All GIS begins with data,so how you can learn to control it?

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Data is in the center of every GIS system, so when you know how to control it it’s like having GIS super powers. Let’s see what does that actually mean.

What’s control anyway?

First, let’s clarify what does it mean to have control over data. In think that in the context of GIS it means that you have ability to:

  1. access it, wherever it is located
  2. filter it, get exactly what you need
  3. change it, mold it as you wish
  4. show it, present it in a way that it will be useful and understood

Notice that no matter if you make a map for a local county or create a cool one for New York Times you have to go through all four steps.

The specific tools might change,but I don’t think that this model will change that much over time. You can see that there are some tools that simplify some steps or merge them (like some web apps).To stay in control we have to keep them in mind.

If you can do all four you have some basic control. You can gain more control by learning at least one different way to do any of them.

It’s even better if you can learn a way to do it faster or better (whatever the specific definition might be)

Why bother?

Well, because things are changing.Sometimes faster and sometimes slower.

And if you know what gives you more control you can prepare yourself for a change.

Loosing control sucks.

So, how to keep it?

Have your eyes and ears open. Focus. Learn at least one different way of doing each step every two months. Try new things. Experiment.

But I…

I know.You don’t have time or maybe you don’t think that some tools are for you. Well, keep it small and simple. Get into habit of learning things. After a while it will be easier to just pick something up and play with it.

The Ultimate Control is…

when you realize that it’s all within your reach. It might take some time,but it’s doable. It’s being flexible when looking at problems. Looking at “new” as opportunity not a threat.

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