Twenty Percent of GIS Data isn’t Spatial

OK, well maybe not but everyone has a theory about where that quote from last week came from. Here are some of them:

  1. Some professor (usually from New Jersey) came up with it in 1988 (or 1987)
  2. Roger Tomlinson coined it in the 1960’s
  3. Oracle/IBM/Sybase/Informix did a study in the 1990s
  4. Kellogg report on AM/FM in utilities back in the early 1980’s [H/T: David Sonnen]
  5. Jesus

I think this is a classic case of the old telephone game we played as kids. Eventually when you get far enough from the source, you can’t trust anything. The 80% (or any number you wish) is really just anecdotal at this point. All data is only once removed from being spatial so the number is almost irrelevant. David Sonnen put it very well on Google+:

Like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, it’s a lovely myth. If you’re trying to do real work, it’s not useful.

Oh and yes the San Francisco Giants have a 5.5 game lead on those stupid Dodgers. Yes it is happening again.


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