22: Ask San Anything Vol. 3

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

photo credit: @happpyal via Unsplash

And the AMA posts continue, because you guys had a lot of questions. I probably will have to continue these posts beyond NaBloPoMo, but honestly, I love it. I think quite a few of us have AMA Google Forms set up now and I think we should continue asking each other random questions, because a) they truly help us getting to know each other better and b) they provide built-in blog content! Win-win!

From Beckett:  I’d love to hear some more details about what you do for work.

I am a geographer and I work for the federal government. I work mostly on projects here in California, and as you can probably guess, a lot of them are related to water issues – subsidence, erosion, water use, water availability, and water sustainability. My focus is on remote sensing and GIS work.

Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object without making physical contact with the object by measuring its reflected and emitted radiation at a distance, which means data is collected “remotely” via laser, photography, or acoustic signal. The remote sensing platform can be ground-, airborne-, or satellite-based. I currently work with lidar, aerial photography, multispectral imagery, and sonar, and process these data in GIS.

Most people have heard about GIS, but in case you don’t know what that is, GIS stands for geographic information systems, which are computer-based tools used to store, visualize, analyze, and interpret geographic data. Geographic data (or geospatial data) identifies the geographic location of features. GIS can show many different kinds of data layers on one map, such as streets, buildings, waterways, vegetation, etc. and it helps users understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context.

So, I basically “stare” at (and analyze) two- or three-dimensional data, imagery, and maps all day. I also get to occasionally go into the field and collect some of these data myself (like GPS coordinates, or TLS (terrestrial lidar scanning) data. (I hope this answers your question?)

From Tobia: What is the last thing you crafted?

Oh boy, I knew you’d put me on the spot with this question – ha. To be honest, I have very much neglected my crafty side for a long while. I am embarrassed to say that I even had a hard time coming up with an answer because it’s been so long since I did anything crafty. The last crafty thing my hands touched has probably been my knitting. I am still working on a shawl that I started last winter (or maybe even the winter before that). Oh, and I’ve crocheted some garlands. So, there’s that.

My excuses are a) I don’t really have space to leave crafting supplies out (ever since my craft desk became my work-from-home desk) and b) that’s why I feel like I need a long stretch of uninterrupted time to get started on anything, or I won’t even bother.

From NGS: What’s your ideal Saturday afternoon?

My ideal Saturday afternoon would probably include a outdoor run or walk, a hot cup of coffee with milk, and a leisure mindset (as in, “not feeling rushed or pressured by any chores, or other commitments”) to do whatever I feel like at the moment without guilt (read, blog, craft, or watch TV). I am aware that as a childfree person without a lot of outside commitments, it might sound little bit ridiculous to say this, but I rarely feel that I have a long stretch of uninterrupted time. I realize that this might not be objectively true and is only a barrier in my mind, but this is probably why I haven’t touched any craft projects (see Tobia’s previous question) in a long time.

From Lisa: Has your thoughts about becoming a citizen changed in the last several years w/ everything that has happened with the 2016/2020 election/how covid was handled/etc?

That is a very good question. Part of me is very glad to hold a foreign passport and have a place to go if push came to shove, but if anything, the last few years have also confirmed that it was the right decision to pursue US citizenship. I would have felt very helpless and “alienated” if I hadn’t been able to participate in the last elections. I know that my vote in a heavily blue state might not have a huge impact in the grand scheme of things, but not being able to participate in the democratic process would feel way worse. I also think that lots of mistakes have been made everywhere in regards to Covid, but overall I actually felt quite okay living in California through the pandemic, as the Covid restrictions were much better here than in other states.

From Kae: What are you MOST grateful for in your life?

My health. It’s so, so easy to take this for granted, but I know so many people – younger people! – that struggle with health issues, which makes me extra-grateful for years of injury-free running and being otherwise free from any serious health issues. I think you can deal with anything else that life throws at you, if you’re healthy.

What are you most grateful for in your life?

You can submit more questions here.

  1. Oh your job sounds so fascinating! So many terms that are brand new to me (I had to look up “lidar”)!

    Very glad that you are pleased to be a citizen, despite everything that has been going on.

    1. I talk about lidar all day long, if you want. It’s such interesting technology :)

  2. The health of my family – I’m so, so grateful that my parents, siblings, husband and children are all healthy.

    1. Yes, it’s one of the most important things in life!

  3. Oh, yes. Health is so huge. PERFECT answer!!! I completely agree with you. Every time I start stressing over my “insignificant daily problems”, thinking about health vs someone living chronic illness puts it all into perspective every time.

