I can pick on James if I want to
What would blogging and the web be without ad hominem attacks?
One reminder – I do agree that sharing the data for others to see without metadata is pointless – for the same reason I ignore anonymous reviews at amazon and discard GIS data without a known source.
You know – people hurt themselves ever day with over the counter drugs and people make calculations mistakes every day with excel. Should we remove them from everyone except “professional” use because some people make mistakes.
It is not just about the cost to buy the software but the time it takes to learn the intracicies of the software before you can do it.
Sometimes all you need is a bike to get across town and not the BWM or the 18 wheeler. Sometimes all you want to do is look at a rough figure of what things look like without it being “professional quality”. Do you make graphs in excel even though it is not a graphing program – for shame. You mean you couldn’t take the time to learn R to make a graph. Did you write VBA code without taking CS classes and without learning VB first and using Visual Studio?
Seriously though I appreciate the value of having professionals do some of this work, and I said as much at wherecamp. I have been trained in that world and I have also made a good part of my living being an expert in that world. But I do not feel the need to keep the tools and the fun of playing with and visualizing data to myself. I know people will draw mistaken inference with geocommons, but I see people do it every day with ArcGIS and SAS.
Oh yeah, and one more time for the people in the back… elitist