Although I’d taken a lot of programming classes in college, I never fully appreciated
programming until I had a job that involved a lot of repetitive tasks. After amusing

myself by automating much of that job, I decided to return to school and study biol-
ogy, which is when I took my first GIS course. I was instantly in love, and managed to

convince someone to give me a biology degree for writing an extension for ArcView
GIS (a precursor to ArcGIS, for you Esri fans out there). After finishing that up, I went
to work for the Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at Utah
State University. One of my first projects involved some web mapping, and I soon

became a big fan of the open source UMN MapServer software. That was my introduc-
tion to open source geospatial software, including GDAL.

I’m fairly certain that I didn’t appreciate the power of the GDAL/OGR library when
I first learned about it, but I came to my senses once I started using it in my C++ and
C# code. In the College of Natural Resources, there weren’t many people around who
were interested in coding, but I did get to point people to the GDAL command-line
utilities on a regular basis. But then Esri introduced Python as the scripting language
of choice for ArcGIS, and things started to change. I don’t think I had used Python
much before then, but playing with arcgisscripting (the original Esri Python module)
made me realize how much I enjoyed working with Python, so naturally I had to start
using GDAL with it as well.