    Besides health, I think I am most grateful for being born into a great family/ still having a really great family life now today, too. It just makes such a big difference in everything, from my education to my life skills to my experiences and happiness and more. I’m so grateful that I was born into the situation I was.

    1. I am glad you agree. Health is super-important, but your second point is also on the top of my list. I am super-thankful for my family and how close we are. I don’t take this for granted because not everybody has that, but I am so glad to know that you also feel so strongly about your family!

  4. Ooooh so that’s what you do all day! Your work sounds fascinating!!!

    1. Thank you – I hope I explain it well? It still doesn’t really tell you what exactly I do all day, but gives you an idea? I am going to do a “day in the life – work edition” post one of these days!

  5. I have very similar feelings about being a citizen.
    I am most grateful for having my family – getting along with everyone on my and my husband’s side of the family is a blessing and seeing my kids to grow up into wonderful humans is the best thing. I hope this stays the way it is for many years to come.

    1. I am glad you feel similar about citizenship. Do you also have dual citizenship? How long have you had it and was it an easy process for you?

  6. Your job is fascinating! Thanks for taking the time to explain it further.

    Having a healthy body is such a privilege! I don’t take it for granted one bit.

    1. Aww, thanks, I am glad I could explain a bit more. I always wonder what people actually “do” all day in their jobs!

  7. Your job sounds interesting and I didn’t know what GIS is, so thanks for teaching me something new.

    I agree with you about being grateful for health. I’m a bit older than you and am learning that I need to do more work to keep it, even then things can come out of the blue so I guess we should appreciate and make the most of it while we can.

    1. Oh great, I am glad that you learned what GIS is (I always assume people know, but of course, just because I know it doesn’t know that everybody else knows it… it’s so fascinating how people work in such diverse fields and have completely different “vocabulary and knowledge” that they work with!).

  8. Thanks for answering my questions! If I was you, I might have been tempted to escape the US after the 2016 election… but I am glad that you do have the ability to vote so you can be part of the democratic process.

    I am very thankful for my health and the health of my immediate and extended family. More friends are losing a parent or both parents which breaks my heart but makes me glad that I still have mine and they are in good health.

    1. The thought of escaping after the 2016 election was definitely there! ;)

  9. Health! It’s the most important thing. I make it a priority to never complain about aging because I lost friends and acquaintances at younger ages, and I know they’d be happy to be my age.

    1. Yes, exactly. I feel the same way. Every year is a gift

  10. It’s so interesting to hear you talk about citizenship and feeling like it was important so you feel like you can take some power back. I’m glad we have you as a thoughtful citizen!

    1. Thanks friend. That means a lot.

  11. I really loved reading these answers from you. I also vaguely remembered the details of your work but found it really fascinating to learn about itin more detail here. It’s such an important line of work to be involved in!

    Also I’m not much of a crafter either but I find it so therapeutic to do things with my hands when I’m given the chance.

    Also your answer about time and not having children. I totally get it because that was me for so many years. Having a child changes things for sure but don’t feel guilty for expressing these frustrations. Time is the most finite resource I think we can allsay we’d love to have more of ❤️

    1. Thanks so much for coming by again, Charlotte. I know life has been busy but I always love when your name pops up! And thanks for understanding about the “childfree” comment. Of course, I realize that I’ll never be as busy as parents, but you’re right, time is a finite resource for everyone!

  12. I LOVE that I had no clue about this posts answers. So there are still many layers to uncover of you San.
    Brilliant. I kinda new about your job but couldn’t really picture it. Now it’s a bit easier. Also the citizen questions. Sorry for putting you on the spot with my craft questions.

    Maybe I should do one of thosevquestion posts too? All note it down for 2023 – gotta plan ahead.

    1. Yay, I am glad there were some new nuggets that you didn’t know about me yet… hehe.
      I definitely think you should jump on the AMA-bandwagon. It’s fascinating to see all the questions and answers, isn’t it?

  13. I always like to hear a detailed description of people’s jobs- because usually a job description is so vague. This was interesting!
    And, yes- health is absolutely the most important thing. We can handle whatever comes our way, if we just have our health.

    1. Right? I also love to learn what people actually “do” all day. :)

  14. Gosh, I love learning more about your job! Fascinating how two people can be ‘researchers’ (such a generic term!) and yet have very, very different work lives.
    And oh, I am so glad that we have you as a voting voice in our country… every single vote makes a difference, particularly when fighting against what can only be called tyranny.
    (Please keep doing these post-NaBloPoMo! I love reading them!)

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