My Top 10 New Year’s Spatial Resolutions for 2013
So as I write this, we are nearing the end of 2012 (or possibly the end of the world as we know it) and I thought that, just in case, I would submit my top 10 New Years Spatial Resolutions for 2013. See that play on words there?? Anyway, no end of the year would be complete without the inevitable list. You see them everywhere, pervasive within every type of media, some more entertaining than others. So without further adieu… here we go…
10. Convince myself and accept that I sometimes know what I’m talking about.
It’s been about a year and a half since I finished my education and a year since I became employed full-time in my chosen field. There have been numerous opportunities for me to practice what I was educated for. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you do know until you are faced with a challenge or a question by a co-worker or someone seeking some information. Maybe it’s a confidence thing but I need to come to the realization that I graduated for a reason, and that reason is I fulfilled all the requirements of my education. I learned stuff.
There was a time when I was driving down the highway on my way home from somewhere and for some reason it just hit me. “I’m a f#!*%(g Geographer!!” And quite the smile came upon me. It was like it finally sunk in and my brain finally convinced my emotions that it was true.
9. Make better use of social media (not for mind numbing time wasting).
Social media is everywhere. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Meetup and probably a ton that I don’t even know about. I still don’t particularly understand the concept of Twitter but I vow to try and understand it and most of all utilize that power for good. If anyone could point to a “Twitter 101” that would be fantastic. I think that since I only have it on my iPod and not on a cell there is something that I am missing.
I vow to contribute towards meaningful conversation and dialogue in the discussions on LinkedIn and to contribute to various forums such as the ESRI help forums to assist other users.
8. Network more.
This pretty much speaks for itself, however, I want to better utilized those contacts in the context of sharing information and expanding my horizons. Another goal in this would be to network more outside of the comfort zone of pure geospatial to those who maybe don’t understand the importance of geospatial information in their day to day work such as the small business owner or the non-profit organization.
I also resolve to attend more conferences and become a member of professional organizations to grow my network. URISA OC and CAG (Canadian Association of Geographers) seem interesting.
7. Better time management.
As I type away on my laptop at this moment, there are no fewer than 7-8 projects that I’m thinking about/working on in addition to my actual job. This needs to change if I don’t want to become ill. While keeping busy is good, there is a limit to the brains capability to process information to the point it becomes mush. I find myself working all day then coming home to another 7-8 hours of “work”. Then there are weekends which are another 2 days of work.
So my resolution is to slow down, but just a tad. Instead of putting 14 hours into 8 projects on a daily basis I’ll focus attention on those projects that don’t take a lot of time and can be completed relatively easily. While taking little nibbles out of projects seems like a good idea you don’t get the feeling that you’re moving forward at any great pace (Maybe that’s just me). I also resolve to take more time to relax and do NOTHING at all… maybe once every 3 days…
6. Accept that I can’t learn it all.
This is going to be a tough one…. Those who know me will atest that if there is such a thing as Geographical/Geospatial ADHD, I “suffer” from it. If I see something that intrigues me, I want to learn about it. Everything about it. There are tons of geospatial programs both proprietary and open source, why do I feel the need to try and learn them all? There are any number of programming languages that I SHOULD be learning (or brushing up on) but don’t have the time, or know where to begin. Technology changes so fast these days (man I sound old), that it is absolutely impossible to keep abreast of every change, every update, every new trick. There needs to be a balance and I need to find it. The more you know, the more there is to know. It’s a never ending cycle and the rabbit hole is deep.
5. Continuing Education.
I just realized that this flies in the face of resolutions 6 and 7 but it is important to continue the education. A professional , no matter what industry or profession, cannot afford to not invest in continuing education even if it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with what they are doing. For example, taking some small business or marketing courses. One might be surprised about how these come in handy.
4. Read more.
This an easily accomplishable resolution for me as I love to read but has kind of suffered lately. I could accomplish this by heeding resolution 7. The first on the list is a book called “The Revenge of Geography” by Robert D. Kaplan. I saw an interview with him on CNN regarding this book and it seemed extremely interesting. So that will be the starting point. I’m also going to read more about the latest happenings in the geospatial industry (if only to learn the terminology at this point). It can’t hurt to learn about where things are heading and maybe even getting a leg up.
3. Share my passion for Geography.
This will also be quite an easy (and enjoyable) resolution. As a matter of fact, I’ve already been doing it. I always enjoy the look of wonder on a person’s face when it finally hits them… Geography is everywhere and touches everything in their daily lives. It’s now time to expand the reach of the sharing (this will be covered in Resolutions 2 and 1).
2. Grow the geospatial community in the Niagara region.
It’s been about a year since officially starting the Niagara GoGeomatics meet up group. In that time the group has grown but there is still much work to be done. With the demise of LinkedIn events, emails and social media (like Twitter and Facebook) will become increasingly important in the promotion of these meetups.
I encourage anyone interested in setting up a group to contact GoGeomatics and do so. It’s a great way to network and keep connected. I’ve met some great people through the meetups and we’ve had some great conversations. Currently there are groups in Niagara, Toronto and Ottawa (and personally I’d like to make visits to the other meet ups in 2013 as well).
So what are you waiting for? Start that group in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton… “git’er done”.
1. Make GeoNiagara happen.
In conjuntion with resolutions 2 and 3, I’ve been working on GeoNiagara. In a nutshell, GeoNiagara will be a non-profit organization that has the goal to bring education, business and government together in the Niagara region to grow the geospatial community and increase geospatial/geography education. The ultimate goal is to grow/create/attract a geospatial economic sector to the region moreso than what might currently exist. We have two great post secondary institutions in Niagara College and Brock University with great Geography/Environmental programs. It’s time to capitalize on these resources.
So in short, this resolution is to make a difference in my community. Whether it is exposing grade schoolers to how cool geography is, high schoolers to geotechnologies or connecting students to potential employers, a little effort can go a long way. But there is a long way to go.
Look around you. How can you as a geospatial professional make a difference in your own community? You may just be the spark that ignites the love of all that is geospatial in someone…
So enjoy your holidays and have a happy and prosperous New Year!!!