I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.
I recently started playing Fortnite with my son. I knew this game was a thing a few years ago so I looked it up as my son is now mature enough to play fast-paced PVP games. Since the game is also free to play, he and I have played together weekly for about two months.
For those of you who don’t know the game, it is a cooperative third-person shooter pitting 50-100 players in 4-person squads against each other on an island map. The map is pretty cool from a GIS standpoint, but that is probably for another post.
The game started us off easy. We were low-level, and from the actions of the other players, it appears as if the game groups players together by experience. As we went up in level, however, so did the other players and the game got harder… way harder.
After we reached level 30 I noticed that there were strategies to winning. I took note and started to copy what the best players were doing. As I watched I noticed just how much success in GIS was like success in Fortnite.
Let me explain.
When you start a GIS career, you are essentially starting from scratch, level One if you will. In the beginning, you thrash around in GIS, using the same tools, same steps, and getting stuff done.
However, as you progress in your GIS career, things get harder, problems get more complex, and you are given a higher workload. To keep up you have to take notice what other GIS folks are doing and copy or innovate their techniques.
This is like Fortnite. If you don’t start noticing what the better players are doing, you start to lose, and badly. That is when I noticed three rules of success in Fortnite that were applicable to success in GIS.
Knowing the rules for succeeding in GIS is half the battle.
Here are my three Fortnite rules for GIS success.
Work as a team
GIS is not about you. GIS is about working as team to get the job done. Even the most semi-successful Fortnite players play as a team.
As GIS folks we create analysis and maps with and for other people. The best GIS is a collaboration.
In Fortnite, if you start taking damage, build fortifications. In GIS, this is the structure you have built within your GIS, unlike in Fortnite… you build this ahead of time.
I write often about the need for a solid folder, database and naming structure in your GIS. Without this foundation/fortification to keep the high ground in GIS, you will fail.
Get the best equipment.
In Fortnite, when the storm narrows the battlefield, the best equipment is essential. Full shield and full health… nothing against the best equipment. The same goes for GIS (sort of).
In GIS this means upgrading continually. A new version of software comes up? Upgrade. Cloud computing the next thing? Upgrade. AI in imagery? DO IT. Always get the best equipment.
HOWEVER… Paper always wins. Never forget paper.
As of typing these words my name in Fortnite is DrChrisGeoSci, add me if you like. I don’t know how long I will continue playing the game… it is a time drain. As far as I can tell getting good at the game is difficult, takes a ton of time, and is a completely useless skill.
It would be better to learn how to bake an amazing pie, learn to code in a new language, or even read a good novel than be good at a video game.
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