As I was preparing this newsletter message, almost ready to hand it off to our editor, Matt Rice, it struck me that what I had written was mostly inspired by and pulled out of various thoughts from my blog. To be clear, I am very new to blogging, having been more or less forced into doing it by others, but I must admit that I am growing more and more convinced about its possibilities. As I said, I was pushed to do this as part of a small grant from my university that made my latest venture – GeoGames – possible. As part of the deal, the funding entity wanted some entries about my project for their blog. As an experiment, I signed up for an account on one of the free blog services and started typing away. Now, six months later, I keep writing entries on my own thoughts, commenting on things I come across, and putting up occasional links I find interesting. I am learning a lot through this process, not just the mechanics of handling the site, but more about my own thinking and how it relates to other work, current events, and more.
Maybe the most important discovery is the almost therapeutic effect it has as an outlet for thoughts and ideas that I am not ready to put in terms of scientific writing and possibly will never be of that stature, but that still feel relevant and important to put down. To be honest, at the outset I did hope to get many readers and followers, but right now I am perfectly happy to have a total of five followers (including myself). So, while I have never written a diary, it has become something of a diary/electronic notebook, but open for anyone who is interested. I would recommend everyone who hasn’t tried blogging to do so, especially those in academia who have civic engagement as a part of our mission. The blog could be a channel through which we can share Ola Alqvist The Ohio State University 2 our work with a broader audience beyond the academic journal readers. It is also a refreshingly fast way to get your thinking ‘published’. Who knows, maybe one day when this media is more established and metrics developed on impact and quality, a blog will make a natural part of a promotion and tenure dossier as part of engaged scholarship and outreach activities. Our newsletter and this column have been maintained over the years as a way to communicate past, current, and upcoming events of interest to the Cartography Specialty Group. There is no reason to question that need but I would like to take this opportunity to ‘go rouge’ and, without the formal approval of the group members, duplicate the newsletter online in a blog format (incidentally I actually had to fill in the word ‘rebel’ when I created the site).
This should be able to extend the newsletter to offer more frequent and timely updates as well as make it possible for newsletter readers to contribute with their comments in a simple fashion (while we wait for the official AAG community pages to become more user friendly). My hope is that many of you will take the opportunity to contribute with your own thoughts and comments on the newsletter items. I also hope that we can make it into one of the channels to keep you updated leading up to and during the upcoming AAG meeting in Seattle. The digital format also allows us new means of communication, e.g. the interactive calendar from last year is up again for this year’s meeting. As I was playing around with adding correct location to the events I quickly ran into the limitations of current “13 Percent Technology” as Mike Goodchild so pointedly described the enormous need, for indoor, 3-°©‐ dimensional, data capture and navigational support, (see http://www.esri.com/news/arcwatch/0211/future-°©‐of-°©‐ gis.html). So, until we have those capabilities the location of each session is only an arbitrary location on the site of each conference venue. As usual, we can look forward to many stimulating CSG sponsored sessions (thanks to Matt Rice for putting these together!) As a guide to assist in your planning we have again put a calendar of CSG sponsored events online. We are particularly excited to sponsor this year’s Honors Student Paper Competition (Thursday, 4/14, 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM). I hope that you all will have an enjoyable and productive meeting! Ola Alqvist Columbus, Ohio