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SHAPEFILE I can't believe that there is no better standard that has been adopted yet. Do we really want a format that limits the field names, does not always come with a projection reference, uses multiple files, and has tables that are no longer editable in excel? ugh!!


Co-workers who won't look beyond Arc... ;)


The almost exclusive focus on tools and much less on either process or the implications of the ways in which we model data.


The way the "spatial is special" mantra is used as an excuse to build information silos.


Some people still thinking the GIS department is just a map print shop.


The way I need to suddenly be an expert on "apps", programming APIs and all sort of technical tools and acronyms just to understand what the heck someone is talking about.


Making countless maps that are ultimately useless (if you have or currently work in the Public Sector you will know this).


In 15 years of answering GIS questions on listservers and, now, Web pages, I have noted some recurring issues that suggest a need for practitioners to learn certain specific computing concepts. None of these are deep; all these are well known; but all seem to be common deficiencies in the background or understanding of a significant minority (majority?) of ...


GIS is a technological discipline, not a software package Personal and File geodatabases are not adequate replacements for the shapefile. A better interchange format is needed. (Even just zipped up SQL statements) A licensing or certification process wouldn't be a bad thing. Engineers have it, IT folks have it. It should be used to guarantee competence and ...


The assumption, especially in Government bodies, that the software costs money. Too many organisations assume they need to buy expensive solutions because GIS can be complex - yet, as is often the case in software, the reference versions are almost all opensource. If Government users spent a small percentage of their license fees supporting projects like ...


When GIS Software Support is slow and useless as a 'chocolate teapot' some vendors charge high maintenance fees and 90% of cases cannot fix or solve the problem - they come to the statement of it will be FIXED in the next available upgrade/service pack. Which not a satisfactory conclusion when clients wants it solved yesterday.


Inaccurate data. People will always blame the messenger.


Products not listing what they don't support - either because they haven't implemented yet or never plan to. Too much has to be read "between the lines" of the marketing material on what is and isn't supported.


I disagree that there are only two options in the GIS industry on a number of levels. The first is that there are many other well established commercial GIS offerings other than ESRI SmallWorld, Bentley, AutoDesk, ERDAS, MapInfo, Integraph and Idrisi spring to mind without thinking too hard. You say they have a market share "well below" ESRI. ESRI ...


The fashion in the industry that's making everything that we used before obsolete, on every new trend that comes along. A bit like Ivar Jacobson is writing in this blog post: Are we working in engineering or in a fashion industry??


People who think GIS is someone who uses google maps a lot.


The lack of standards in GIS positions and pay scales. Ie. paying someone with GIS development experience the same as a GIS Technician.


I would not compare GIS to a programming language. A programming language is a tool that can be used to define your business process. "Perform these steps in this order, making some decisions as you go." GIS is more abstract; rather than being a tool to define a process, it's an entire branch of tools and methods that manipulate data that have location. ...


ESRI's been around for a long time, and essentially helped invent the term "GIS". There are other big players, but they often come from a different angle (i.e. AutoCAD Map 3D, or Intergraph/Microstation). Increasingly all these different dominant players in the maps/drafting/design world are starting to overlap and come together, but they still hold their ...


For me, as your question suggests, I use Python a lot for automating batch processing in particular but also for creating any repeatable specialist calculations. These days I don't use ArcPy because I can't afford the ESRI licences as a freelance GIS Consultant. I use GDAL/OGR, Shapely, PostGIS, Numpy and SciPy a lot, though everything in my list could be ...


I graduated from an ESRI-centered program in which the faculty did a pretty nice job separating concept (lecture) and utility (lab). My primary weaknesses upon exiting academia were: 1) I had no SQL skills, no knowledge of basic database principles; and 2) I was unprepared for the programmatic pre-processing required for most data sets. I recommend a "data ...


Even if the university uses ESRI, I would recommend introducing, or describing open-source equivalents. For one, it's much easier for students to install QGIS on their laptops than ArcGIS if they want to test out opening a shapefile as QGIS is significantly smaller (ArcGIS 10 is 2 - 3GB) and students do not need an internet connection. My university has ...


To answer the question: Why no industry standard product from any established software giants? The problem is you appear to be begging the question. There is an industry standard product from an established software giant. They're called ESRI and being founded in 1969 they easily predate Microsoft (1975), Google (1998), Oracle(1977), and Apple(1976). The ...


I'm seriously late to this party, but since the software side is well covered, I'll touch on the knowledge side. What bothers me about the industry is the lack of attention to the "Geographic" portion of GIS. The university programs and classes are more and more focused simply on how to use software, in many cases, ESRI software here in the U.S.A. Once ...


The lack of layout / composition possibilities. GIS packages permits spatial data analysis, but not their beautiful presentation on a page. Also the thematic cartography tools were not adapted or scientifically correct (think about area proportional symbols), but that's improving.

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