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Thread: How important is GIS?

  1. #26
    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post

    As for ESRI being incomprehensible... GIS is an incredibly complex discipline and they've done a pretty noble job of making it understandable and user-friendly and providing a myriad of really useful tools beyond basic mapmaking. If you think ArcGIS is complicated, maybe you should spend a few hours using GRASS or Cartographica. I'm not saying ArcGIS is perfect - we all know it has its bugs. I'm just saying other firms have had decades to fill the void and I have yet to see a viable alternative.
    You must work for ESRI.....because they are just awful.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    You must work for ESRI.....because they are just awful.
    Umm..no. ESRI is pretty well put together. There are flaws (what programs don't have flaws), but doing basics is pretty easy such as adding themes, calling up info, merges, etc. Trying doing the Same thing in AutoDesk Map (a cad based program) and it takes half the time and doesn't give you the info you need on the fly. As RJ mentioned, the harder stuff is left to analyst in most organizations, but being able to perform basic GIS work such as printing maps, getting info for folks at the counter, creating mailing lists for applications,etc. are minimum requirements that entry level staff members should be able to perform without a whole one day tutorial process by me imo.
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  3. #28
    Me personally, I NEVER have had a more miserable experience in any class than I did with both GIS courses.
    I have not used them since, and god willing, I have no intention of using them anytime soon.
    ESRI could not have been more unclear, and the downright assumptions it makes for users was really an imposition.

    I have never seen a more poorly designed product. You want to do something basic, and yet, there are NO instructions, the best advice I got was "play around" with it...like I was some caveman who if I kept fiddling sticks I could "discover" fire.

    Just an awful design with zero helpfulness for the beginner.
    It was as if they said "screw you newbies, this isn't for you, deal with it."


    GIS work such as printing maps, getting info for folks at the counter, creating mailing lists for applications,etc. are minimum requirements that entry level staff members should be able to perform without a whole one day tutorial process by me imo.
    This seems to be more administrative assistant and customer service work.
    When I interned this summer at a town planner's office, this is what they did, and one of the reasons why I have no desire to do municipal planning.

    It was less about working on big landscape altering projects (major highways, convention centers) and more customer service.
    This was not what lured me into the planning field and I would hope to find a place were my workday is more focused on progressing on the study/design of a highway or convention center than what you described.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian
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    You have very high excpectations about what your ideal first job should be, and yet you are not willing to adapt to the demands by others (and yes, there have been a few guys like you on cyburbia in the past). I'm not saying you have to torture and punish yourself to pay your dues, but you need to much more open and willing to take challenges imposed by your would-be employers. One of the many keys to survival in ANY profession during this economy is a willingness to take on new skills, even if they weren't taught in school and even if you are uncomfortable with them. Basic mapmaking using ArcMap is a little confusing but it is not impossible by any means. I, on the otherhand, will eventually need to learn Microstation, a CAD program that is heavily used by engineers. How many planners need to learn THAT for their job?

    The days of learning planning skills by the book are over. They probably have been over for at least 5-7 years now. Building up an arsenal of various skills, related or not, will enable you to reach out into many areas of planning and/or other professions. If crap ever hit the fan again, I know I could eek out a living as an independent contractor. I hope that doesn't happen, but at least I have a backup plan, short of going back to school for a graduate degree.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  5. #30
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Probationary period = fail

    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    Me personally, I NEVER have had a more miserable experience in any class than I did with both GIS courses...I have not used them since, and god willing, I have no intention of using them anytime soon...ESRI could not have been more unclear, and the downright assumptions it makes for users was really an imposition.

    I have never seen a more poorly designed product. .
    Pfffft. My former profession was as a systems analyst, where I had 135 users with PCs doing many different functions. I've seen a lot of software and hardware, changed a lot of software and hardware, upgraded a lot of software and hardware, tested and installed lots of software and hardware.

    You are wrong.

    And, if I may, judging from your tiresome whining here, you need to go out and flip burgers or stock shelves at Lowe's for a while to learn how to work. You'll likely not make it out of your initial probationary period in any decent professional office with that attitude.

