James Fee

I can't remember who I was, but I can read about it.


A couple years ago (holy smokes, 10 years ago), I wrote a Perl script that took all the blog posts I wrote at Spatially Adjusted (if they exist) for a certain day and send me a morning email for my review. At the time I did this because some content I wrote was good (few, but some) and it was always good to revisit it. But as time has gone on, I feel so disconnected from the person who wrote those blog posts.

I was thinking about Planet Geospatial and how much I enjoyed reading it. It’s just not that world anymore, people just share thoughts on Twitter or LinkedIn (or whatever social media platform the kids are on these days). But that content, those blog posts, those people, those commenters was pure gold. Sure, there are things like #GISChat, but if you were there from 2005-2014, there was something happening.

No, I’m not bringing Planet Geospatial back, even if I wanted to dust off the old Perl scripts, the content just isn’t there anymore. But we just aren’t the same people anymore. No longer do we sit at a text entry box and sweat the details of what we write, no it’s one line and a GIF, a meme, or some other jerky comment. Hell, I think 60% of my tweets are a GIF only response. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, just that I don’t have anything to say in 280 chars.

I guess that’s why I’m blogging again, to try and put some thought into things, but not feel like I must write something long (despite what you are reading right now). I feel like doing what I want to do, other than worrying about what GIF to attach. But back to the beginning of this post, who was that guy writing all that content. The posts come across my screen, and I know I wrote them, just that I’ve come on such a journey, it all seems like someone else wrote them. And maybe that’s OK, because we grow. Or maybe we grow a shell on ourselves, hiding away real thoughts behind a GIF.

I think that’s it, what Spatially Adjusted showed is 100% true me. The humor hiding insecurity, the want to discover what others are doing, learning by sharing, friendships and honest to goodness, just laughing at the seriousness of ourselves. I guess that’s still me, “doing GIS”, helping customers do more with location technology, while enjoying the shit out of it. I’m not dying here, nor am I taking a job as a manager at the McDonalds. Just wondering where this road is headed, probably someplace with a map for sure.

As my son starts his journey in Geography and GIS, I have almost my whole professional life in a blog for him to follow. I was 32 when I started, 18 years of me for him to read. But honestly, he knows all about it. He went to the conferences, heard me on the phone talking, watched me blog on the couch, saw me move from company to company in search of what drives me. Someone said to me my CV must be long by this point in my life. It sure is brother, it sure is. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Yet, I still read that email every morning and wonder what they heck was going on in that authors head. I can’t remember anymore; I just see the text. Seems like a fun guy.