An example of inefficiency

This incident happened to me about 18 months ago, but I still can’t quite believe it. Over the years, from dabbling with computers for fun, to studying them, to working with them full-time, I have had to find solutions to many problems. Often, these solutions would involve workarounds of some kind, or using a group of various tools to solve the problem.

On this particular day, an engineer from another unit asked me for a basic locality map – just a point overlaid on imagery showing the study area, with three labels. Very simple. I was about to ask him to send me a kmz file of the area when he said he would email me the map that he had created. Hmm.

I opened the JPG while he came to my desk to explain his workflow. See, he had snipped a piece of the imagery from Google Earth and pasted it into a Word doc. Next, he added labels using text boxes, then made a screenshot of that and pasted it into Paint so he could save it as a JPG. Also, he wouldn’t really be asking me to do it because he had already spent a few hours doing that, but because it was going into a report, it needed to have the correct imagery in the background. That should take me five minutes to do right?

So to recap: an engineer, who gets paid at least double what I do, spends a few hours hacking together a map using a barebones GIS viewer, a word processor and a barebones graphics programme. Out of necessity, he asks me to redo the “work” has done, and prescribes a time frame for how long he thinks my work should take.

The same task would take me about 15 minutes to do correctly and neatly, adhering to cartographic principles and corporate policy, using the professional GIS software that I have as a result of, you know, being a GIS Professional.

Needless to say, when I sent the map to him half an hour later, I did not receive an acknowledgement email (and definitely no thank you email), nor did I receive a cost code for the time I had spent fixing his “map”.


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