I am returning to social media this week after a long hiatus. In 2014 as the elections were heating up, I left the media outlets due to the tone and tenors that were evolving. As a mom of teenagers in Catholic school, I attended a parent’s assembly. The school had brought in a speaker to mentor parents and children about social media. This speaker warned our kids that digital media is a new tool that is changing our world as dramatically as the discovery of fire to cavemen. He warned 1/3 of the student population would probably get burned by this new tool before we really learn how to properly manage it. As a GIS Professional, I loved this imagery on so many levels.
Fire has currency, a mind of his own and passion to spread. Fire prevention services are municipal services that I have consulted with for over 10 years. I have tremendous respect for the protocols they have instituted within their discipline to train and protect their men and women. They run drills, they have constant training courses, they have communication protocols and schedules are moderated to watch for physical burn out or injury. It is noted that the fire services in our country are institutional bedrocks in the development of our county. There is not a GIS professional working today not familiar with the Sanborne Fire Maps from our colonial period. These maps encourage every GIS professional through the detailed attributing that was historically collected in our nations’ colonial maps. Many firemen and women have suffered to bring the current modern fire protocols. And this month, Louisiana has suffered the loss of (2) very fine GIS professionals, Dr. Josh Kent and Dr. Ezra Boyd.
A dynamic wildfire spreading is an image that comes to my mind when I think of the last 10 years of GIS service here in Louisiana. My home state has experienced dramatic GIS growth but from rapid and demanding pressure from every social media and mapping player since Hurricane Katrina. Our state needs' were so overwhelming that sorting this technology growth explosion on our landscape has been exhausting. Dr. Josh Kent and Dr. Ezra Boyd both were tireless professionals that dedicated backbreaking service to our community. The Louisiana GIS community will feel their loss. Hurricane Katrina has forever changed Louisiana’s natural landscape just a social media has and IoT will forever change our nation’s economy. We are grateful for all the technology assistance that Louisiana has received. But the testing and implementation of these tools to create a mobile connected geophysical & digital Louisiana landscape has cost us 2 admired GIS professionals. We will mourn the loss of these individuals that worked exhaustedly collecting and putting these new technologies to rigorous tests.
I know the speaker at my children’s school was not thinking about actual deaths, but rather social, academic or professional deaths. His primary purpose was to encourage our children to be deliberate in their actions and to place a premium on accuracy and actuality in their social media activities. Dr. Kent and Dr. Boyd both spent their lives in this deliberate manner inside their technical pursuits not just their social media pursuits. They have been model Louisiana citizens during a critical period for Louisiana. These gentlemen exhausted themselves to help bring Louisiana through our recovery and will forever been remembered for their efforts. Thank you both. You will forever be missed.