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Thursday, February 12, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: APHG Study App, Navy GEOINT Certification, AAG and GeoMentors

The iScore5 logo; the tagline:
The app built by expert teacher
for savvy students
Three Geography Teachers Pool Money, Create APHG Study App

Greg Sherwin, a Stevenson High School in Illinois and a pair of instructors in Arkansas and Georgia developed iScore5 a mobile-device application for students preparing for the Advanced Placement human geography exam. The app aims to make prepping/drilling into a social game. The effort is self-funded and two former students are doing the coding. iScore5 launches March 1 with a free "lite" version and $4.99 full version for iOS. As of 2013 120,000 students took the APHG test of the four million who took any AP test. I wrote more extensively about the app earlier this week.

EMU to Teach GIS to Teachers

Eastern Michigan University received a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to teach teachers GIS. Head of the Institute for Geospatial Research and Education, Yichun Xie is the lead. The Institute will partner with Michigan Virtual University to help 120 Michigan teachers implement mapping and analysis applications that reach more than 5000 eighth to 12th grade students in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and the Upper Peninsula. There are more details in the school's announcement.

Virginia Tech Meteorology and Geography
The meteorology program at Virginia Tech is relatively young, however the program has grown to about 115 students in just a couple years. It aims to produce students with not only atmospheric science skills, but also with geographic information science (GIS) skills, which open more career options.

AAG to support ConnectED via GeoMentoring

The Association of American Geographers's Executive Director Doug Richardson penned a piece in ArcNews on what seems to be a new focus on ConnectED in Esri's GeoMentor program. I contacted AAG's Candice Luebbering, Senior Research Geographer and GeoMentoring Program Coordinator. She confirmed my suspicions:
Yes, the AAG is at the beginning stages of working with Esri to update and expand the current GeoMentor program to coincide with the ConnectEd Initiative. Please check our website again soon as we will be developing and adding content in the very near future as this new effort takes shape.
The AAG materials will be at GeoMentors.net. Esri runs the existing GeoMentor.orgGeoMentor.net, originally noted in the article, is owned by a gentleman in Moscow. Asking price for the domain: $7000. May 2015 will be the one year anniversary of the Esri announcement of its participation in its three year ConnecteED commitment.

NASA World Wind Course in Development

Screenshot of World Wind showing
Blue Marble Next Generation layer.
According to Patrick Hogan (the World Wind guy) on the ICA-OSGEO list:
I might add that Prof Phil Davis at Del Mar College in Texas USA (and maybe Charles Schweik) are developing a GIS course using this NASA open source software.
AidData Grant will Taps W&M and Maryland Undergrads
AidData was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative as part of an international consortium of institutions that will study the relationship between foreign assistance and intrastate conflict. The research grant, amounting to $2.5 million over three years, will allow a team of scholars to examine whether development aid makes countries more or less resilient to violent conflict within their own borders.
AidData is based at William and Mary. This part is very cool:
Approximately 40 William & Mary undergraduate students will be involved directly in the work and will train a similar set of counterparts at the University of Maryland.
Navy GEOINT Certification

The Navy announced:
The Center for Information Dominance (CID) announced the availability of information on Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) for the Geospatial Intelligence, GEOINT Professional Certification (GPC) Feb 6.
The GEOINT Professional Certification (GPC) captures the fundamental facts, concepts, and principles that are shared by GEOINT practitioners across the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG). The Navy COOL website now provides prospective candidates information regarding all aspects of GPC, eligibility, registration, and assessment processes.
Who can take part:
The GPC is available to uniformed Navy and civilian personnel who are performing specific work roles associated with GEOINT tradecrafts such as enlisted intelligence specialist, intelligence officer and Department of the Navy civilians in the capacity of imagery analysts and GEOINT collection managers.
WorldView to Launch in Spring, Support Education

The client software, WorldView, taps the Pyxis structure (FAQ). The company behind all this is Canada's PYXIS innovation.
Ten years in the making, WorldView is scheduled to launch in the spring. At the heart of the software is a different concept of how maps are produced, known as a “digital earth reference model.” Unlike traditional mapping, a digital earth reference model — also known as a “discrete global grid system” — does not rely solely on presenting map points as intersections of latitude and longitude. Instead, it develops maps based on “cells,” with each cell capable of holding and displaying data.
Most important to readers, there'll be a version for education.
That expertise has led to a special application for WorldView. With financial support from Tecterra, Lynn Moorman, an assistant professor of earth sciences at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, is collaborating with Pyxis to develop a version of the software specifically for classroom use, especially at the elementary levels.
It's already being tested in classrooms.

