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Thursday, July 23, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Esri Education GIS Conference

Esri Education GIS Conference

For the first time in many years I did not attend the Esri Education GIS (EdUC) or Esri International User Conference (EsriUC). I read that more than 700 people attended EdUC and some 16,000 attended EsriUC. Below are the highlights of both events related to GIS education.


Both EdUC and EsriUC served as recruiting events for the Esri-AAG GeoMentors program. The goal is to encourage GIS users to reach out to formal and informal educators to help integrate the technology (ArcGIS Online) into their lessons and activities. Similar kinds of recruiting date back to the 1990s with Esri's Adopt-A-School program. I recall having my badge scanned by a National Geographic person at a 2009's EsriUC for the original GeoMentor effort.

Several GeoMentors were honored. @EsriEdUC shared a picture of
Dunny Green receiving the 1st Esri-AAG GeoMentor certificate!
Green performed his GeoMentoring while aboard a U.S. Navy ship! Forrest Lamb was called out as a GIS Hero, and per Jack Dangermond "The best GeoMentor I've ever known."

AAG GeoMentors (@AAGGeoMentors) confirmed 60 new GeoMentor sign ups as of Wednesday night.

Building Apps and Coding

It's valuable to understand the kinds of apps Esri imagines (field, office and public) and three options for building these apps. Per Tom Baker (@trbaker) the creation tools to build them include:
templates, web app builder, App Studio (for native apps).
App Studio seemed to be hit with educators. Per Shannon White (@shannonwhite):
2 minutes, a web browser and it’s an app.
That said, Addy Pope (‏@GIS4HE) who heads education for Esri UK, shared this important bit:
And the message is...... GIS students should learn Python. But they are scared to pick programming option

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Esri U

Don Boyes (@donboyesshared:
Esri announces exciting new learning platform called Esri U that will include badges, gamification
Per UWF GeoData Center (@UWFGIS)
ArcGIS training materials to be reorganized into singular "ESRI U" system by '16. Looks promising.
Learning and training are different, so I'll be interested to see the final offering. The concept was teased at last year's EsriEdUC  Right now Esri U is an interactive demo.

Banner for Esri U

The ArcGIS Book

Lots of people are noting how pretty the book (print, PDF and interactive website) is. I hoped Esri's education team might explain how it could be used in teaching and learning. I didn't see anything.

Sisters on Stage

It seems Sarah and Lily Jenkins (who just completed grade 12 and 10, respectively) were the hit speakers of EsriUC. The sisters live in Molokai illustrated the “March of the Mangroves” on their home island, part of Hawaii (video from EsriUC, article here). They got a special shout out from Esri's local paper:
After their map failed to open, Lily got one of the bigger ovations of the day by ad lib bing, "I guess it's on Hawaii time."
Survey 123

I mentioned the new product Survey 123 from Esri Labs in my recap of the conference Q & A. Shannon White (@shannonhwhite) confirms it's easy to use (you build the forms in Excel) and has lots of potential for educators.

Also Noted
  • From Global Forest Watch: 
"The course [one page PDF] is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the ways Global Forest Watch (GFW) can support teaching about environmental change, forests, and biodiversity."
  • MapMan is a man, but there is no MapWoman. There is however MapGirl. Would you want to share these heroes with the girls/women in your classes/activities? I'm with Jocelyn Tutak (@JocelynTutak) who tweeted:
C'mon, @Esri -- MapMan or MapGirl? #IAmMapWoman! #EsriUC #ucselfie
  • R Integration with ArcGIS will be valuable for educators/researchers who teach or use the statistics package. This Esri Insider article provides a good introduction to R and its integration with Esri products.
  • Bill Gates spoke as part of the EsriUC plenary via video (not sure if it was live or not). Martin O'Malley showed up in person. Martin O'Malley is running for president.
  • At least one company was using Twitter to capture leads during the event.

This "promoted tweet" (aka "ad") already populated
a field with my e-mail address so I could immediately
send it to the advertiser. I did not do so.
  • National Geographic's CEO Gary Knell shared the organization's goal. 
Our goal is nothing less than to create a Geographically Competent America
How? Per the Constant Geography blog:
NatGeo has instantiated grant programs for organizations, have developed videos and video programs viewed by well over 700 million people globally, and are working with organizations and educators around the country to assist in helping students become more geographically competent.

The Week's Non-Esri GIS Education News

Free NCGE Membership for Students
Part of Graphic for Future GeoLeader Program
The Future GeoLeader Program provides NCGE membership at no cost to students who are currently enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours in a graduate or undergraduate program at an accredited university. In light of NCGE’s 100th anniversary, this initiative aims to help emerging education leaders meet the challenges of teaching geography in the 21st century, and strengthen the geographic education community and its efforts.
Green River College Drops GIS Degree

I covered the discussions around which programs the community college in Auburn, WA might drop to save money earlier this year. In the end, GIS and auto body technology were dropped. Why was the associates degree in GIS dropped?
"GIS is beneficial for post-baccalaureate studies, when partnered with graduate degrees, but there are very few employment opportunities for students who graduate with an associate degree," said Dr. Derek Brandes, vice president of Instruction.
GeoForAll Educator Awards

The GeoForAll Individual and Team Awards for the "GeoForAll - Global Educator of the Year Award 2015" were  announced at the FOSS4G 2015- Europe conference in Como, Italy.

  • Individual Award: Sterling Quinn (Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA) for his course on “Open Web Mapping” 
  • Team Award: Kurt Menke (Birds Eye View) Nate Jennings (Urbandale Spatial), Jon Van Hoesen (Green Mtn College), Rick Smith (Texas A&M,) and Phil Davis, Delmar College (all in USA) for their GeoAcademy development efforts

NASA World Wind Europa Challenge Winners: High Schoolers from Alaska

The NASA World Wind Europa Challenge winners were also announced. The top team included students from Kodiak High School who explored real time data use in the Global Earthquake Forecast System (GEFS).

Student Conservation Service to Map San Mateo County’s Parks

The San Mateo, California Board of Supervisors allocated more than $470,000 in two grants to authorize County Parks Director Marlene Finley to enter into an agreement with the Student Conservation Association to provide conservation crews through next summer and a Geographic Information System (GIS) Program that will provide trail condition mapping and monitor invasive species.

College students and others will lead about 100 high school students in the data collection. The data will be added to the county’s Open Data Portal.

Best Practices Disclosure/Affirmative Consent for Data Capture and Use from MAPPS

MAPPS announced a new best practices document for handling geospatial data to protect individual citizen privacy. In particular the document helps firms "when determining when it [the organization capturing the data] should obtain individual consent for collection of geospatial data and when it is not needed to protect privacy." This may be a valuable document for educators when discussing privacy, best practices and ethics.

I have two suggestions for MAPPS to improve the one page document:
  • Provide a meaningful title
  • Include an introductory paragraph to provide details on how to use the document. 
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