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GIS and Monitors

If there is one constant in my GIS career, it is my interest in the monitor I’m using. Since the days of being happy for a “flat screen” Trinitron monitor to now with curved flat screens, so much has changed. My first GIS Analyst position probably had the worst monitor in the history of monitors. I can’t recall the name but it had a refresh rate that was probably comparable what was seen in the 1960s. It didn’t have great color balance either, so I ended up printing out a color swatch pattern from ArcInfo and taped it on my wall so I could know what color was what.

I stared for years at this monitor. No wonder I need reading glasses now!

Eventually I moved up in the world where I no longer got hand-me-down hardware and I started to get my first new equipment. The company I worked for at the time shifted between Dell and HP for hardware, but generally it was dual 21″ Trinitron CRTs. For those who are too young to remember, they were the size of a small car and put off enough heat and radiation to probably shorten my life by 10 year. Yet, I could finally count on them being color corrected by hardware/software and not feel like I was color blind.

It wasn’t sexy but it had a cool look to it. You could drop it flat to write on it like a table.

Over 11 years ago, I was given a Wacom DTU-2231 to test. You can read more about it on that link but it was quite the monitor. I guess the biggest change between now and then is how little that technology took off. I guess if you asked me right after you read that post in 2010 what we’d be using in 2020, I would have said such technology would be everywhere. Yet we don’t see stylus based monitor much at all.

These days my primary monitor is a LG UltraFine 24″ 4k. I pair it with another 24″ 4K monitor that I’ve had for years. Off to the other side is a generic Dell 24″ monitor my company provided. I find this setup works well for me, gone are the days where I had ArcCatalog and ArcMap open in two different monitors. Alas two of the monitors are devoted to Outlook and WebEx Teams, just a sign of my current work load.

I’ve always felt that GIS people care more about monitors than most. A developer might be more interested in a Spotify plugin for their IDE, but a GIS Analyst care most about the biggest, brightest and crispest monitor they can get their hands on. I don’t always use FME Workbench these days, but when I do, it is full screen on the most beautiful monitor I can have. Seems perfect to me.