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 OceanProof. 

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 maps.

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 additional 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 Program.

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 features.

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 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.