Spring Semester 1997
The first presentation was about map automation. I did not really understand the point of this presentation. I think the basic conclusion was that in GIS your output is only as good as your input. But isn't that true about evreything??
The second presentation was about the Creation of AM/FM/GIS System in GPS.
I thought the speaker would go more into detail about how GPS is used to digitze maps to be used by GIS.
However, he did not do so. Instead, he talked about what kind of data could be digitized.
But, he did not even do that well. It seems like he talked for 30 minuters to basically say that GPS could digitize points, lines and arcs.
I was looking foward to this discussion. I recently bought my dad a hand held GPS device for sailing, and its a very neat instrument to play with. I was hoping that he could have helped me better understand the link between GIS and GPS. Also, even if you've had the opportunity to play with a GPS, it is intriguing to know how they really worked. It would have been neat if the speaker had shown a diagram of how a GPS links to a satellite to give you a global position.
The third presentation was about spatial hydrology in the City of Hurst, Texas. I was also looking foward
to this presentation because I wanted to compare what we have learned at what we do at the CRWR with
what is done in the real world. Once again, I was disappointed. The speaker showed how they had
used ArcView to show head pipe diameters, head losses, and such things. The speaker explained how they
had gathered all the data from the different branches of the city government. The work they did was nicely done.
However, if you consider that it took one and a half years, and several contracts with consultants to produce what most of us
here do in a semester project, it wasn't that impressive. Furthermore, the ArcView layouts that the speaker presented were very poor and really did
not demonstrate the visual benefits of GIS.
But what I thought was funny is when she tried to run an ArcView Project on her computer which was connected to the an overhead projector. She tried to run a script which would automatically tell you the diameter of a selected pipe. When she pressed on the toolbar to run the script the message " Can't Find ActiveTheme " came up. She told us that the script wasn't working and went on to her next slide. Granted, she might have panicked a little in front of the audience, but I thought it was a bit strange that a person with a Master's Degree in GIS and the manager of this project did not know to simply select a theme before running a script.
Now you may think I'm being very critical. But, I can honestly say that the class presentations for CE 397: GIS in Water Resources are much more impressive than what I saw at the conference. When I see some of the things that my fellow students do in a course of one semester, I am impressed. When the speakers I heard presented their projects, and you consider the amount of time, consulatants, contracts and money they have spent, it really isn't impressive.
Now, I will admit that maybe it is coincidence that I attended the wrong session with bad presentations. But I would definietevely change the name of this session from GIS in Action to GIS in Hybernation . But it was still fun to go to this conference. It made me realize that only in a university can you have a setting for true research and innovation.