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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

One of the many costs of commutingI recently offered a job candidate a position where he could work about twenty minutes from his house rather than the hour and half he was commuting currently.  The daily work was similar as his current job and I was able to offer him $65,000 per year which was a significant increase from his current pay.   Unfortunately for me, he did not take our job offer because once his current employer found he had a new job with us they offered him $74,000 to retain him at his current position!

Our rural area does not pay in same range as jobs closer to the city, so I was not able to increase my offer.  Looking at this it seemed like an easy choice, right?  They were offering him $9,000 more per year – of course he should take their offer!

But wait… was their offer really better?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

For most of my adult life I’ve dealt with an achy back. It started years ago when I worked at a pet store slinging 50 pound bags of pet food all day, and then come home to more physical work.  When I started working at a desk, I found it to be quite a transition from moving constantly to parking myself in front of a computer all day. My aches didn’t improve. I just started getting new aches like a stiff neck and knots in my shoulders.  

Around the time when the Apple watch was first released, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that “Sitting is the new cancer”.  It may have just been a ploy to promote the new smartwatch which reminds users to move more often, but there is some truth to what he said. Excessive sitting is hard on the body and is associated with many chronic diseases and conditions, including muscle strains, compressed discs, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, organ damage, and some types of cancer. One study of 794,577 participants detailing various health problems related to sedentary behavior, found the most sedentary people had a 112% increase in the risk of diabetes and a 147% increase in “cardiovascular events”. Those are some grim numbers.

You may be thinking there’s not much you can do about it if you’re required to work at a desk all day. Dealing with some of the negative effects of sitting myself, over the years I’ve researched ways to counteract those effects.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

On 30 September 2015, I gave a talk to the Southern Maryland GIS User Group titled "Interactive Maps Without Map Servers." This post consists of the slides from that presentation interspersed with my "talk track" in order to provide context.

Today, I’m going to discuss publishing interactive maps without using a map server. I’m going to do this by focusing on a specific case study for one of our customers, the US Commission on Civil Rights. This example is fairly simple and I chose it for its ease of illustration for today’s talk. Before I get started, I think it’s necessary to clear up some terminology.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Managing a team of Geospatial Analysts, and all their ongoing projects, requires a decent bit of effort for the Project Manager on one of our current contracts. At the onset, the PM would ask each GA what they were working on, obtain it verbally or via email, and manually enter the information into an excel spreadsheet. He would then discuss the spreadsheet with the client each week, noting any task updates or closures. The importance of the spreadsheet and the weekly client meetings cannot be understated; however, I believed that the amount of labor associated with tracking tasks could be greatly reduced.

I originally got the idea for semi-automating our task-tracking system during a seminar at the ESRI International User’s Conference in San Diego. A presenter in one of the technical sessions showed how he and his team built a project tracking system using python code and an open source GUI. I took some notes, and knew that any similar workflow I created would have to be built off IDLE, because downloading any new programs to my government machine often proves to be prohibitively difficult.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

While working with geospatial information, it is often advantageous to find out how close one particular piece of data is to other pieces of data. This leads to a greater understanding of the area of study. The knowledge of how things relate to one another spatially is articulated in Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography. It states that “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”