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Thursday, January 21, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: Must Students use Esri Software for Challenge.gov Contest?

Visualize Your Water: A Citizen Science Challenge for High School Students

The challenge, for high school students who live in the Great Lakes basin and Chesapeake Bay watershed, was announced last year. Now the event is actually open. It's supported by a coalition of government agencies, educational organizations and Esri. Winners receive money, publication of their maps in an Esri book, funding to attend the 2016 Esri Education GIS Conference. The press release states students will use Esri software.
In this educational competition, students will use digital mapping technology from Esri (a leading geographic technology company) with data from the USGS, EPA, and other sources to analyze local water quality. They will then create a map that tells a story about the problem and suggests viable solutions.
Further exploration suggests students need not use Esri software. The FAQ includes this question:
Do I have to use Esri mapping software? 
No, students are not required to use Esri mapping software. However, the visualization must include a map that can be viewed online.
Further exploration reveals GIS software must be used. The challenge website states:
GIS software must be used for submissions.
I contacted both USGS (who put out the press release) and the Challenge contact asking for clarification.
Can you clarify exactly what sort of software can/must be used? And, what sort of map created? Can the map be static? 
Three people (two from EPA and one from USGS) joined me on the phone earlier this week to confirm:
  • The online map can be static or interactive. The winning entries will do the best job "telling the story."
  • Students can use any software they like to create the map; it doesn't even need to be GIS software. Organizers want educators to know that ArcGIS Online is available free to use via ConnectED.


Get your weekly GIS education update free, via e-mail every Thursday. How else will you know about what other GIS educators are doing? About new GIS education resources? About all the education efforts Esri is leading that are shared on a half dozen different websites and social media outlets?

GeoLeague Challenge
This will mark the sixth year of the GeoLeague Challenge to be held at the ASPRS Annual Conference in April 2016. Teams from across the country compete in a challenge put forth by the ASPRS Student Advisory Council (SAC). Please review the challenge and the rules for 2016. This year’s challenge is to use freely available imagery to produce an innovative visualization product featuring the national park of your choice. This challenge celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service!
Three of the student team members must be ASPRS members through the conference date and one must attend the conference in Fort Worth. There are prizes.

A quick Google search turned up that in 2014 there were four teams. The 2013 edition had five teams.

I'm curious to know about other ways to engage students with professional organizations. Contests like these seem a dime a dozen. Do challenges like this peak student interest? Or do educators have to add participation into the course requirements? What other ways can professional organizations draw in students?

Edible Map of Africa Assignment

A Portland, OR middle school teacher has assigned the creation of an edible map of Africa as a homework project for about 20 years. This year, push back has broadened the assignment to allow for maps made from found objects. These sound like fun projects. Still, students are tested on their knowledge of African geography in a more traditional format, too.

Planning Part of the Geography Curriculum in New South Wales
HIGH school students will learn urban and regional planning under state government curriculum changes aimed at introducing more practical subjects.
The lessons were developed by the Department of Planning and Environment and the Geography Teachers Association of New South Wales, Australia.

GeoTech Center Geospatial Education Award Nominations Sought

The GeoTech Center is asking for nominations for its 2016 awards:
  • Lifetime Achievement In Geospatial Two-year College Education
  • Distinguished Geospatial Educator Award
  • Distinguished Geospatial Education Partner Award
The awards recognize excellence in geospatial education or support for geospatial education focused on two-year college programs. Nominations are due February 1.

gvSIG Educa

gvSIG Educa is a gvSIG Desktop distribution aimed at the pre-university training courses. The prototype is available for Linux 64 and Windows 32, but the final version will support other operating systems. The gvSIG team is looking for participants to use the prototype and resources for further development.

How One Professor Solicits Community-based GIS Projects

University of Washington Professor Tim Nyerges teaches Geography 469, a GIS workshop tackling a real world project. Here's the PDF he uses to solicit potential work for the one quarter capstone course taken mostly by geography seniors and graduate students.

Third Best Online Geography Program
South Dakota State University was recently ranked as having the third-best online bachelor’s degree program in geography, according to TheBestSchools.org.
Pasadena City College to Get Drones for Photography, Geography and English Studies

The Pasadena City College Foundation awarded two $7,500 grants to purchase two drones to research California’s water resources.

Photography instructor Christopher O’Leary and GIS instructor Brennan Wallace have ordered an Inspire I Pro and a Phantom 3 drone. They also invited an English professor to join their project.

Mapping and GIS Education Resources

Esri GIS Education News

GeoInquiries for US History: Five Questions and Answers (public)

Chris Bunin from Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, VA put together a Q&A to help explain how and when to use Esri's GeoInquiries for U.S. History. It's part of a National Council for History Education publication.

GeoInquiries: Maps and Data for Everyone (paywall)

Tom Baker from Esri covers GeoInquiries in a paywalled journal The Geography Teacher. The ironic title: GeoInquiries: Maps and Data for Everyone.

Updated Public Domain GIS Data Exercises

Joseph Kerski and Jill Clark's book  GIS Guide to Public Domain Data from 2012 included a series of exercises that have now been updated to reflect changes in the data they source. The exercises themselves are in the public domain, per this blog post.

9 Amazing Things I Learned from Jack Dangermond at ESRI's [sic] Young Professionals Network Thought Leaders Session

I believe the list, from a GISP named Carey-Lee Dixon based in Jamaica, is valuable for jobseekers in any field.

ArcGIS Online resources on the Arctic

Esri Canada describes the story map and related questions in a blog post. I'm curious about the difference in engagement for students when exploring a story map vs. online articles or textbook reading assignments. Is there more engagement? More learning? Is there any research on uptake from different formats?

ArcGIS Earth 1.0 Available

ArcGIS Earth, Esri's Windows client software to take up the slack as Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Enterprise wind down, launched last week. Is there a role for ArcGIS Earth as a tool for teaching and learning?

Esri/ICA Cartography Summit in February

Esri and ICA are hosting Cartographic Summit: The Future of Mapping in Redlands, CA
February 8–10, 2016. As of now, it's only open to invited guests.

Colorado GIS in Higher Education Summit 2016

The 8th annual Colorado GIS in Higher Education Summit is planned for Friday April 22nd, 2016.
  • Tentative location: Esri Broomfield, Colorado 
  • Hosts: University of Northern Colorado, Department of Geography and GIS, and Esri