What is GIS? Why after 30+ years, do I feel like the field has an identity crisis?

Every “GIS” professional needs to read the three linked posts by Paul Ramsey, Brian Timoney, and James Fee NOW! Very interesting post on the state of GIS and spatial technologies.

Smathermather's Weblog

A few of great articles/presentation have come out recently(ish) on the nature of geospatial industry identity.  3 of note:

1) Paul Ramsey’s talk: Spatial IT & the Spatial Web

2) Brian Timoney’s post: If Mapping is So Big, Why Does GIS Feel So Small?

3) James Fee’s short, but (apparently) inflammatory post: Goes Without Saying

These three sources are highlighting aspects of GIS/Geospatial industry’s shifting identity.

Here I summarize their questions, or the questions they are trying to answer thusly:

  1. What is GIS?
  2. Why after 30+ years, do I feel like the field has an identity crisis?
  3. Does this mean all Geospatial folks get to drive a convertible sports car, and act out all the parts of being in a midlife-crisis?
  4. Do I feel this way, ’cause in a fixed point arithmetic system, rounding to the nearest tens, half the time my age rounds to 40?  Do I get a…

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