Neogeography Use Cases, Pretending to be an Architect

More discussion over at High Earth Orbit on neogeography definition.

While I’m sure many are tired of seeing this dead horse beaten, I do find value in discussing a use case often addressed by neogeography: crowdsourcing. As High Earth points out, the neo and paleo geographers would both be actors.

The problem is some of the tools needed to support crowdsourcing are not getting high enough priority by ESRI.

Case in point: ArcGIS Server’s GraphicsLayer.WriteToXml method would make crowdsourcing a lot easier. A Neogeographer draws graphics on the map, adds some attributes and saves it. Behind the scenes it gets saved to disk (via WriteXml, not arcsde via versioning). A Paleogeographer opens ArcEditor, retrieves graphicslayer to map, converts graphics to features, edits it and commits it to the geodatabase.

The only problem with this is a bug in WriteToXml. It was logged in August (NIM011262), but the SP4 doc doesn’t mention it as being fixed.

The slow resolution of this issue might give neogeographers the impression that ESRI doesn’t place high enough priority on crowdsourcing. The ArcGIS architecture needs to support crowdsourcing.

Pretend to Be An Architect

Speaking of architecture, have you ever noticed how so many architects live long and remain creative in their later years? Take a look at Johnson, Wright, and Venturi.

Contrast this with mathematicians, who seem to die too soon, e.g. Boole, Hamilton and Turing.

I think ageism lurks beneath the surface of the paleo/neo discussion. The GIS community is getting gray. A lot of fresh college grads focus on web design instead of cartography. If we can set an example by aging more gracefully maybe they’d be more interested in trying a few old school concepts. Perhaps the key to aging gracefully is to become more like architects and less like mathematicians.


3 comments so far

  1. Regina on

    I fail to see the aging comparison between mathematicians and architects. Seems you have proven mathematicians are mentally unstable and commit suicide and architects are mentally balanced. Insanity and aging I’m not sure are the same thing.

  2. Kirk on

    I haven’t done the math (out of fear maybe) but it sure seems like the lifespan of a mathematician is shorter statistically than that of an architect. I wasn’t thinking about comparative sanity.

    But beyond the lifespan issue, architects think in terms of use cases – how will people interact with my system (building) – while mathematicians search for logical purity. Crowdsourcing is messy and impure … something a mathematician would avoid, perhaps thinking if it can’t be done in 3rd normal form, then its not worth doing! An architect sees theory more as guidelines that are balanced with human factors and budgetary constraints.

  3. Daniel on

    Try breaking down the mystery of what a ‘creative’ is — one only has to reach an epiphany as to the kind of person that Leonardo Di Vinci was, and why he was so capable in his abilities. He was, or has become, many things to many — but in reality, he was quite simply the quintessential problem solver. A creative.

    There is no degree on Earth that affords one this ability, as it isn’t a learned trait as much as it’s something entirely based in passion and desire and willingness — often something inherent in their personal character. Technical knowledge can be gained in very short order when one has an eagerness to learn and to soak-up what exists, or to develop on their own if resources appear not to exist or are kept secret by those unwilling to share [usually academics, ironic as that might seem — an antithesis of the academic lifestyle, though has ultimately played-out toward this end — a dichotomy, if I might be so bold]. And one can take whatever new-found knowledge gained in the course, and utilize it to acheive the ultimate wisdom — a solution to a problem.

    The rocket scientist is not always a rocket scientist because he or she can. The faster that we stop to think and become true to ourselves and this condition — the more enlightened everyone will be and find the areas that allow them to acheive the most contentment.

    But remember — a creative can be anything. A mathmatician, or an architect. A creative can even be the person serving your food at the local diner. Don’t ever underestimate the person server your food at the local diner.

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