GIS as a Silo of Babel
The GIS Dev Cafe is asking where is the community? A community needs a common language.
Lately I’ve felt that GIS is a Silo of Babel quickly crumbling.
God, observing the arrogance of humanity in the construction, resolves to confuse the previously uniform language of humanity, thereby preventing any such future efforts.
Wikipedia on The Tower of Babel
I don’t find the slogan “GIS is the language of geography” to be very enlightening. It’s not a language – not even a metalanguage. Please don’t get offended, but GIS can best be described as a religion.
When I encounter a problem with a GIS solution I usually search web sites that focus on that particular language. But when the problem is peculiar to GIS namespaces, the resources are not quite there yet.
Geography is about describing where something is, for example, by using a point. But look there’s several Point class in the new testament (ESRI.ArcGIS.aRCWebService, ESRI.ArcGIS.ADF.ArcGISServer, ESRI.ArcGIS.ADF.Web.Geometry), plus several in the old testament (ESRI.ArcGIS.Geometry, ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesFile.ISMRouterPoint) Juggling between these different namespaces often amounts to an exercise in exegesis.
Right now ArcGIS Server is stuck with yet another chicken vs. egg dilemma. In order for a community to form, there needs to be a language, in order for people to learn a language, there needs to be a community where they can practice conversation.
Maybe a Revival Tent is needed as a third choice (place?) between the Cathedral and the Bazaar. We need to freely share experience, while not necessarily sharing our intellectual property. Perhaps Dave can make such a tent using ArcDeveloper.net.
ESRI has forums, but there’s not much activity there. Maybe everyone is being shy? Perhaps one way out of this is to start speaking in tongues. Stop being so orthodox – get out there, roll on the floor, maybe even handle a few snakes to get into the mood. Better yet, help me.