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Thursday, September 24, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: GISCI Exam, Skills Competition Finalists, MOOC Update

GISCI Announces Exam Application Period!

The exclamation point in the press release (and above) illustrates how excited the organization is about the news, which appeared last Friday. Bottom line:
  • Exam application period runs Monday, September 21 and closes October 9, 2015.
  • Apply here.
  • Exam Dates: Nov 12-17, 2015 at PSI Testing Centers.  I've never heard of this provider, but found nine in Massachusetts (on a Google Map!).
  • Deal: Early qualified applicants can get $100 Application Fee and the $100 Portfolio Review Fee reimbursed.
Modeling Human Trafficking in St. Louis
As part of her master’s thesis at the University of Missouri—Columbia, Amanda Colegrove, director of the Crime Victim Advocacy Center’s Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CATE), thought about taking what researchers consider as risk factors for human trafficking and applying them to the landscape of St. Louis.
The idea, backed by the Washington University School of Medicine and Brown School of Social Work is to integrate data on topics that tend to encourage traffic to determine "hot zones," then see if in fact the predictions are accurate based on documented prosecutions. The study also looks at resources to prevent and respond to trafficking. Among the ideas floated are "UburHouse," a way to have those in community shelter victims until they can find permanent safe housing.

Geo For All Student Awards

Geo for All announced the winners of the OSGeo Student Awards for FOSS4G 2015, Seoul. Going forward, the Student Award initiative at FOSS4G conferences will be handled by the Geo for All team. There are no details on what the students won or how many students participated. I'd like to see both details included in future news releases.


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Australia: Swap Coding in and Geography and History Out
On Friday, Sept.18, the country's education ministers have endorsed coding to replace geography and history as part of the new digital technologies curriculum, in which students will start learning to code in Year 5 and begin programming by Year 7.
Can we have all three? How about Australian students code about history and geography topics?

Of Typos and Errors

I was reading the program for an upcoming education event. In the presentation titles I found:
  • Integrating Open Street Map.... (OpenStreetMap)
  • Arc-GIS Online Practicalities...  (ArcGIS)
  • Create a Storymap... (Story Map)
Getting the names, punctuation and capitalization of companies, products and projects in our field is hard. Take a minute to check an authoritative website when in doubt; we want our students to do so, right? I've compiled a list of the most common errors I make and see that might help.

2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition Finalists Announced

The student finalists weren't actually announced; their names were published in the program for GIS-Pro. My question: Did any students submit a project that used software other that ArcGIS? I hope so!

Best of luck to the finalists who will present Tuesday, October 20 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm in Spokane.
  • Shading out the Gun: How Baltimore City Greenspace Relates to 2013 Homicides, Molly Finch, Freshman, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Toxic Mapping with Python and GIS: Exploring Relationships Between Carcinogen Dumping and Cancer, Amy Halloran, Senior, DePaul University
  • Distribution of Terrorist Incidents in the Contiguous United States (1970-2013), Arisa Okazaki, Freshman, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Identifying Wildfire Risk Areas in Western Washington State, Matthew Seto, Senior, University of Washington - Tacoma 

Texas Still Teaching Prisoners GIS 

I was not aware this was still going on. MAPPS used to regularly note how prisoner workers unfairly competed with its members. What is interesting is that the prisoners learn and use Intergraph GIS tools.

BRCK Education Launches Hardware Solution
The Kio Android Tablet
BRCK Education provides a holistic education technology solution that turns every classroom into a digital classroom. Our vision is to enable millions of children in schools across emerging markets to access digital educational tools for better learning.
The hardware (Android tablets, routers, chargers) is designed in Kenya to help educate its children per this blog post. Why do I mention it in a GIS education newsletter? BRCK Education is the organization behind Ushahidi. No word on pricing, but limited numbers of kits will be available in November.

NGA has a Podcast

It's called "Geointeresting" and has been around for five months. The latest episode is about recruiting, that is, jobs with NGA.


University of West Florida GIS MOOC

I found some results of the course which was offered this spring. Students could view material, engage in it and take quizzes for badges (up to six) or complete a portfolio for continued education credit (free). How'd it go?
  • 3,542 students enrolled
  • 1,459 individual discussions were posted
  • 3,978 badges were awarded
  • 140 students earned FREE Continuing Education Units
The course will be repeated in 2016.

Fall 2015 Geospatial MOOC Roundup

Diana Sinton details the state of geoMOOCs and other for fee-based courses at Directions Magazine. Several of the courses I've written about have been retired and others are on "hiatus." A few that I'm pleased are still plugging along include Desktop GIS from Peggy Minnis and Esri's suite of courses on spatial analysis (Going Places with Spatial Analysis, but mostly described as "intro to ArcGIS Online" by those who've taken it), business geographics (The Location Advantage, from which I dropped out) and soon, app development (as yet unnamed).

Esri GIS Education News

Catcall Map for UNC

Orange dots indicate "catcall" reports on the
UNC Chapel Hill Campus
A class project for Women’s Studies 290 last year turned out to be a canvas map onto which the UNC Chapel Hill students (per the article,  but more likely, the university community per the map) placed locations of catcalls. The map later went digital with help from Amanda Henley, Geographic Information Services librarian.
Henley worked with him [bio major Anondo Banerjee] to create an online map using ArcGIS Online, a computer system that allows the user to associate data with maps. She also recommended incorporating software called OpenStreetMap, so that anyone with a computer and an internet connection could add points to the map.
I'm unsure if the added points are going into OSM or ArcGIS database. It's unclear to me if the map has prompted any action on the part of students or the university.

U.S. History GeoInquiries Available 

In Canada They're Called GIS Ambassadors

In the United States we have GeoMentors. In Canada, they have GIS Ambassadors per a press release.
To help bring spatial skills to children in K-12 schools across Canada, Esri Canada invites professional GIS users, educators and university and college students to volunteer their skills and knowledge through the GIS Ambassador Program.
Canadians I must admit, have a  cooler and more geographic title for their volunteer educators!

Why GIS in Education Matters

Joseph Kerski updated the two page document Why GIS in Education Matters and is asking for input. I'll offer these suggestions:
  • define geography 
  • define GIS 
  • use bullets and give specific examples 
  • offer the CC licensed document in editable format (HTML, RTF), rather than PDF
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