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Thursday, May 21, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: MOOC Dropout, GPUs for ArcGIS, Periscope for Conferences

Why I dropped out of the Location Advantage MOOC

Image by Elliot Lepers under CC-BY-SA 3.0

There are lots of positive comments on Esri's latest MOOC, the Location Advantage. It focuses on the use of GIS, ArcGIS Online in particular, in business. I dropped out during the first week and explain why in this blog post. TL;DR: Lack of engagement.


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NVIDIA GPU Speeds ArcGIS for College

The rather promotional piece in TechTarget addresses how an unnamed midwest liberal arts school (Drake in Des Moines, IA) plunked NVIDA technology in its system to speed up ArcGIS.
Citrix's products weren't enough to improve performance for one particular app, however. Students who studied subjects involving geographic information systems at the school use ArcGIS, an app produced by Esri Inc. of Redlands, Calif. ArcGIS maps out topographical models and performs that modeling within the app.
The app is very graphics-intensive and broke down when used within the Citrix environment without any graphics acceleration, Mielke said.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Location Advantage Dropout

The second week of Esri's Location Advantage MOOC begins today. This was to be the first "geoMOOC" I attempted. I steered clear of all the others since I felt too much like an "insider" since I'm in the industry and I'm an educator. I decided to try the Location Advantage specifically because it focused on the use of GIS in business, something I've not studied nor covered much in my career.

I got through the introductory lecture materials. Some lectures included PowerPoint slides, some were interviews and and one was just audio. Yesterday I watched the “assignment” video about our first project exploring bank branches in Toronto and gave up. I’ve happily completed three other MOOCs, all from universities. Two were Coursera partners and the other an EdX partner.

I know Esri is not a university and has different goals for its MOOCs. I looked forward to my lectures and assignments in my other courses, but somehow this MOOC did not draw me in. I spent some time thinking about why I gave up on the Location Advantage and came up with a few ideas.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rethinking the Poster Session

Some Anecdotes
Checking out the posters at the
17th International Symposium on Graph Drawing, Chicago, 2009
Image by David Eppstein under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A few weeks ago I heard a disheartened geographer bemoan his poster experience at the AAG annual meeting in Chicago. It sounds like it was a pain to get the poster up on time, be available during the many hours it was to be shown, then take it down. I got the sense the presenter was disappointed there was so little interaction between the poster presenters and attendees.

Two weeks ago I attended the Tufts Ninth Annual GIS Poster Exposition in Medford, Massachusetts. About 150 student and faculty posters were crammed into a space on campus for two hours. Most were traditional foam core poster boards, but a handful were "apps," including at least one story map. The venue was loud and packed with people talking to one another and eating the snacks. The authors did not present, nor stand with, their posters. I overheard a woman, who I identified as a student, note that her poster probably had too much text. You could pick out the student posters; they had the misspellings and cartographic "room for improvement" you'd expect of first time and less experienced mappers. Toward the end of the event, organizers recognized several posters for recognition.