ArcGIS Online Training for Educators

Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas is host for the annual GeoTech event. The focus this year: ArcGIS Online.
GeoTech 2015
February 26 – 27
8:00 – 3:30
Breakfast and lunch included
Register at www.bdcs.org/geotech
CartoDB Supports Students

CartoDB is hoping to help students show their best at a few upcoming mapping competitions including  Innovating Planning Apps for Planners: A Student and Emerging Professional Challenge and the 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition. Students have access to free accounts and the company is committing to helping in any way it can. (Disclosure: I consult to CartoDB.)

Lessons Learned: Teaching 21,000 People GEOINT

The actual title of the Directions Magazine webinar is The Expanding Reach of Geospatial Intelligence: Lessons Learned from 21,000 Students. Instructor Todd Bacastow and his team will share lessons learned from this winter's MOOC. The details: Thursday, March 5th 2015, 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST, register. If you'd not heard, Robert Cardillo, who was appointed director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency last fall, is taking the class. His full comments on his participation in the course (and much praise for Penn Sate) presented at the Esri Federal GIS Conference are here.

Penn Lab for Digital Humanities
A $7 million gift from Penn Arts & Sciences Overseer Michael J. Price, W’79, and his wife, Vikki, will establish the Price Lab for the Digital Humanities. The centerpiece of the new Penn Arts & Sciences strategic initiative Humanities in the Digital Age ... the Price Lab will provide the technological hardware and technical support staff necessary for a robust program that reaches across the University.
GIS is growing in liberal arts/research universities in the humanities. Is it growing as fast in computing and other areas?

The Urban Atlanta Geospatial STEM Academy

This is awesome. The Verizon Foundation funds free weeklong "academies" so enable 100 high school students to get acquainted with geospatial technologies. It's hosted at Georgia State.

  • take home a tablet
  • get breakfast and lunch everyday
  • priority for underserved students 
  • learn GIS, do field work, make maps and address a community issue
I'm hopeful "STEM" and "free" will prompt lots of applications since this explanation of GIS aimed at parents, teachers and students could use a bit more excitement.

Cartography Game Adds Maps to "Go"

Cartography, a game that was on Kickstarter last year, is now licensed to Playford games. It will be available May 2015.

Low-Tech Hands-on STEM

Forget getting student hands on computers, you can teach GIS without them. That's what they did one day in the Bay City, MI 4-H Tech Wizards program. It's funded via a $40,000 grant from MSU Extension.
On Tuesday, Feb. 10, the activity focused on geographical information system -- or GIS -- maps. The students had the chance to draw a community -- buildings and geography -- on clear plastic sheets before layering those sheets to create a full map.
The one hour activity was aimed at fifth graders. There's been a discussion on GeoNet suggesting ArcGIS Online for these short hands on sessions. I think something like this is a great option.

QGIS Webinar

From the VT Center for Geographic Information:
QGIS: Layer Properties (symbology and labels)
QGIS is a free and open source GIS software program that can be used to make maps and perform geospatial analysis. This webinar will introduce the concept of attribute data and take you through the steps necessary to change the symbology of your data layers and to create relevant and flexible labels for your maps.
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2249755086253984257
OSGeo Certification Discussion

Recording of the February 10 FOSS4G US/EU webinar discussing OSGeo certification and other matters is online.


A smackdown, at least at the unconferences I attend, offers participants two minutes to share a valuable resource/tool/website with the group. The GeoSIG at the Texas Computer Education Association conference this past week in Austin hosted one. The suggestions were shared one at a time via Twitter. Suggestion for next time: At Ed Camp Boston someone volunteers to capture and share the suggested resources in a document. Here's the one from EdCamp Boston 2011. I guess that's my smackdown suggestion!