Choosing a research topic

For the first time, the Honours class was not given a list of topics to choose from. Instead, we were instructed to choose any computing centric topic, and post a discussion about it where it could be ripped apart. Obviously, the whole point of me doing this course is to focus on the computery side of GIS, so I settled on spatial data infrastructure (SDI).

There is a lot of literature available on this topic, but most of it focusses on the implementation of SDIs within the public sector. Rightly so – implementing it correctly is expensive, and once the government has bought into the idea and made their data available, private companies should follow suit.

Even then, the whole SDI topic can be very broad, as it is made up of several components. In my current role, while I would have input into all of the components, I wouldn’t necessarily have the mandate for those components. I then narrowed it down to the component that I would be responsible for: the geoportal within the SDI. I’ll be focussing on methods and challenges involved in the implementation of a geoportal as a component of a SDI within the financial constraints of a large enterprise environment.

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A proposed schedule for balancing work and studies

Now that I’m back after some time away, I have returned to a full work email inbox, a full personal email inbox, and a couple of mails in my university inbox. It’s that last one that has me worried though. I’ve documented my journey to Honours on this blog, but now that it’s here I’m feeling stressed.

There are a few factors contributing to why I am feeling this way:

  • My natural tendency to stress about something when I haven’t made a list for it yet
  • No internet at my new home yet
  • Everything at UNISA is late this year
  • I can’t use the ideas I had for a research project now that I’ve changed jobs
  • I went through a series of major changes, which I’ve actually handled really well considering I like to be secure
  • I don’t have a proper daily routine established yet

The last point is what I’m trying to sort out today. My job role has much more responsibility than my previous role, but it also has a smaller technical component than my previous job. As I go about my daily tasks at work, I will be incorporating aspects of that into my research project. This has the benefit of helping my company and myself.

This leaves me with the evenings to do the actual assignments and research. Based on my current estimates, 2 hours a day of work seems feasible at the moment, with more intense sessions on the weekends. Public holidays will be solely dedicated to research and assignment writing.