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Thursday, January 29, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Landsat, JMU, QGIS Course


Landsat image Finder Libra
Tool to Find and Download Landsat Images

Libra, from DevelopmentSeed, "allows you to browse, sort, and download more than 275 Terabytes of open Landsat imagery as easily as booking an Uber." Note that there's no "help"but you can probably figure how how to use it. That's a slick UI!

JMU's Geospatial Semester Recognized by State Math and Science Coalition
A James Madison University outreach program that gives high school seniors an experience similar to what they will face in college or on a job has been recognized as a "2015 Program that Works" by The Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition. 
JMU's Geospatial Semester was one of 10 programs recognized by the coalition at events this week in Richmond. The awards recognize exemplary science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs that make a positive impact on student or teacher learning. To be considered for the award, programs must be at least two years old, must include an evaluation component, and must demonstrate that they are sustainable and can be replicated by others.
USGIF Scholarships

Doctoral, graduate, undergraduate or graduating high school senior studying geospatial intelligence or related topics can apply for the USGIF Scholarship Program. Applications are due April 20.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Communicating with Google Maps Engine Customers

Introductory Popup for now Deprecated
Google Maps Engine
(see end of article for update on Esri)

It's been very interesting watching content pop up from the potential "bouquet catchers" that will benefit from Google's plan to retire Google Maps Engine (GME) a year from now.

The confusion regarding exactly which product is being shut down is notable. This is from a post on the GME Group:
Like others here, I didn't realize I was using a Maps Engine, I just thought I was embedding a link.
MangoMap provided an explanation of the product.
Google Maps Engine gave [users] an easy way to add much more complex overlays and give them custom styles based on their attribute data in the application, without writing any JavaScript code or using any API’s.
I'm wondering how many users GME users Google has. I do not recall hearing its name much after it was launched in 2013. The announcement last Monday that GME would be shut down prompted  bloggers from companies that might pick up some companies to fly their flags. They used a variety of tactics detailed below.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The New Textbooks Will not be Textbooks

Screenshot from Free Ride, a simulation tool to learn
about gears. It's a learning tool I found charting "my own
path" in a social learning exercise in a MOOC last fall.
Earlier this month Esri's David DiBiase detailed the why and how of Esri's work with publishers in The Future of Web Maps in Next Generation Textbooks. I'm all for more and better maps for student use at all levels, and this work is a key step in the right direction.
I'm excited to look a few years further into the future when the whole idea of a textbook will be formulated for many teachers and learners.

Texbook Use

Textbooks, as I understand it, grew in part to "to contain and systematize the educational experience, making knowledge both portable and economical." That quote is from The Atlantic's Megan Garber, in an introduction to Apple's iBooks 2 platform in 2012. Over the years, textbooks in print or otherwise, have provided instructors and students with curated, perhaps personalized, material from an expert to guide teaching and learning. In the United States, school districts and even whole states select texts because they help standardize and scale educational content. I don't expect to see that change any time soon in the primary and secondary schools.