September 13, 2007

GIS in the Rockies - NOAA and traditional GIS & GI Science tips

Some notes from GIS in the Rockies. I managed to get to this event (now celebrating 20 years) for one day. GIS in the Rockies brings together the Colorado GIS community (and many others) and offers attendees a chance to get a glimpse of the latest apps, services, and geo technologies being used by GIS professionals in Colorado. I decided to attend on Wednesday at it seemed that this first day offered the best sessions out of the two days - time would only allow me to spend one day here. At 8:30 the sessions started and ran back-to-back-to-back pretty much all day long. At first glance it seemed that people were a little confused because sessions ended on the hour or half-hour only to have the next session start immediately -- 5 minutes or so between sessions would have been quite helpful! Some of the highlights that I took away from the day:
A session by presenter William Linzey from NOAA touched on traditional GIS & GI Science and building an accurate GIS. It was sort of a primer on the technology but nonetheless quite interesting. The tips regarding data accuracy were very helpful and still hold true to this day... let's not forget about data accuracy and assumptions about accuracy - in this day of mashups and the GeoWeb 2.0 this concept is being left on the back burner! In particular I enjoyed the assumptions about accuracy that many people make. These include:
- trusting the source
- the accuracy has been taken care of
my software will ensure accuracy
- what we have is good enough
- accurate data is costly
- metadata.. what metadata?
Another set of very useful tips that we've heard before but should think about with every project were offered up:
- why is my project being undertaken (local, regional, or national in scope?)
- who's my audience
- do I need static or temporal data?
- what resources are at my disposal... human, technological?
- what funding constraints will I encounter?
- what's the project area?
- what data repositories can I take advantage of?
Once again.. much of these are a reminder of things that we should always consider when conducting GI Science. Linzey also touched on the topic of spatial reference systems and the importance of understanding the control and referencing required by your GIS applications. For more on this be sure to bookmark the National Geodetic Survey website -
More notes from GIS in the Rockies to come... A few images from the event can be found at

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