Paper Maps

Day after day GIS staff are known for making maps. Many times we are asked to make a paper map, even during a time when electronic maps can change dynamically daily. Why? Why do we still print e-mails, PDF’s, Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets? Sometimes a paper copy is the best way to disseminate the information at stake. Most days, we stare at our computer screens more than we interact with each other.

I know when I attend the ESRI User Conference one of the main events I look forward to most is the map gallery. I can see artistry at work – and yes, critique the thousands of maps freely available to me. But each has its story and the cartographer gets to tell that story to their best ability with a piece of parchment. While the automation process of maps is efficient most days, sometimes a paper map tells a story electronics cannot.



One of the best things any person can accomplish in his or her life comes back to one word: relationships.

This past week I attended the ESRI User Conference and Homeland Security Summit in San Diego, California. This was my fifth time in attendance and by far the best experience I have had. Why? For the first time I was able to connect with fellow EM/GIS professionals and GIS professionals from my home state of Minnesota. I was also very fortunate to connect with someone who inspired me to start a blog – this blog.

Which brings me back to relationships. Relationships – professional and personal, even in today’s technology-driven age, are one the most important components in our lives. If it was not for relationships I would not have a state championship, I would not have the job I hold today, nor would I be an assistant hockey coach. All of the things that define me and that I love would not be part of my life if it were not for relationships.

With technology, we can now form electronic relationships via e-mail or social media. It is the understanding between you and those you communicate with. It does not matter how you communicate but that you do so. We do not need to be in same jurisdiction, county, state, or even country to maintain our relationships. If anything technology should allow us to maintain even healthier relationships.