Saturday, August 9, 2008

No More Beef!

Tuesday marked the first day of seminars at the conference. We were out of the apartment a little later than the previous day, mostly because I knew Wednesday would be a real early one and I was in no particular hurry. Jay dropped me of at Old Town again and getting down to the SDCC was quickly becoming just like a normal commute. My first seminar was on tips and tricks - it was somewhat remedial, but I did pick up some interesting information on using extents to automatically derive location map locations.

For the second session I had volunteered to moderate one of the Society for Conservation GIS sessions. Unlike the conference rooms, this was a theater in the special conservation map gallery room. To attend this conference, I received a conservation scholarship from ESRI, so I was happy to do some work to "pay my way" in what was shaping up to be an excellent conference. There were three speakers and when I got there, the contacts were no where to be seen and I didn't have any paperwork, background, etc. I had to scribble down notes for speakers I had never met. I felt really embarrassed for the speakers because the session was very poorly attended. The first older gentlemen was "using GIS" in his work on burrowing owls in New Mexico. This guy was pretty crazy but I must admit I did learn some neat stuff. The second presenter never showed up, and then the third guy talked about coordinating conservation efforts over multiple countries to map out the domain of the snow leopard.

Lunch was perhaps the most interesting part of the day. Instead of walking up 5th street (with no one?) they had options on the sun-drenched patio for purchasing lunch plates. It was obviously very expensive for a basic taco salad and chips. I sat down next to a middle-aged European-type man and just randomly started talking. His name was Wilhelums and he was from the Netherlands. He worked for ExxonMobil and used GIS for everything under the sun (and earth!) regarding carbon dioxide. It was a real eye-opening discussion about "big oil" and the real situation out there. He was currently in Houston but had obviously worked in numerous places around the world. Explaining what I did was also a curious affair, and I didn't agree with him on everything, but at least we discussed and aired our positions. I also had my first real look at the majority of the map gallery in the Sails pavilion, which links the two upper sections of the SDCC.

The spatial analyst suitability seminar that afternoon was more of the same, perhaps a little too basic for me but I certainly deemed it quality enough to remind the entire time. I was really revived during the presentation on fundamentals of cartographic design - the instructor was obviously a pro and obviously had a lot of cartography-cred. I often struggle with this aspect of my field, since I'm not a designer by nature and obviously am feed more by the analysis side of things.

I was "outta there" pretty much right away, bound for the Thornwood complex. That night we stayed in and Jan made some great beef and noodles, but this was somewhat overload for me in turns of my normal meat consumption. They also introduced me to a bunch of TV shows I would normally not watch, such as Wipeout and tons of Food Channel-based shows.

No comments: