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Thursday, January 8, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Forensics Lab, Retraining as a Surveyor, Understanding Cities

Image by jon creel under CC-BY
Forensics Means GIS

Simon Fraser University in Surrey BC, Canada offers Crim 449, a course in forensic analysis. The school's virtual forensic analysis lab "includes industry standard software and tools previously reserved for law enforcement and intelligence agency personnel only" including GIS.
SFU is the first university in North America to build and offer such a lab, which includes software such as the Esri with ArcGIS Spatial Statistics Tool.
Currently, students have to be in the lab to use the software, so the plan is to push it into the cloud to extend access.

Canadian Geo Students: Retrain to work in Surveying
GoGeomatics Canada is spear-heading a brand new Training Program that will provide opportunities for both geomatics graduates and the survey industry in Canada. The Survey Training Program is designed to train qualified candidates to work in the highly lucrative and rewarding field of surveying. This program is free for participants, and will guarantee students a job upon successful completion.
The program aims to support 20 student trainees for the 4-6 week on campus training. Afterward, candidates commit to a year of work for the sponsoring organization.

National Geographic High School Video Contest 

The Your World in Focus Contest invites high schoolers to submit videos about how they are changing the world.  The 90 second videos could win the creator a service trip and $500 to support their effort. Videos are due January 16, 2015.

Reserves Training Program to Photograph the County

The North Surry Junior Officers Reserve Training Program plans to photograph Surry County, NC from the stratosphere. A $1,200 mini-grant from the Foundation for the Photographing the Stratosphere project jumpstarted the project which will in time involve all the local schools.
Thus far, Alex Bowes has completed the research and developed a haiku page for the project. He said he plans to use a hexagonal prism balloon, with an eight-foot diameter, that will rise to an elevation of 100,000 feet. The balloon will carry a Geographic Information System (GIS) and a Global Positioning System with cameras and transmitters. Using a Raspberry Pi (a credit-card sized computer) and a HEPO web camera, anyone in the county can log on and view images from the balloon platform.
It's unclear to me what GIS technology will be used in the balloon and how it might help in data collection.

The Mill Closed in Maine and…

One worker took a chance and went back to school.
Berry earned a bachelor's degree in geography at the University of Maine in Farmington through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
“Though the workload was difficult, I was treated very well by the faculty and students,” he said. “The professors seemed to appreciate having me in their classroom. I was able to transfer a few of my Thomas College credits and all of the credits I had earned at Central Maine Community College while working in the mill. UMF was a terrific experience for me, and I’ve made some friendships and connections that I hope to maintain.”
He received the Myron E. Starbird Award for Excellence in Geography and used it to enroll in the Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program at the University of Maine at Machias.
This is great and he's already using the geography/GIS training in his new job. I wonder if a combined program (BA/certificate) would have been possible, cheaper and/or faster?

Thrift Knighted
Human geographer, Nigel Thrift, has been granted the highest honor in Britain and becomes Sir Nigel. The honor will be conferred by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony later in the year. Thrift is one of the world’s leading human geographers and has served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick since 2006.
Drawing: Free Pass to San Francisco FOSS4G

There will be four random drawings for a free four day pass. The first is next week.

Canadian Student Organization

Jonathan Murphy is the Managing Director of GoGeomatics Canada. He argues it might just be time for a Canadian Geospatial Student Union. He notes lack of student input in the industry and the limited value of professional organizations along the way.

Maples Leaves Yale, Joins Stanford

Tweets (12) confirm the new Stanford Geospatial Center manager is former Yale GIS specialist Stace Maples. I'm hard to impress and he impressed me immediately at NEARC this past fall.

Geography and other Educational Materials for Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye has decried the dearth of maps and other instructional materials for the teaching and learning of geography, civic education, and others in school.
She stated this at the launch of instructional materials titled; "Lagos State in Nigeria and the World" in aid of teaching and learning of civic education, history and geography among pupils and students in public primary and secondary schools.
There's no information about what sort of materials or their quality, but I hope the teachers and students find them valuable and interesting.

Meanwhile, in the UK
The content of A Level geography will change from September 2016, the Department for Education has announced.
The reforms include a rebalancing of human and physical geography topics as well as a greater emphasis on the understanding of key geographical concepts and processes.
Stoddart Obituary

Times Higher Ed has an obituary for David Stoddart who passed away in November.

New and Updated Online GIS Edu Resources

Cities via Satellite Quiz

I'm not a big fan of quizzes for quizzes sake, but this is a nice set of images to start a discussion about where cities are located and their underlying patterns.

Videos from Geomedicine Summit

That's not Esri's Health GIS Conference, but an event sponsored by Duke Center for Health Informatics and Esri held in October in Durham, NC. The videos and other resources are here.

Animation in QGIS Tutorial

Because I heard from one educator who wants to update a list of free resources students can use when classes are not in session, I share this from Alasdair Rae:
Simple Animations with QGIS - A Long Tutorial
This rather long post explains how you can make images and animations like the ones below using only open source software (mostly QGIS) and open data.
Census Tool Update
With an improved search feature generating better results on census.gov, users can discover a wealth of information and visualizations just by typing key words, such as “median income,” “population” or a particular NAICS code. ... 
The Census Bureau also recently debuted an updated beta version for one of its most popular Web tools, QuickFacts. The tool now provides multiple data views, including viewing charts, maps and statistics for up to six geographies at once, and the ability to share on social media, embed and download content. Statistics are also now available for Puerto Rico and townships. 
Geography Education Story Map

Seth Dixon organizes some of his favorite resources on a story map.
Welcome to "Geography Education." I hope that you enjoy the content and materials that you can find on my scoop.it site and at geographyeducation.org; this ESRI StoryMap is designed for geography students and teachers to get the most these sites. The various scoops and posts that I share represent the best news, articles, videos and other resources that I have found to be used in classes to act as an online textbook.
National Geographic wants to hear how you’re making a difference in the world and giving back to your communities. Whether it’s tutoring kids at your local elementary school or raising awareness about wildlife conservation in Africa, we invite you to create an original video that highlights an organization, project, or initiative you’re currently involved in—near or far—and why you’re passionate about it. - See more at: http://ngstudentexpeditions.com/2015-video-contest/learn/#sthash.zmNRgpK2.dpuf