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Reintroducing myself


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#1
David T

David T

    GIS Manager, USMC, MCIWEST-MCB Camp Pendleton

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A lot has changed in my professional life over the last couple of months, and I wanted to take the opportunity to 'reintroduce' myself to the community. I used to post here on the board as 'Flat Planet Maps', which is the name of my freelance business. However, I recently changed my display name to David T.

As of March 19, I will begin as the new GIS Manager for Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. I will also be assuming the role of GIS Manager for Marine Corps Installations West (the 7 MC installations west of the Mississippi), and as the GIS Manager for GeoFi West. GeoFi is the Marine Corps GIS initiative, and GeoFi West is the GIS management of all Marine Corps Installations west of the Mississippi (this including MCB Hawai'i and MCRD San Diego, which are not part of MCI West). I am very excited about this new opportunity, and I am looking forward to challenge of participating in much bigger role in the Marine Corps GIS program. This past December, I was also awarded my GISP.

I graduated from San Diego State University with my BA in Geography in 1998. I worked for four years at a cartographic firm in central California, first as a cartographer, than in sales, before moving back to San Diego and my present position as the Environmental GIS Technician at Camp Pendleton. My freelance business, Flat Planet Maps, got going at the same time. With the move to the GIS Manager position, I am finishing up my freelance work, and pretty much shutting down the business. I just won't have time for it anymore.

I look forward to continuing to participate here on Cartotalk. It is a great community, and a great resource.
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations

#2
frax

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Congratulations David! Sounds like a cool move for you!

So does this really mean that it is finally proven that the planet is not flat, or is that still undecided... ?
Hugo Ahlenius
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#3
Hans van der Maarel

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David,

Congratulations! Sounds like the new job will bring a lot of responsibilities and opportunities for you.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#4
MapMedia

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Bravo Dave! I am very happy that the people you work with have recognized your capabilities. I hope now, as GIS Manager, you still get to make maps!

Care to share pros/cons of the Flat Planet map experience? I think you are wise though to put your eggs into one basket this time - you can only be spread so thin.

#5
David T

David T

    GIS Manager, USMC, MCIWEST-MCB Camp Pendleton

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Thanks everyone for the well wishes. I appreciate that. I'm certainly looking foward to the opportunity.

Care to share pros/cons of the Flat Planet map experience? I think you are wise though to put your eggs into one basket this time - you can only be spread so thin.


Happy to share, but there really isn't much to the story. I started Flat Planet Maps as a means of exploring freelance work. Prior to starting the freelance business, I worked in sales, so I had some background with contracts, an idea of how to market my services, and idea of what sorts of markets I wanted to hit.

There were plenty of small publishers and authors that couldn't afford bigger map companies. But I came in at a price that could meet their budget.

I also found a lot of the work I did being a subcontractor. It was important to make contacts at those bigger map companies, and be there to assist when they didn't have an in-house ability (or desire) to do a job. It's a win-win for both - they're booking at the high rate, making a little more profit by farming out inside of doing it in-house (and leaving their internal resources for other jobs), while I'm still making a rate I'm happy with.

The one regret that I had - I had a few different ideas for self-publishing, that I just never got around to working on. I'd still like to do those some day. The ideas have been bubbling for awhile. I've done some of my research. It's a niche market that I'd be self-publishing to, but one that's ripe for what I want to do. I'm pretty sure the idea would have worked. And having the steady income stream on a self-publishing project (where the updates would be few and far between, but the reprints would happen often) was very tempting.

If I were to advise someone just starting out - make contact with those bigger map companies, and work as a freelancer for them. That gets you experience, and builds your reputation in the field. I found some success approaching those some publishers and authors, and doing work for them.

You've got to manage your time - you don't have a lot of it. You can't waste time making the 'perfect map' - you've really got to stay focused, do your best, and get it done in your budgeted time. That was one of the hardest lessons I learned. The first time I did some freelance work, and wanted to make the 'perfect map', I think I ended up earning about $5 an hour on the map! Oops. That's not an effective way to run a freelance mapping business.

Remember that you're going to be doing everything - writing contracts, marketing, advertising, and, hopefully, making maps. That's a lot of work. You've got to keep filling up that basket with leads, and keep trying to get those signed contracts. I was fortunate to have a full-time job at the same time, but, if you're only freelancing, you've got to be extra-sensitive to that.

And, most importantly - when it stops being fun, time to reexamine and possibly change course.

So does this really mean that it is finally proven that the planet is not flat, or is that still undecided... ?


Still trying to figure that one out... :P
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations




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