Notes From the Field

Notes From the Field

by / September 30, 1997
To Bill Mcgarigle
I found your item ["GIS Goes to School" Government Technology, September 1997] of interest and ask that you might provide me with additional information. I do field audits of radio tower locations used by the state's various public-safety radio systems. The current process is found to be quite inaccurate for stand-alone positioning data as differential correction procedures are nearly impossible for a single person to use. The FCC requires our positioning data (Lon-Lat) on radio system licensing submissions to be accurate to within one second of arc. The GPS is used only to verify a tower location and a visual interpolation then is made on a USGS map. I am sure there is a better way to do this and perhaps you have discovered this process for me.

You indicate within the sidebar of GIS Lab Equipment installed in 1995 as ... "Differential correction achieved through NGS via the Internet." I was not aware of post-correction processing data being available in this manner. Could you put me in touch with resource data or a person where this could be explored?

Feel free to reply via e-mail. I can provide you a telephone number and mail address if needed.

Preston Thomson
Associate Telecommunications Engineer
FCC Liaison unit

Contact John Lafever at 703/273-8061. He is the GPS instructor at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va., and can give you the information on connecting with the differential correction procedure through NGS.

Thank you,
Bill McGarigle


To The Editor
Your July 1997 "Notes From the Field" makes the fatal error of equating "learning" with "access to information." The section header "The Law of Unintended Consequences" seemed to promise some caution or alertness toward the results of the trends mentioned. However, this was not present in the notion that students selecting "the specific educational products they want" is somehow a magic formula for success. First, since when are self-perceived 'wants' superior to professionally experienced 'needs?' Secondly, educational "products" will inevitably be merchandised as more palatable than nutritious -- witness the evolution of T.V. network "news" programming. Similar consequences of "push" technology -- users screen out unwanted "news" -- may well produce narrow minded specialists unable to cope with cross disciplinary situations. The sentiment that "apprenticeship" is outmoded and "all but done away with" is incorrect. The nation of Germany has a vigorous widespread apprenticeship system that successfully funnels its labor supply. Apprenticeship is anything but gone. These days it's just called "mentoring." In fact, most references on employment, networking and personal success would be remiss in not recommending such a learning process. As a final point, the phrase is used "this industrial model of education." Perhaps what this is referring to, its definition and rationale, were edited out of the final published column, but available online?

Robert Press
Management Analyst
Washington State Dept. of General Administration,
Risk Management
Olympia, Wash.

Ed Note: What was actually said was: "book learning has all but done away with the apprenticeship as a method of education." It is definitely not outmoded. In fact, see our November issue on the California Mentoring Initiative.

To The Editor
Thanks for putting Gatto ["Industrial-Age Schools Fail Information-Age Kids" Government Technology, July 1997] on the cover. I read the interview. I realized that the interview didn't cover the whole context of his philosophy, so I'll probably buy his books.

I contrast his opinion to that of the GT article on pages 52-59 relating to checksheet training, and I think... "How can Gatto be so resolved towards the radical attitude? He must see the need for schooling when put into workplace scenarios. Data systems are SYSTEMS. Systems require schooling more than education. Certainly they require training in operation and perhaps also education in the philosophies behind the development of the particular system.

I speculate: He must be mad about the mass quantities of people who need to become civilized and educated, AND schooled if they are to be effective in society, yet so few take up education. And that includes CEOs. Even Ben Franklin was trained.

The opinions expressed are my own, and do not necessarily represent that of the Laboratory's management.

Corey G. Cate
Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Livermore, Calif.

Letters to the editor may be faxed to (916) 932-1470, or sent via e-mail to: Please list your telephone number for confirmation. Publication is solely at the discretion of the editors. Government Technology reserves the right to edit submissions for length.

October Table of Contents