    Jus' sayin', lad. As have others, just not so...um...plainly.

  6. #31
    With what attitude?
    The software sucks.
    You try and learn it, but there are no instructions.
    There a million different commands with the expectation that like caveman discovering fire or monkeys typing on a PC....you will just 'figure' it out.

    My attitude is fine, and I don't need YOU judging it.
    Those were the two hardest classes I ever took, GIS is by far the one thing in skill that I clearly am the worst at doing.

    My strength is reading and analyzing, and I did not appreciate people like you with YOUR snotty attitude acting like GIS is so easy.
    I'm sure it comes easy for you, but the program is NOT straightforward whatsoever and little attempt by the company is made to make it more user-friendly for a newbie.
    I NEVER had a class were putting in time and effort still did not equal anything above moderate success....but GIS was just that.

    Absolutely zero instruction, 1000s of commands, and you call that a good program?
    Worse, you call a newbie who is frustrated by it a whiner?
    Hopefully someday you'll get confronted by a similar challenge and face similar arrogance.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post

    Absolutely zero instruction, 1000s of commands, and you call that a good program?
    Worse, you call a newbie who is frustrated by it a whiner?
    Hopefully someday you'll get confronted by a similar challenge and face similar arrogance.
    Suck it up! Many of us thought GIS was frustrating. I taught myself ArcGIS about 9 years ago, and it involved alot of my free time in college fooling around after class and into the weekends. There is a boatload of tutorials on the internet that go through the steps of basic mapmaking using ArcMap, ArcToolbox, and ArcCatalog.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #33
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Suck it up! Many of us thought GIS was frustrating. I taught myself ArcGIS about 9 years ago, and it involved alot of my free time in college fooling around after class and into the weekends. There is a boatload of tutorials on the internet that go through the steps of basic mapmaking using ArcMap, ArcToolbox, and ArcCatalog.
    It was excruciating.
    Feeling like you are 20 out 20 in the class, the weak link, the LD kid, was horrible.
    They say you make a living doing what you are good at, and what you are bad at, well 'don't quite your day job.'

    My point, there has to be planning jobs out there with minimal GIS required, because that just is not my skill.
    It's the thing I am worst at, and you are setting yourself up for failure if you choose to do for a living something which is not your strength (critical thinking/reading/analyzing) but your worst skill (GIS).

  9. #34
         
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    Invest a few dollars in a manual ESRI puts out called 'Getting to Know ArcGIS'. It comes with a tutorial disk. While the book does not get into the heavy technical aspects, it covers the basics very well and serves as a great handy desktop guide. It hasn't left my office bookshelf since I bought it a few years ago. I frequently refer to it for step-by-step instructions on how to perform various functions.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    I've worked in three different planning departments since 2001. The closest I've ever come to using my limited (one class) training: jargon. If you can use the phrase "turn on a layer" in a coherent sentence, you'll be fine.

    HTH
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Not at all. While we've explained that some GIS knowledge is good, there are plenty of planners out there who never touch it. Its really impossible to say how important it will be for you. For larger planning companies and agencies, I'd say it might not be as important, since they will likely have a GIS department. For smaller ones, it will probably be more important, since everyone wears several hats.
    Comments like this make me feel better knowing I choose planning.
    Both of these people seem to indicate people like me CAN fit it with limited GIS skills and limited GIS work on the job.

    ArcGIS is a pretty incomprehensible program, and we've always joked that ESRI makes it that way so they can sell their workshops, books, updates, etc., along with the creation of a new profession of GIS experts. If the program were more user-friendly, anyone could make maps. And who wants that, right? But really, there is a hell of a lot more to ArcGIS than making maps, but that's about 90% of what planners need from it, so if you can learn how to do some basic map-making stuff, you'll be alright, and you might even be alright if you don't know how. It all depends on the expectations of your employer.
    Nice to know somebody out there agrees with me.
    I always said, the people who design ESRI are people who could not get jobs with EASPORTS.

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