By day, I'm the manager of an awesome group focused on helping coastal managers use geospatial technologies. Minus the paperwork, bureaucracy, and a few grumpy folks, it's a dream job.
I was born to map! Each time the National Geographic created a new map, I would pore over it and dream of the places I would visit. At 10 years of age, I had a really cool U.S. map toy made of cardboard with plastic overlays of data. The final layer was a see through relief map. It was a primitive GIS and little did I know the herald this would be for my life. I stumbled into a geography class in college by accident and never looked back. At that point, state of the art technology was pen, ink, and scribe coat. Along the way, I picked up a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in environmental information systems from The Ohio State University. I've spent time managing forestry, county planning, and GIS for public works. I’ve also taught GIS, managed computer labs and networks, and led multiple government geospatial projects.
Coming to NOAA was a dream come true. I came back to my birth city, Charleston, and now work with a crackerjack group of professionals doing GIS integration. It also opened up the opportunity for some new learning. Little did I know how little I knew about mapping the coast. Even growing up in Charleston, I never appreciated the complexities the changing tide added. NOAA has been a great place to learn.
By night, I'm mom to two incredible young women, alpha dog to two grizzled but feisty dachshunds, and wife to a pranking, volleyball-playing soil scientist. In my spare time, I hang out at the gym trying to keep fit (which, by the way, is getting harder and harder), teach English as a second language, and try to add grey matter by learning Spanish. What a long crazy ride it has been!
Are GIS geeks still fighting the raster vs. vector war of early GIS?
I recently read a Tweet celebrating Gerhardus Mercator's 500th birthday. This got me thinking about how Mercator has influenced our work on the Digital Coast. Not a subject that many people stay up late contemplating, I know, but stay with me. Even those of you who have no idea of the significance of a map projection have been greatly influenced by Mercator.
One of the questions that we often get here at Digital Coast is, “How long is the U.S. shoreline?” My joking answer back is, “How long do you need it to be?”