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Thursday, December 3, 2015

GIS Education Weekly: Boundless Details Program, Ashcloud Apocalypse Results, ISIS Geography Assignment

Ashcloud Apocalypse Global Risk Results Map

Not too much data in Massachusetts.
Esri UK and others put together a GIS Day activity based on a volcano eruption. The sign up page explains it's "A hazard risk mapping activity for Geographers." Here's the AGOL map used to drive the activity. The final map created by participants is the Ashcloud Apocalypse Risk Map.

A tweet from Michael Gould (@0mgould) reports:
 >9000 entries and 6 million map views in 1 week!
Indiana State and PrecisionHawk Partner on Growing UAS Industry and Education
Indiana State University and Raleigh, N.C.-based PrecisionHawk have signed a research and development partnership that aims to advance the unmanned aerial systems industry from multidisciplinary perspectives. The university-business collaboration will focus on safety, education, training and algorithm development for PrecisionHawk's DataMapper aerial data software.
These Students Don't Need Any Help Finding a GIS Project

I see too many students (college and grad) asking for help finding a topic for their GIS projects. Two students at University of Pittsburgh at Bradford didn't have any trouble. They fish and hunt, so they gathered data about ice fishing holes and deer sightings. Now the hope is the data and maps are good enough to let one of the student's grandfathers bag a deer when he visits! 


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Update on Boundless' Education Program

Boundless Education Graphic
I finally got a response from Boundless about its education program hinted at via Twitter a few weeks ago. Here's the webpage for education. It offers three things:
  • Free software (and resources to build educational content)
  • Visits from Boundless staff to classrooms/schools
  • Internships
Do be forewarned, the page is still in development.  There are several places where "(need link)" replaces actual links to PDFs and forms. The education alias, education@boundlessgeo.com, listed on Twitter and on the page, still bounces.

I'm sure it's unrelated, but Boundless got a new acting CEO today.

ISIS geography Assignment Angers Parents

There's some controversy about an assignment for a ninth grade geography course in a Houston, TX school.
The mother of a ninth grade HISD student is furious over a homework assignment that instructed students to analyze the words of an ISIS recruiter.

The assignment was given to the 9th grade geography class just days after the terror attacks in Paris.
See if you find the assignment relevant to geography.

OER from Smithsonian
Over 1.35 million objects from the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, and the national zoo have been released and combined with custom tools to support rich, digital learning around the globe.
All of the goodies are released under open licenses as open educational resources. Those reading this newsletter should might enjoy Earth from Space - Satellite Imagery-Based Geography

Arkansas Tech Gets $100,000 Donation for Geography Program

I mentioned the new program back in May but now there's more money behind it.
A new degree program at Arkansas Tech University has received a gift that will enable its students to work with professional-grade equipment in preparation for their careers.
Dr. Mildred Diane Gleason, associate professor of history at Arkansas Tech, donated $100,000 to the Arkansas Tech Foundation in support of the institution’s Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural and geospatial studies.
The program now has some GNSS receivers and a scanner/printer.

Forget Geocaching: Use Orienteering for Spatial Thinking

TES offers an article that suggests orienteering helps students with map reading and related skills. The sport uses map and compass to find controls. (I learned about orienteering from Jeremy Crampton who  researched it while we were both doing graduate work at Penn State.) A charity put together a one day course for school students.
Does it work? In short, yes. 92% of students surveyed felt their academic studies had improved as a direct result of being on the course, which is hugely encouraging and proves that the project is achieving its aims.
I don't believe that's a standard measure of competency, but it is interesting.

New URISA Memberships: 25% Off Until Friday

It's a weeklong cyber Monday sale! For students that brings $20 memberships to $15.

Do your Students Need to know the 50 U.S. States in Alphabetical Order?

If so, they need the song “Fifty Nifty United States.” Slate explains "how a 1960s novelty song became one of the greatest mnemonic devices of all time." I've never heard of the song, nor can I comment on its educational value. I'm a fan of the Animaniacs capitols song.

AAG and other Scholarly Societies: Please, No Guns on Campus
The Association of American Geographers joins our colleagues in 28 other scholarly societies in opposing policies designed to facilitate the carrying of guns on college campuses.
An official statement argues a current Texas law to take effect in 2016 and others like it "introduce serious safety threats on college campuses with a resulting harmful effect on students and professors."

Minecraft and Conservation
116 volunteer Minecraft players spent the last 12 months recreating an African wildlife conservancy map and added wildlife (elephants, rhinos, etc.) and actual camera traps to the game. Here’s someone playing the map and finding a camera trap, and here are people having a first play, rescuing pangolins from poachers.
Alastair Davies, a tech consultant with the Zoological Society of London leads the charge. The "game" is called We are the Rangers.

UM Students Map Park for Big Cats

A bit of one of the sample maps
Twelve University of Montana geography student cartographers collaborated with Panthera, a big cat conservation organization, over the last eight months to create a set of 14 topographic maps of Parsa Wildlife Reserve in Nepal.
The UM team, comprising both undergraduate and graduate students, secured one-meter satellite imagery and began digitizing the features in the park. They contracted Airbus in France to generate a custom, 10-meter digital elevation model from Synthetic Aperture Radar data.
The article didn't explain how the relationship between the school and Panthera began nor who funded the imagery collection, so I reached out to UM lecturer Kevin McManigal, the cartographic manager on the project. He explained that Panthera has a member of its staff on campus and that the organization paid for discounted SAR from Airbus. DigitalGlobe, as I suspected, provided the one meter satellite imagery without cost.

New 2000 Page Remote Sensing Handbook

The three-volume “Remote Sensing Handbook” has 300 leading global expert writers, 82 chapters, and more than 2000 pages. Editor Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail of the U.S. Geological Survey described the handbook, published in November, as “a complete knowledge base about the evolution and history of remote-sensing science over last 50 years, the current state-of-the-art of its science and technology, and a future vision for the field.” It's $479 from CRC Press (with free shipping). Via: press release

Esri Education GIS News

ITC Students Get Free Esri Software at Graduation
Under an agreement between Faculty ITC and ESRI Redlands USA , full-time and sandwich Ph.D. researchers, as well as students following a Master of Science, Master, Postgraduate Diploma or Diploma Course graduated after 2000, are entitled to receive free ESRI ArcGIS software at the time of graduation.
Pretty neat. Details. Via: @0mgould

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