Ashley

As I have been working in the GIS field for 10 years in Maryland, I have met some interesting, talented, intelligent, and motivating GIS colleagues along the way.  Hopefully this blog series will share with you some exciting tidbits of information from each person who has touched my career in some way.

I first met Barney Krucoff at a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments GIS committee meeting in 2006. At the time, Barney was the GIS manager for Washington DC and I was very impressed with his knowledge of spatial technology and the cohesiveness of DCs GIS. When I heard the news that Barney was coming to work in Maryland, I knew that Maryland GIS would be in good hands.

  Quick Facts about Barney Krucoff

Tell me something fun about your job.
Governor O’Malley
has a special interest in geospatial technology and really uses maps and data to manage and lead the state. I bet that I’m the only state GIO who sits in his governor’s senior staff meetings. The challenge is delivering data and applications fast enough.

What is one of your favorite hobbies?
Ultimate Frisbee

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Washington, DC, and have lived in Bethesda, Maryland since 1995.

What is your favorite GIS book?
To be honest, I don’t read GIS books cover-to-cover. That said, I’m a sucker for books that use transparent pages, like GIS applications use layers, to tell a story about a place.  For example:

  • Cities Then and Now, by Jim Antoniou
  • Transparent Cities, by Brian McGrath

1. What professional organizations are you active in?
I became active in the National State Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) when I became the District of Columbia GIS manager in 2004.  Over the years NSGIC has been a great source of contacts and information. NSGIC also provides benchmarks to measure how a state-level geospatial program is doing, and a little friendly comparison between states never hurts.

Now I’m also becoming involved with the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC). Maryland is lucky to have so many professionals and students interested and active in the organization.

2. How would you recommend others get involved in GIS?
I’m amazed at the quality and quantity of GIS programs in Maryland universities and colleges.  Whether you want to major in GIS or support another specialty by adding GIS knowledge, here are some links:

3. How has GIS changed since you first started your career?
Here is some of the stuff we didn’t have:

  • Data (except TIGER and some DLG)
  • Graphical user interfaces
  •  GPS (it existed, but few civilians had seen it)
  • Email (it existed, but wasn’t widely used)
  • The World Wide Web
  • Did I mention we didn’t have any data?

4. Where do you see GIS going in the future?
I haven’t been all that good at predicting the future of GIS during the first 21 years of my career, but as they say, “past performance is no indication or guarantee of future results,” so there is hope. The obvious trends seem to be the same ones that are moving the IT industry generally:

  • GIS, more than most information technologies, was focused on the public sector. It is now mass market and consumer oriented. The public sector is still adjusting to this shift.
  • Open source software is coming on strong.
  • Crowdsourcing and volunteer geographic information are coming on strong.
  • The cloud hosting is changing business models.
  • Web offerings continue to evolve rapidly from publishing pages to publishing services.
  • Citizen expectations for presentation and quality of government data are rising.

5. Could you explain how/why GIS is important in today’s world?
We are living in a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene, aka, the Age of Man. Through development, farming, and energy use, humans are now changing the Earth itself and geologic time is accelerating. GIS helps us manage many things today (crime, transportation, health, land use, farms, etc.). What many people don’t yet realize is that now we need to start managing the planet holistically. GIS isn’t a tool in the planetary management tool box, it is the schematic.

6. Where do you see the job market going in terms of opportunities in GIS?
I see the job market remaining strong, but at the same time GIS is becoming less like magic every day.

7. How did you get interested in the field of Geography/GIS?
I was always interested in maps and cities, and I was comfortable with computers. I was already on my way to getting a Master’s in City Planning from Georgia Tech when I took Dr. Bill Drummond’s GIS class in 1990. I knew quickly that I had found my calling.

8. Did/do you have a mentor?  Who?
Many people inspired me, taught me, and helped me establish my career. They include:

My greatest professional inspiration has come from my staff at Michael Baker and the District of Columbia. They are too numerous to mention here.

