If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it is that workflows are critical to creating a repeatable, defensible process. The thing with GIS is that we’ve got to use so many different file formats and systems1. I’ve been working on a relatively simple workflow, one that must be automated. The whole process is stuck on a proprietary format by a vendor who makes Esri look like an open book. Workflows generally are very easy to automate because so much of what we do in GIS is based upon APIs. Heck we were using APIs before we know what we were working with was an API2. But too much of what we do is based upon needing a license to export a binary format into an open one.
We can talk all we want about open data formats, LAS battles and every other GIS format war we want to argue about, but in the end we are usually up against a format that can’t be cracked, can’t be avoided or contractually is required. The binary format industrial complex is strong but I refuse to be backed into these corners anymore. Time to pivot into taking down this one.
Run away from the binary file industrial complex!