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How to feel connected to the GIS “World”

Your level of everyday work in the GIS industry can help you feel connected to the rest of the spatial community. Obviously some jobs are much better at this than others. Attending conferences, training and interacting with others in your field can help this feeling. But who cares and why should they care? In my opinion everybody in the industry should care to some extent.

I receive quite a few new ideas on how I can do my job better by exposing myself to others; a new perspective can help. Associations such as The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) can also help you interact with others in your field. Interacting with the industry has a positive effect on my level of excitement for things spatial; I am invigorated.

For myself, I find conferences and off-site training the most invigorating. However, both of these options can become quite expensive and as a consequence I do not utilize them often. Blog RSS feeds help bridge the gap, such as Planet Geospatial. Through my school I can go through online ESRI training. However, the best low cost method I have found is the A Very Spatial podcast.

During my last couple cross country trips I have loaded twenty plus hours into my car and listened to the show for hours at a stretch. This constant information stream bored my wife and kids to tears but invigorated my dedication to things spatial and helped me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself.

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