GIS Tech News (#75)

3 Feb, 2009

A Clear Presentation Dangerp>

Anyone can produce content that is technically perfect, but nice lines and fonts don't guarantee a good-looking or effective result.

By Art Kalinski

Several years ago, there was a "Dilbert" cartoon in which the title character was giving a talk, and he had just reached the 397th slide in his presentation. An audience member who was actually paying attention could take no more — with a scream, he passed out. Wally, who had been sleeping, examined the unfortunate soul and declared him a victim of "PowerPoint Poisoning." This may seem funny, but it strikes too close to reality.

Over the past year, I've attended more than a dozen GIS-related conferences and watched at least a hundred presentations, most of which were conducted in Microsoft PowerPoint. It's been years since this now-ubiquitous software made its entrance, yet I still find myself suffering through absolutely horrible presentations. PowerPoint has made slide creation so easy that neurotic presenters with no skills, no taste, and no judgment are free to make us squirm in our seats. I've finally reached my limit, and I feel compelled to get on my soapbox.

First, a little history from an old guy who did presentations in the early eighties the hard way: with a grease pencil on overhead projector glass. In the late eighties I was lucky enough to be at a command where the graphics department could create professional-looking transparencies or 35-millimeter slides. The slides looked good, but because of the cost and hassle involved, presenters thought through their points carefully and used the slides sparingly. Read more »

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Art Kalinski, GISP, is the former GIS Manager of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He was a career naval officer who established the Navy's first GIS. This article was previously pubilshed in GeoIntelligence Insider newsletter.


Dimension Personal 3D Printer Less than $15K

By Kenneth Wong

The Dimension 3D Printing Group, a division of Stratasys, wants to make sure you understand that its new desktop 3D printer is a personal machine -- not for a service bureau, not for sharing with the whole department -- just for you. To make that point, the company calls the model uPrint.

The machine itself was unveiled on Monday at the Dimension Resellers Conference in Anaheim, California. Priced at $14,900, it’s available to ship worldwide immediately, according to the company.

The new model stands only 2.5’ tall, has a 26” x 26” footprint, and features an 8” x 6” x 6” build area. The machine uses Dimension’s fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology to build models of ABSplus, a material from Stratasys that is said to be 40% stronger than standard ABS plastic. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

2009 Northeast American Society of Engineering Education Conference
April 3-4, 2009
Bridgeport, Connecticut
The theme of the 2009 conference is "Engineering in the New Global Economy." Topics include chemical, biological, civil, and electrical engineering. Read more »

Open Design Alliance World Conference 2009
April 27-29, 2009
Leiden, The Netherlands

The first two days of the conference will include an exploration of industry topics and ODA technology, with presentations by ODA member companies and technical staff. Read more »

Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Our sister Web site,, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.