early part of the class had us digitizing several
counties of the state of Wisconsin. We later demonstrated various
Thematic Mapping Techniques such as Density Dots, Graduated Dots and
Chloropeth shading. The latter half of the class was devoted to
making an Atlas of Vermont, each member of class having some aspect of
the Atlas to complete. My segment was devoted to hydrological
Since I was taking 7 or more credits I could purchase some ESRI 8.3
software at student prices, essentially 10% of list!!! Soon,
ArcView8.3 along with Spatial-Analyst and 3D-Analyst were winging my
way. I used Arcview for most of the Atlas work exporting TIF
files to load in Corel to complete the assingment. Along the way I
experimented with DEMS, TINs, and ViewSheds.
A few years later I scored a job with GIS in its title. GIS
Technical Support Specialist, woo hoo! I answer the phone and
help people activate and use software designed specifically to Align
and Balance Sales/Service Territories. Debugging data related and
conceptional issues are the main activities. I also ship product,
test software, document bugs, prepare cartography for use within the
product and log all Client interactions in the CRM system.
Here are some other GPS/GIS didlings:
Merrimack River Paddle
GPS tracks color coded by elevation. Some variation is due to GPS error. Other is elevation change of the river due to tide and topography.