9. What is one piece of advice you would give to a newbie in the field?
I have never loved the traditional five-part definition of GIS (hardware, software, data, processes, people). It is accurate but too clinical. I prefer a two-part definition: “GIS combines the power of maps with the power of computers.” Now the advice, don’t forget the computer part – particularly relational database management.

In case you missed the second installment of “On the Map,” check out my interview with Kenny Miller.


Jeremy

Jeremy Monn

The Center for GIS (CGIS) will be taking part in GIS Day this Wednesday, November 16, 2011.  CGIS employees, along with Community College of Baltimore County students, will travel to Lutherville Laboratory Elementary School this year for GIS Day.  The event, organized by Eric Cromwell (Coordinator of Elementary Science for Baltimore County Public Schools), will involve approximately 120 fourth grade students.  The students will be divided into groups and each group will complete a Global Positioning System (GPS) quiz consisting of multiple choice questions that have numerical answers (e.g. Abraham Lincoln was the [fill in the blank] President of the United States.).  All of the possible answers will correspond to marked locations on a field at the school.  Once the groups have completed the quiz, each will be provided with a Garmin e-Trex GPS unit and asked to walk to the locations marked with their answers while the GPS unit tracks their route.  Each group will then map the routes using Google Earth and if the group answered the questions correctly their route will appear as a star.

In addition to the event at the Elementary School, CGIS staff will also attend two events. For the past several years, CGIS has attended the Maryland State Highway Administration’s (SHA) GIS Day event located at the SHA building in Baltimore.  At this event, CGIS staff will manage a booth and provide information on current projects and initiatives that CGIS is involved in.  If you will be attending SHA’s GIS Day event stop by CGIS’ booth and see what we are up to! Also, CGIS will attend Central Pennsylvania’s GIS Day celebration that will feature an exhibit hall, geo-challenge, genius bar, workshop, demonstrations and plenty of networking.


Lindsey

Hello again, TU Outreach readers! After a brief hiatus, I am very happy to return to the blog, and will gladly explain where I’ve been for the past three months.

When you think of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), you most likely think of the bus, metro, light rail, or subway that you see providing transportation across the state of Maryland. However, you may not realize that there is a lot happening behind the scenes to make sure that Maryland’s transportation is safe, friendly, and reliable.

In March 2011, I was hired as the Management & Leadership Training Specialist within the Corporate Training Division of the Office of Training and Development for the MTA. I know you’re probably thinking,…“Wow, that’s a long title, and I have no idea what it means!” There’s no need to worry because it’s actually quite simple once you break it down.

As a Training Specialist, I operate as an Internal Consultant for the MTA, meeting with managers and leaders across the Agency to address any training needs or desires for their staff. For multiple departments, this means the creation and implementation of in-service training programs to give staff guaranteed learning opportunities that cater to their unique needs.

Many times the trainers we utilize are in-house; however there are often occasions when we need to call upon outside experts. This is why the MTA has built strong partnerships with Towson University’s EEOL, Penn State York, Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). These partners have a unique understanding of the MTA and efficiently work with us to design effective training programs.

I’m excited to be bringing the perspective of one of Towson University and DECO’s partners and have the opportunity to showcase the projects we are working on and the results we are accomplishing together.

The MTA is passionate in providing excellent professional development and learning opportunities for their employees. One big project that I’m involved with is MTA University, designed with several program components to enhance management, leadership, and mentoring skills. Throughout the year, I also coordinate several open enrollment courses on MTA policy and leadership topics. When requested, I assist in planning and implementing day long retreats to give MTA employees the opportunity to come together and accomplish specific goals within their department.

Overall, my daily tasks often change as the Office of Training and Development is consistently working toward providing the most efficient and effective training possible for departments across the MTA.  I am thrilled to be a member of a great team and to also have the chance of continually learning and growing. My personal tagline is: “Without the MTA, you wouldn’t have the Train in Training.”