ABS Consulting Group, Inc.: Home | Blog | Resume | Speaking | Publications

Thursday, January 22, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Competitions, MOOCs, Geography in Arkansas

The Growth of Colleges in America
Competition News

National Geographic Competition for College/Grad Cartographers

Undergraduate students and master's-degree candidates can apply for the National Geographic Award in Mapping which recognizes student achievement in the art, science, and technology of mapping. Awards are $900 and $300 for first and second place and National Geographic products for honorable mentions.

The award is administered through the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Cartography Specialty Group (CSG). Static electronic submissions are judged by a panel of professional cartographers working at National Geographic and are due March 1.

- via Robert Roth at Wisconsin

Map Competitions at FOSS4G Events to Support International Map Year

Four events will have competitions. Details are still being worked out. I want to suggest the geospatial community needs to think of other activities besides competitions to recognize these events.

Map of Growth of Colleges in the U.S.

Glenn Letham at GIS User shares an "Impressive Map Effort [that] Showcases the Growth of Colleges in America." The map (above) is from "ecollegefinder.org" one of many sites offering to help students find "the right" school. Fuzzing up my eyes as a watch the animation I think I see a population growth map.

New GIS Education Resources

Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne of the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab offered a 44 minute  VCGI webinar on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drones.
The term “drone” is often associated with a human-piloted, video-enabled system that is used for recreation, movie production, surveillance, or targeting. In this webinar we will take a look at a different class of drones, those are are developed solely for the purposes of creating accurate 2D and 3D mapping products using photogrammetric workflows. UAS workflow and output data products will be presented along with an assessment of the capabilities and limitations of these “mapping grade” drones.
Mapping Across Borders is based in Canada.
Mapping Across Borders is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to teaching GIS in a way that links people together. Right now, we have loads of resources online that teach various aspects of GIS, like how to open raster or vector files in Open Source GIS (QGIS), and more basic things like What is GIS. There 50+ learning resources there now, and several are still in the work -- like a bunch of assignments that users can complete (and other users can help mark). The entire learning section is open access editing (like wikipedia), so if you have something you can contribute, please go ahead!
There are some text based lessons and videos, with a focus on QGIS. The organization touts its social network as what makes is special. As I've noted in the past, learning communities can be hard to create.

National Geographer MapMaker Tour of New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Geographical Alliance shared a tour of the state made in the beta of the National Geographic MapMaker Interactive (beta) tool. What's the status of the tool? Best I can tell the original launched in 2011. The new (beta) version adds these tools:
  • Saving Maps - Customize the map and save to make it your own.
  • Bookmarks - Bookmarks let you experience and create geographic stories. Scroll through the bookmarks in the bottom bookmarks bar. Save your own customized views of the map as bookmarks.
  • Drawing Tools - Add location markers, draw on the map, and measure distances. You can add notes to markers and drawings from the link settings in the edit panel. Click the edit button and then click a marker or drawing to see the edit panel.
University of Redlands Requests Student Projects from Locals

I saw this on Facebook:
The University of Redlands Masters of Science in Geographic Information Systems (MS GIS) Program invites you to propose a project to our new cohort of 15 masters students. Each of the students will be selecting a project in the first few weeks of their program (September or January). Any project that involves the development or application of a GIS is likely to be appropriate -- we can work with you to scale up (or down) a proposed project to something suitable for a masters student to complete within approximately 500 hours over 12 months.
Proposals were due 1/19 but there were some interesting requirements for the "client":
  • must be local - to meet with students
  • no need to be non-profit, best I can tell
  • must know enough about GIS to create the proposal 
There are no details but I guess the final academic output is something like this. Is this how your program finds projects, i.e., via social media? Do you have any other restrictions? Are there best practices (yet) for finding projects for this kind of service learning?

Mapbox Supports ProjectCSGIRLS 

ProjectCSGIRLS, a non-profit, aims "to cultivate a love for technology and computer science in girls and encourage them to pursue their interests and careers in these fields and runs "the nation's largest computer science competition for middle school girls."  ‏@projectcsgirls  tweeted:
Friday S/O to @Mapbox for helping out at our workshops, sponsoring us, and having an awesome group of women in tech we're proud to know!
A request to Mapbox for further details was not answered by press time.

Esri Education Site Licensees to Get Portal for ArcGIS License
After much internal discussion and consultation with customers, we’re pleased to announce that Portal for ArcGIS will soon be available by request to Education Site Licensees. Requestors will receive a license entitlement for 50 Named Users.
Esri does warn that support is limited. Look for details where you get your Esri Higher Ed news. I saw this on the Esri higher-ed e-mail list.

Open Geospatial Science & Applications Webinar Series 2015 Kicks Off

The first webinar is Q(GIS) Trainings: Functionality Vs. Application Monday, January 26, 2014 Time: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM GMT.  The ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Lab Network, MundoGEO and UN Environment Programme host the series.

Another Online GIS Training Vendor

From a PR from Discover Spatial:
Discover Spatial – www.discoverspatial.com – the number one independent online geospatial training platform. From open source to commercial geospatial technology, Discover Spatial has it covered.
To date all courses are by Graeme Browning, a long time employee of Esri distributors and user of various software products, and CartoDB. Most of his courses have a fee; CartoDB's are free and I guess are licensed from the company. The company is looking for more trainers.


Pace Desktop GIS MOOC Starts Monday
Desktop GIS is designed for the new user of geographic information systems software, beginning with the very basics of mapping, using a ESRI Desktop GIS trial version. The course lasts for twelve weeks, beginning January 26, 2015. The lessons are taught through screencasts showing the step-by-step processes. There are assignments every week, usually PDFs of completed maps. Badges are awarded at milestones in the course and a certificate can be earned by completing all assigned work.
Esri's Joseph Kerski describes it as rigorous.

Esri Biz GIS MOOC LinkedIn Group

There's a "gathering place"on LinkedIn for Esri's upcoming Location Advantage MOOC which will focus on how to use location in business decisions. Esri's Joseph Kerski noted it on LinkedIn.

Geography for 7th Graders in Arkansas

NCGE former president Paul Gray notes the news:
Seventh grade geography is coming back to the curriculum for the students of Arkansas.