Shapefile, the vinyl of geo

Shapefile, the vinyl of geo

So I made this t-shirt to celebrate my love for the shapefile — the vinyl of geo. I was promptly labeled a luddite.

I am not a luddite. Far from it. I store all my data in PostgreSQL, and use PostGIS and QGIS like any self-respecting geohipster. I dabble in Python and JavaScript. I write SQL queries.

But I also live in the real world. I make maps and print them. I export them to PDF. I exchange data with other users and organizations — most of them casual GIS users. And these users (and their applications) only know and understand the shapefile.

Casual GIS users will continue to use the shapefile because it is simple, convenient, and universally supported. It just works. To call for the abolition of the shapefile is akin to calling for the abolition of the .xls(x) format on the grounds that people erroneously use it in lieu of “legitimate” databases. Millions of people.

Let’s be real and call off the shapefile vendetta. There is room (and need) in the geoverse for both PostGIS and shapefile. Why not just buy yourself a “Postgres is my databae” or “I ❤ .SHP” t-shirt to show where you stand? You’ll look hip, whichever you choose.

Facebook_Postgres_SHP_ad

 

Thirteen years on social media is enough

In the beginning there was Flickr. The year was 2004, and there weren’t too many people online, and Flickr would crash daily around 5pm Pacific, and it was an intimate and beautiful experience.

Then came the trolls, and the marketers, and Yahoo! came knocking, and Yahoo! bought Flickr, and ruined it. And I moved on.

On to Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Google+, and Instagram, and Reddit, and Ello, and Mastodon…

Enough.

Social media has given me countless hours of enjoyment, broadened my horizons, helped me make many new friends. For all this I am grateful. Yet, after thirteen years of very active (excessive, according to family and friends) participation, I am ready to scale back. I am ready to reenter the analog world, eager to rediscover its beauty.

I am not unplugging; email still works on all my devices. But I look forward to spending a lot less time online.

See you IRL.

On the Staten Island Ferry

On the Staten Island Ferry