Wisconsin Geospatial News

Lets put geography back in geospatial

I don’t know about you, but I always have a hard time explaining to friends and neighbors what I do for a living. I usually start out with the pathetic “I do stuff with maps and computers” line, knowing that eyes will glaze over if I try to explain GIS, or the finer points of the geospatial industry. I have to quit dreaming up complicated explanations for a simple idea– people like maps, and more broadly speaking, geography.

So, I thought I would try something a little different this Bulletin, and write articles on two less-serious-than-usual subjects: geocaching, and a book published in 2005 called “Fun with GPS.” I know most of you reading this understand the Global Positioning System, and have likewise heard of geocaching. But take a little diversion, and remind yourself that geography is fun!

Now back to the serious stuff. Check out our article on the National States Geographic Information Council’s “Imagery for the Nation” proposal. It’s a bold vision, but if funded, it will have a significant impact on future imagery acquisition projects in Wisconsin.

In the coming months, you’ll hear a lot about the WLIA Coordinate Systems task force, and their work on redesigning the Wisconsin County Coordinate System. In order to more clearly delineate the old and new, the task force recently introduced the name “Wisconsin Coordinate Reference Systems” (WISCRS) to collectively refer to the new, redesigned county projection parameters. Watch for a future article in the Bulletin for details and the latest news on this effort.

Lastly, news of a somewhat disturbing land records-related snafu crossed my desk last week. Picture this: through an series of unfortunate mistakes, the value of a modest home in Valparaiso, Indiana is valued at $400 million. Nobody catches the error until the mortgage holder’s bank receives an $8 million tax bill. Meanwhile, the local school district and government officials have already included the mysterious windfall into their budgets. Ouch. Read the full Chicago Tribune article for a shocking account of the details.

I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to meet many of you at the upcoming WLIA annual conference at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells. Stop by the SCO booth in the exhibitor area to say hello!