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Getting into GIS

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#1
jmcandrew

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I have been interested in GIS for a while, but haven't really had any chance to get into it. I have a BS in information science, and have been working as a system integrator for over 5 years now. I have been mostly working with Oracle (PL/SQL), Java, and C++. I lack any professional or academic experience with GIS, and have been trying to work on open source GIS programming to get into the field. I've been considering some masters certificate programs and a certificate program from a local community college. I have been discouraged from the GIS field because it is easier to make money in other areas of computer science. I want to continue working in programming and databases, but would like to work on more spatially oriented projects.

So my questions are:
How can one go about gaining experience to get into the GIS industry?
Are certificate programs worth the investment in both time and money?
Will I have to take a pay cut to move into the GIS field?

Also, I'm always looking for new programming projects, if anyone has suggestions!

Thanks!

#2
James Hines

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You already have some very strong programming skills that can make you successful in GIS. If your looking to learn GIS & buy a cheap but very good GIS I would strongly recommend Manifold GIS. There is the GIS Advisor that can give you the training needed to understand GIS, however where you you seem to have very good database skills & C++ programming I would strongly advise you to learn GIS integration & IMS services with C# code.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#3
Matthew Hampton

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I will pass along some advice I received when I asked a very well respected cartographer (who incidentally produces the nicest state maps in the universe), what I should do to prepare for a career in cartography.

He instantly replied "marry someone wealthy." :lol: :lol:

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#4
dsl

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Since you have the Oracle experience, you should also follow up the spatial RDBMS side. I think the express edition has spatial types, otherwise MSSQL 2008 express has spatial data types, and there is the open source alternatives MySQL, and Postgre with PostGIS. I know that a lot of big county GIS departments use big spatial databases. That could be another entry point for you. The book Getting to Know ArcGIS has a 180 day license of ArcGIS v 9.x, and that would also give you the very basics of the software. I don't know of any paid programming opportunities, but you could always volunteer for one of the many open source GIS projects. Sharpmap is a good one, but it is C#. QGIS I think is all C++ based, UDig is Java, and I don't know what MapServer is. Check out OSGeo for a list of other projects. If you don't want to volunteer, you could develop plugins for those programs. They usually have a list of suggested plugins. Check out GIS: A computing perspective for how the back end of GIS works. If you want a good introductory text on GIS itself check out Intro to GIS by chang. This is by far the best book on the subject that I have seen. It's ESRI biased for the software demonstrations, but unlike other books it actually gives the math behind the problem and how to solve it manually.


Hope that helps,
David

#5
jmcandrew

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Thanks, it seems like there's a lot of information out there. I guess I've got some reading to do!




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