Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI [and my former employer], reminds us of the importance of geographic information science and what he coins The Geographic Approach—a professional discipline that fuses physical and cultural geographic sciences and associated knowledge through common collaboration GIS tools. Jack reinforces the idea that while individual scientific disciplines continue to aid the discovery of geographic conditions and phenomena that are changing our environment, skilled professionals within these scientific communities who share information amongst each other through close collaboration are changing the collective knowledge of the planet through shared cross-discipline scientific observation. He attributes this cross-discipline discovery to GIS the tool, and says GIS professionals will play an instrumental future role in helping various scientific communities improve deteriorating conditions of our planet.
The Geographic Approach vision is one that builds off of a heritage deeply rooted in GIS Professionalism—an industry creation supported by scientific principles and academic discipline, and one that is currently challenged by neogeographers—skilled technologists who lack education or formal training in GI Science, bet yet nonetheless produce useful geographic information applications with standard Web tools and APIs. I was recently accused of belonging to the GIS high-priesthood by someone who considers himself a neogeographer. As unfunny as it may be, I don’t think of myself as either. I had not heard the term "GIS High-Priest" before, but apparently it’s one used by a group of disgruntled neogeographers when referring to GIS Professionals or to folks who have pursued academic qualifications and extracurricular pursuits to advance GIS professionalism.
...Well color me a High-Priest then. Ironically, I happen to have been educated under catholic scholasticism and monks taught me Anthropology. So while true I am proudly affiliated with these communities, a guilty-by-association label as an elitist is unfounded and ridiculous.