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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

GIS Education Weekly: GITA Diversity, Open Source Survey Results, Prairie Chicken

A Lesser Prairie Chicken (male) in New Mexico
Image by Steven Walling licensed under CC BY 2.0
Note from Adena

I'm publishing the usual Thursday weekly recap a day early due to the Christmas holiday tomorrow. Enjoy the season!

GITA Adopts Policy on Diversity and Inclusion
The Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) supports and encourages the equitable opportunity for participation of all persons in the Geospatial field, including engineers, planners, surveyors, technologists, software developers, educators, operations and maintenance specialists and all others interested in geospatial technology without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender identification, accessibility, educational or financial differences. GITA will promote and implement programs designed to enhance opportunities to participate in the development of geospatial technologies worldwide for everyone.
The press release appeared last week.

Lesser Prairie Chicken GIS
The Kansas Biological Survey, a University of Kansas research unit, will provide the central GIS and database support for the effort, tracking locations and costs of projects affecting habitat as well as conservation projects [related to the lesser prairie chicken]. The work will be done through a five-year, $2.1 million contract with WAFWA [Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies] to serve as the GIS center for the plan.
University GIS Lab Does Work for Hire

The Laboratory for Applied Spatial Analysis at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville did it's first project, mapping the school, in 1996. Now it does all sorts of work, per Lab director Randy Pearson:
There are literally hundreds of projects that we have been involved in from generating a GIS (Geographic Information System) database for the state library system to looking at things such as voting precincts in East St. Louis.. So we are involved in a vast array of things that are all geography related.
Results of FOSS4G "Barriers" Survey

On December 11 I noted Del Mar College's Overcoming Barriers to Open Source Software survey. Phil Davis shared the results from 122 respondents collected December 7-17.

My conclusions:
  • The respondents were primarily in education (2nd most popular by a hair to "Environmental planning or consulting") with knowledge of FOSS4G.
  • There is still confusion about FOSS4G being commercial software. Open Source software is commercial software. The distinction of significance is between open source and proprietary software.
  • More respondents (85%) use QGIS than another FOSS4G offering listed. MapServer was not listed, but Boundless Geo was.
  • Training was identified as the most popular service that would "increase the likelihood of you adopting or expanding your use of FOSS4G."
Notre Dame English Professor Studies Literature at Scale
Matthew Wilkens, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, recently won a prestigious fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for his groundbreaking digital humanities research.
His Literary Geography at Scale project seeks to determine how literature uses geographic space—what kinds of locations it pays attention to, how those places change over time, and what factors might be driving those changes. In addition to the fellowship, the work is also supported by a $100,000 grant from the Notre Dame Office of Research.

Quote of the Week

PSA: We are not your personal Googlers... Before you ask for data from this community search for it.. 99% of the stuff being asked for is found in a 10 seconds search incorporating the term "shapefile" at the end.
Many such queries come from students.

Geography 2050

“Geography 2050: Mounting an Expedition to the Future,” held Nov. 19 at the Low Memorial Library in New York City was put on by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) in partnership with the American Geographical Society. I confess that I didn't' really understand what the event was about, even though I listened to this podcast.

USGIF's Trajectory has a recap and concludes:
All speakers said how events such as Geography 2050 are beneficial for geographically minded citizens and geospatial technology practitioners to come together to society better understand the Earth. AGS hopes to make Geography 2050 an annual event to continue the dialogue surrounding the global trends that affect the state of the planet now and into the future.
Videos (raw listing, no metadata) from the conference are now available for download.

Second International Conference on CyberGIS and Geodesign (CyberGIS’14)

The entire program of the Second International Conference on CyberGIS and Geodesign (CyberGIS’14) videos are available.

Three Year College Geography Degree in Ireland
The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has become the fourth institution in recent years to unveil a new "fast track" degree which aims to help students enter the workplace more quickly and reduce the costs of higher education.
Among the degrees is one in geography. Why a three year option in geography?
Dr Michael Smith, geography programme leader, added: "Reports show an increasing number of pupils are taking up geography and that graduates have some of the highest employment rates across academic disciplines. 
"Geographers have a range of transferable skills and are needed to address the environmental, economic and societal challenges we face."
New Geo/Anthro Degree on the Way

The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees approved the program proposal for a new Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural and geospatial studies. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board still needs to provide approval, but if it does, the Arkansas Tech College of Arts and Humanities, can offer coursework toward the degree in fall 2015. The degree requires courses in anthropology, geography and GIS.