Amateurs: STFU

I'd love to see Jeff Thurston debate Larry Lessig on the merits of "The Cult of the Amateur".

The gall of people (like me) with no GIS certification -- no authority at all -- writing GIS software! And poor suckers are actually using it! This can only lead to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria.

Update: as if to underscore how unreliable and amateurish we bloggers are, Jeff Thurston seems to have abandoned his GeoVisualization blog and started a new one. No redirect, no link to archives. Gone. His deleted post expressed great admiration for Andrew Keen's thoroughly dismantled and disparaged book, "The Cult of the Amateur".


Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Yves Moisan

"Thanks to somebody in the world, ... not any expert at all in formal terms, just an expert, just one of those real experts, that is to say, a human being thinking clearly and carefully about something of importance." Eben Moglen @ Holland Open Software Conference 2006 ( Experts aren't always where we think they are.

Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Bill Thorp

GIS is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Old Testament, real wrath-of-God type stuff.

Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Jason Birch

No, it's just going to fizzle out and become another desktop publishing application... :)

Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Fantom Planet

I just hope no one misses me. If so, feel free to paste my pic on a milk carton with the GeoVisualization blog.

Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Matt Perry

Only a small percentage of GIS professionals actually have GIS certification. What matters more than formal certification is experience and fundamental knowledge. I've run across far too many people who claim to "do GIS" and don't know what a datum or projection is, don't understand the difference between vector and raster data models, aren't aware of scale issues, cartographic conventions, classification methods, etc... I bring this up not to say that amateur mappers should have to pass some minimal knowledge test in order to create maps .. heck create as many maps as you'd like. I plot my favorite bike rides on google maps with very little regard for the "professional" quality of the data simply because I like to see where I've ridden. Hobby maps are fun! But when it comes to critical applications (eg GIS data that may need to be defended in a court of law, published in a research paper, etc), you'd better believe that I expect a minimal level of competency in the people involved in the software and data used in my analysis. I don't need to see formal credentials, just some reassurance that those involved in the process have the background knowledge that is crucial for creating high-quality geospatial data and apps.

Re: Amateurs: STFU

Author: Sean

Matt, I agree. More here.