GIS People on Twitter

Update: “The GIS Forum” mentioned here is no longer online.

If you haven’t seen Allan Laframboise’s excellent presentation from the DevSummit on the GeoWeb Community, I highly encourage you to check it out. It includes some poll results with very surprising data about the use of social media (or lack thereof) by GIS developers.

One of the resources that he mentions near the end is the GIS Forum, which has been covered by others. I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight, in the spirit of Allan’s presentation, the growing list of GIS folks on Twitter that is being compiled on the GIS Forum. It can be found here.

I personally find Twitter to be an invaluable resource. I also find the GIS Forum to be a nice complement to it as a means to support more detailed discussions that may spin off from Twitter interaction. If you’re just getting started on Twitter (or doing your homework that Allan assigned), I suggest checking out the list to build your community quickly.

7 thoughts on “GIS People on Twitter

  1. at the moment my “company” is a state government, which possibly has good reason for not trusting many of its employees not to fritter away their time on Facebook!

    I can kind of sympathise with the IT department’s decision, even though it’s frustrating to me personally.

  2. Granted I’m self employed, but if a company doesn’t trust me to use technology – the *very* thing that gets me jazzed and motivated – then, sorry, I’m moving on. Good management will see much greater benefit in praising / promoting good people and talent rather than reprimanding bad behavior. And the people that do negatively take advantage of their freedom will filter out of the company soon enough. Cultivate a positive environment and you’ll get positive results.

  3. Good comments. The use case for people that can’t access social media at work is real and we heard this loud and clear in the comments section of the survey. That’s why we went to lengths to RSS-enable our Facebook pages and so on. This way if you can’t access the site at work, then at least you can tune into the conversations via your RSS reader. That is of course, assuming you are allowed to access your feedreader at work! 🙂

    Another thing you’ll notice is that most of the content published on these sites simply links back to a resource on So, we are simply leveraging the networking and sharing capabilities of these sites to get the message out. What you will be missing however, are the comments and conversations that are generated by these networks after the information is published. Sometimes this is valuable to a wider audience; sometimes not. Either way, I guarantee you that someone, somewhere is benefiting from the conversation. This is where the true power of social media is realized.

    To be honest, this is a very complex topic and I could write for hours, but one thing is for certain; the more we people we connect with, the more we can share information, and in the end, the more productive we can all be at our jobs. To me, that’s all that matters. I don’t care what tool I used.

    And as far as the usefulness of the various types of media out there, the bottom line is that the software and information needs to bring value to you in some way. Some people find value in Twitter, some don’t. The thing to keep in mind however (especially for Twitter) is to make sure you are using all of the tools out there. I thought Twitter was useless until I installed and configured TweetDeck. Now it filters out all of the noise and gives me the exact information I want. It’s also pretty much replaced my RSS reader as well…

    That said, please feel free to send me any comments on this, the topic of social media, GIS community development or the presentation itself.

    @AL_Laframboise or

    Cheers and thanks for your feedback.

    EDN Team

    Author of GeoWeb Community Development: How Web 2.0 are you?

  4. I will grant you that. I support a number of organizations like that. Facebook is a non-starter (and I don’t get nearly as much value out of it for work anyway) in those environs but I’ve been able to demonstrate the value of Twitter as a real-time feed of relevant information. But, admittedly, that approach won’t fly everywhere.

  5. Part of the problem is that many GIS organisations are fearful of social media – most of my colleagues can’t get onto Facebook or Twitter at work.

    It’s a very different attitude compared to mainstream IT.

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