Tech Terminology: GIS & Mapping
Written by Alex Code, June 16, 2015
Last month I wrote about being a “tech translator.” While the biggest part of being a translator is seeing through the jargon to what people are talking about at its root, knowing the terminology sure helps along the way.
My Grandpa helped me understand language. He worked for Merriam-Webster and had a background in linguistics and lexicography (you can see some of his works here). I distinctly remember being a squirmy and distracted little kid while he showed me how to navigate dictionaries and break down words to better understand their meanings. As an adult, I wish I could rewind and replay those sessions now. Fortunately, whether I retained the details of those lessons or not, his influence has changed my perspective on words, meanings and language.
In order to stay on top of tech translation, I read a lot. Reading helps to absorb terms in an informal and more organic manner. This lays down my foundation and breadth of knowledge. Beyond browsing hundreds of articles a week, I keep a library of helpful resources. One of my favorite resources are dictionaries and glossaries. For example, one of my favorite areas of research lately has been photogrammetry.
Not sure what that is? What better than a dictionary?
Here are some of my favorites for looking up and browsing technical terminology.
- ESRI GIS Dictionary – This is generally my go-to place for looking up definitions on specific terms
- The Spatial Blog: GIS Industry Terminology – A good shorter list for browsing
- Delorme: Mapping & GIS Glossary – Another shorter list that is well organized and hits on the most commonly used terms.
- GIS Wiki Glossary – This one can be a bit overwhelming, but it has terminology that spans across core GIS terms and into programming terms. It also defines a lot of proprietary terms and acronyms.
One of these days, I’ll create a post on my favorite GIS & Mapping news sites and blogs. However, I’m hoping to introduce more technical articles into the blog in the future. Having the resources shown above will help you decipher those if you’re so inclined.
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