[gis_info] Wasteful taxpayer spending

Brian H Wilson brian at wildsong.biz
Mon Oct 15 11:07:37 PDT 2012

On 10/13/2012 12:08 PM, Jim wrote:
> Not another unneeded government meeting to talk about stuff that has
> been hashed out before.  Sewer network modeling and the modeling of
> water doesn't change.  Really?  These meetings are on the backs of the
> under employed and unemployed as well as struggling family's. Ron Wyden
> help us out!
> Jim

Disclaimer: I am a GIS software developer, not a wastewater person, and 
I spent the weekend at the State of the Map conference. Arguably another 
"unneeded meeting"?

Due to computing advances I can do things easily now with GIS and models 
now that I did not dream of trying 5 years ago. My computer would have 
curled into a ball and died if I tried. The same will be true 5 years 
from now, and these "unneeded government meetings" help us all get ready 
for it.

We are currently using GIS, LiDAR, etc to eliminate the need for some 
low level jobs literally digging ditches and some mid-level jobs doing 
field level engineering. The dollar cost benefit is direct and it is 
big. We are barely even getting our heads wrapped around what we can do 
now with these tools.

Alas the human cost is big, too. Retraining to become a "knowledge 
worker" is a painful fantasy for most. If you do retrain and become a 
GISer (as I did almost 10 years ago) you must now compete with the 
legions of GIS students OSU churns out every May for the tiny number of 
GIS positions in Oregon. I feel very lucky to have GIS work here, I have 
friends who have been looking for years now.

Most displaced workers are waiting patiently for their 20th century jobs 
to "return" when the economy "gets better". Many are banking on the next 
president to fix everything. This will not happen, because we need a 
fundamentally different approach to economics, and that's WAAAAYYYYY off 
topic for this list. :-)

If you have suggestions Jim and want to talk, you should probably write 
to me directly!

What are we to do? I have struggled with this dilemma for my entire 30+
year career in computing. We can't go backwards.

Welcome to the world of automation,

Brian Wilson
Corvallis Oregon

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