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 Post subject: Hello from Pittsburgh
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:44 pm 
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Hi all. I'm the administrator of this forum and the founder of EnviroLink.org. I've been an environmental activist since a very young age and continue to work with non-profits and companies to help create a healthier future for people and the planet.

I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife, daughter and two dogs (both adopted from our local pound). I currently am working with a company to help bring to market a GIS (geographic information system) application that allows non-GIS experts to manipulate and view GIS data. I am working with several grassroots enviro groups to test this application and hope that it will help enviro activists take advantage of the power of GIS without having to earn a degree just to use it.

You can read more about me here, if you're really interested.

-josh


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 6:24 am 
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From what I've read of your posts, I'm glad you the site admin. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 10:02 am 
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Mr. Alpaca wrote:
From what I've read of your posts, I'm glad you the site admin. :)


Well gee, flattery will get you everywhere! :roll:

Thanks, and welcome!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:28 pm 
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Gis god i hate that stuff I saw what one of the counties in pa did with it and i don't like it. Hell they even know where every single out house is located. What all property values are and everything and its open to anyone who wants to see it.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 11:51 pm 
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Deerhunter wrote:
Gis god i hate that stuff I saw what one of the counties in pa did with it and i don't like it. Hell they even know where every single out house is located. What all property values are and everything and its open to anyone who wants to see it.


That would be my county... the system has nothing to do with GIS, though. It is just a web-based database system. You definitely would not like some of the projects I am working on, however. I wonder... why do you think that information isn't or shouldn't be public?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:46 am 
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I think that all of that information is already public, but in most counties you have to travel to the county court house to get it.

What is GIS?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:15 am 
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Its just the way i feel about it. I don't like people having the ability to see how much my property is worth anytime they want too. They also have contact info and such there i don't really want people to know all that. Just the way i am gives me an earie feeling about how much info is out there and how its so redily available to just about anyone who wants it. They way they showed it to us at pennstate the system had alot to do with Gis because everything was overlaid onto maps and airial photo graphs and such They could bring up almost any info they wanted on anyone or any property. I thought it was too much info already out there about what people have then i saw they even had all the outhouses on the map and pictures of them. That really got to me.
Deep woods your right most of that info is already public but it to a degree still makes you have to go to the county court house to get it. With some of the GIS they don't even have to do that the counties could post it on the web if they really wanted too.
Since josh works with GIS for a living i'll let him explain it to you.
For me its just i don't like people being able to know what i have, and to be able to get my phone number and all that. Now i understand keeping records of who owns what and maybe the value of it for taxing and such but i don't like it to be public. Their are alot of people that feel close to the way i do about it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:07 am 
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It is a privacy issue, or rather a lack there of. The anti-crime units say to not put your name on your mailbox because crooks can use that information to break in to your house. How is that going to help when they can get your name, phone number, address, directions to your house, the value of that house and a picture of it to boot just by checking on line? The grocery stores want to track not just what they sell but also exactly to whom they sell it through the "savings" cards. The credit and debit cards already track your purchases. Your cell phone can now track your movements and report itf you go somewhere you are not supposed to be. Your car can be tracked at any time. The list does go on and on.

Yes it can be helpful if used correctly but the misuse probability is high. For example, I purchased two pieces of property through an on line auction, I was able to access the plot plans, aerial photos, driving directions, tax value, tax status, topographical maps, zoning maps, zoning restrictions, owners names, addresses, phone numbers, and directions to their homes in a matter of minutes. I got an estimate of the timber value the next day based on this information. Because of my information on the tax status I bid low knowing I could get another shot when the tax auction came up. I won both pieces.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 10:36 am 
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I think that the idea that we have any sort of privacy these days is naiive. Type your phone number (or street address) into Google... unless you've specifically asked it to be blocked, anyone can do reverse lookups of anyone else. Based pretty much just on that information, I could then go to any number of other websites and type that information in and learn about your credit history, criminal records, professional history, civil court records, etc.

We don't have privacy any more... period. What I think we need to do is to make sure that the Government doesn't have privacy either. We need Total Information Awareness about all activities within the government that are not directly related to military/intelligence secrets. There is no reason why every meeting between a lobbyist and a congressperson shouldn't be public record. We should have easy access to information that might help to create more informed citizens.

-josh


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:07 pm 
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Quote:
I think that the idea that we have any sort of privacy these days is naiive. Type your phone number (or street address) into Google... unless you've specifically asked it to be blocked, anyone can do reverse lookups of anyone else. Based pretty much just on that information, I could then go to any number of other websites and type that information in and learn about your credit history, criminal records, professional history, civil court records, etc.


I think that was my point .... we have more information available on each and every one of us than is comfortable, especially in this new age of identity theft.

Quote:
We don't have privacy any more... period. What I think we need to do is to make sure that the Government doesn't have privacy either.


No, I disagree. I agree that the government information is as public as possible but that does not eliminate the problem with our personal information being "mined" for whatever reasons.

Quote:
We need Total Information Awareness about all activities within the government that are not directly related to military/intelligence secrets. There is no reason why every meeting between a lobbyist and a congressperson shouldn't be public record. We should have easy access to information that might help to create more informed citizens.


I have no problem with that aspect, but I do have a problem with the trend toward Total Information Awareness on each individual. If you saw the movie "Minority Report" one of the scary aspects was the ads which were changed to match the person viewing via retina scan. That is too close to reality now in the targeted commercials based on radio listening.

The internet is a wonderful thing but like the broadcast industry problem with moral issues there is approaching a point that people will require oversight and control of this information, IMHO.

_________________
With friends like Guido, you will not have enemies for long.

“Intellect is invisible to the man who has none”
Arthur Schopenhauer


"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
Albert Einstein


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 4:14 pm 
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Josh your right even the thought that we have privacy anymore is absured but it doesn't mean that we don't want it. Or that we shouldn't work to get it.


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