My name is Neil. I'm an anthropologist by training. I'm new to mapping and the GIS world. Although I had taken some introductory GIS courses in university that was over a decade ago. The coursework was with Arc 3.x on a Linux box and I must confess that I absolutely hated it. The whole thing just felt clunky to me. Flash forward to the present day and I have an 11 month old son and a job at a Tribal Council where I saw a need for GIS and mapping. While the Tribal Council had a copy of the old Arc 3.x still on hand my experience with it gave me nightmares so I took it upon myself to find a more user friendly GIS package and learn it.
I purchased a copy of Manifold System 8 64-bit and installed it on my laptop. I put about three months into pouring over the manual and playing with the software for a few hours after work each day. When I mentioned this to one of the others at work I was told that it was a waste of my time. As it turns out this is virtually all I do anymore. I've since upgraded to a far more powerful desktop for work and keep my laptop at home for the occasional mapping while on the road. I'm constantly called upon to produce maps of mines and mineral exploration within the traditional territories, or provide maps showing cut blocks with an overlay of traditional use sites etc. These are being used by the bands to manage the impacts to their culture while working with industry and development.
Given that I'm self taught, I was very happy to have found a reference to this site in a book called "Making Maps a Visual Guide to Map Design". I'm sure I'll be searching through all the posts for tips and tricks, proper techniques and blunders to avoid. I'll probably have a few n00b questions for you all as well.
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