Consuming GIS Technology News Builds Your Data

GIS technology changes so rapidly that a new solution or application seemingly hits the market every week. And, in addition to earning a GIS degree, being informed about the ever-changing technology and how it impacts society can help one land a job.

In August alone, half a dozen new solutions were released by significant companies. Just imagine if you knew about these new solutions in passing conversation with a potential employer. Meanwhile, GIS technology is entrenched in the everyday news. As referenced in this American Sentinel University blog post, “GIS Technology Critical to Managing Japan Disaster,” GIS helps people during disasters.

[event tag=gis] GIS is saving lives and is being used every day by everyday people. And, the more you know about the technology and how it’s changing the world, the more prepared you are for the job market.

Just as GIS technology takes data and inputs it into maps, you should be inputting public information about GIS and using it to build your career.

Here are six tips on how to do that.

Build Google News alerts
Traditionally, newsreaders picked a publication and then looked for headlines that interested them. Today, Google spiders crawl news sites and Web blogs, searching for news, and can send news directly to your email inbox.

By signing up for alerts on Google News, you can receive weekly, daily or as-it-happens email alerts on any topic that interests you. For GIS, good keywords would include GIS, Esri, spatial data and geographical software. By reading about GIS in the news, you’ll see the trends before many others do.

Read Industry Publications
As with any substantial industry, GIS has several online and print trade magazines that cover the specifics of the GIS industry. Many are free, but contain excellent articles. Here are a few interesting magazines to consider adding to your reading list.

  • Profit Magazine – Published quarterly, Profit Magazine is distributed to more than 110,000 C-level executives and gives an overall look at how business leaders turn technology investments, including GIS ones, into profitable advantages. Free subscription through GISLounge.com.
  • NASA Tech Briefs – The monthly magazine features exclusive reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors that can be applied to develop new/improved products and solve engineering or manufacturing problems. NASA frequently covers GIS topics. Receive a free subscription here.
  • ArcNews – Exclusively covers Esri solutions and how they are used. It’s an extremely informative magazine that delivers relevant GIS content. Receive a free subscription.
  • Journal of Geography – The Journal of Geography provides a forum to present innovative approaches to geography research, teaching, and learning. The Journal publishes articles on the results of research, instructional approaches, and book reviews. It frequently covers the impact of GIS on geography. Visit here for subscription information.

Join Industry Web Forums
After GISLounge.com recently announced the closure of its online forum, Forums.ArcGIS.com stood alone as the most most-widely read industry forum with more than 64,000 members creating 37,270 threads and 130,000 posts. LinkedIn also offers public and private groups that are beneficial. Just search for “GIS” under groups and more than 1,000 public and private groups will appear. However, most GIS LinkedIn Groups have little participation despite having large memberships.

Download Free Apps
On the iPhone alone, there are more than 100 free GIS Apps, including ArcGIS, iGIS, Lynx Geosystems CalQuaks, WolfGIS and Esri My Place History. Each of these offers different GIS technology solutions, but always keep you tapped into the industry.

Follow the American Sentinel LinkedIn Group
The American Sentinel University Information Technology LinkedIn Group keeps you tapped into relevant information and presents an opportunity for classroom-like discussions. You can start your own conversations or contribute to one already started. It’s a great place to find out what your peers think about topical industry information.

Pay close attention during disasters
GIS is at its best during disasters. Any time a hurricane, tornado or earthquake hits, watch the news. All the maps major television networks and magazines are using are derived from GIS technology. In addition to tracking the news during a disaster, you should follow Esri’s website. The GIS software firm typically maintains a disaster map, using Twitter and Facebook feeds to track damage like this one for Japan.

This is the second of a three-part series that is leading up to Esri Education Manager Dr. Joseph Kerski’s Top 5 Skills You Need to be Successful in a GIS Career webinar Sept. 27

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