By James Fee

SpatialTau - Spatial Reasoning and How We Understand Our World





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I hate to be the guy who starts off a newsletter with, “back in the old days” but back in the old days we were more organized. I feel like with the advent of tools such as Slack and Google Drive, we do not spend the time to file things away like we used to. Search or at least the promise of search has taken that problem away from us. Yet we are all frustrated with trying to find that important Slack conversation or what was the Google Spreadsheet you opened 3 weeks ago with the project rates you need this minute. I think we struggle because there is no spatiality to storing data those ways. Maybe it is a time exercise, remember when you saved or wrote something, but spatially you do not recall where it was placed.
Navigating to p:\projects\client\project_name\data\ has spatiality to it. While the files exist in a digital format, you still mentally file it away in that card catalog (do people even know what that is anymore) in your mind. Much like you put your project files in a lateral file cabinet in the office, you know exactly where to look and even if you can’t type the path completely from memory, spatially you can get there. But with how most people save data on cloud drives, the only way to find something is either search for the title or get lucky that the service indexes the files themselves. And if the files are shared, good luck sorting by dates because who even knows when something was opened.
Personally, I think that is why I like spatial data so much. That underground utility as-built? It has a location. That wastewater treatment leach field? It has a location. That 5G antenna? It has a location. Regardless of where the data is, if you spatially index that CAD, BIM, GIS or spreadsheet, I can find it because I look at data spatially. My wife calls me rain man for navigating in that I can be in the middle of the back seat of a minivan and still be able to figure out where I am and how to get back to where we need to be.
I mean you get it, right?
I mean you get it, right?
Even coding is spatial in nature, things are where they are in the code because they must be, or things just do not work. If you drop into even the most complex code, you instinctively know where to start looking to understand how and what things are doing. Years ago, one of my mentors who taught me how to code said the world is just make up of 1s and 0s. I mean a very Matrix moment, but he is right. The world is a raster, the resolution of our perception of the world changes depending on the topic. I might have an amazing resolution on baseball stadium locations but poor resolution on Java programming. In the end though, these rasters are how we navigate our world and the perception we have of it.
Fun to think of how much maps govern our world and our actions.
Google Maps is getting a lot more detail
Digital Twins: An Important Next Step In The Data Economy
California Fire Map: Tracking wildfires near me and across San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Northern California, Central California and Southern California
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James Fee
James Fee @jamesmfee

Spatial, workflows and technology

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