A GIS Degree

My son decided to change majors from biodesign to GIS. I had a short moment when I almost told him not to bring all this on himself but then thought differently. I could use my years of experience to help him get the perfect degree in GIS and get a great job and still do what he wants.

He’s one semester into the program so he really hasn’t taken too many classes. There has been the typical Esri, SPSS and Google Maps discussion, but nothing getting into the weeds. Plus he’s taking Geography courses as well so he’s got that going for him. Since he’s at Arizona State University, he’s going through the same program as I did, but it’s a bit different. When I was at ASU, Planning was in the Architectural College. Now it’s tied with Geography in a new School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning.

I have to be honest, this is smart, I started my GIS career working for a planning department at a large city. The other thing I noticed is a ton of my professors are still teaching. I mean how awesome is that? I suddenly don’t feel so old anymore.

I’ve stayed out of his classes for the past semester in hopes that he can form his own thoughts on GIS and its applicability. I probably will continue to help him focus on where to spend his electives (more Computer Science and less History of the German Empire 1894-1910). He’s such a smart kid, I know he’s going to do a great job and he was one who spent time in that Esri UC Kids Fair back when I used to go to the User Conference. Now he could be getting paid to use Esri software or whatever tool best accomplishes his goals.

I plan to show him the Safe FME Minecraft Reader/Writer.



I started the PHXGeo Meetup group way back in March 2013. It actually wasn’t the first version of PHXGeo, that was started in November 2010, and that group actually put on the first and only WhereCampPHX. You can see what it looked like back, then. When I left WeoGeo in 2013, I decided to move from that WordPress site to Meetup to better help run the group. Eventually, I turned over management of PHXGeo to Ryan Arp sometime in 2016 and set off to the land of CAD and BIM. He’s done a great job keeping it running along with the help of some great volunteers which warms my heart.

There was a meetup last week, but alas with my foot I was going no where. But I am excited to engage the local geography group again and hopefully help them continue to grow it. If you live in the Phoenix metro area, make sure you join the meetup group so you can learn more about what they are up to and when the next meetup will be. Don’t forget, State of the Map US 2020 is in Tucson this year so there is more reason to get excited about Geo in Phoenix.

I still control the PHXGeo twitter account and domain, so if you aren’t a meetup kind of person, look at those and they’ll be updated with the meetups.


Title Graphic

The title graphic on the top of this blog was found online at the USGS.

Historical Photos of Geographers at Work

The photo dates from circa 1925. I’m going to change the graphic monthly to a different interesting image that somehow relates to GIS, mapping or programming.