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Thursday, April 21, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: Free and Discounted Resources for Teaching and Learning


The GI Learner program, funded by the Erasmus+ program and the European Union, offers two reports of note:

There's an update to Learning QGIS and a deal to encourage purchases: 100 copies of the book are available at 30% off for print and 50% off for eBook.

ArcPy exercises, including course data and a 200 page PDF, are free to download from Esri. These are the course materials for Paul A. Zandbergen's ArcPy (Python) book.

This is good stuff, huh? Get this GIS education update free, via e-mail, every Thursday.

Per-pupil spending in southern
New Hampshire
NPR offers a map of How Per-Pupil Spending Compares Across U.S. School Districts. (Map technology: Mapbox)

The Spatial Community hosted some "Ask me Anythings" with some knowledgeable geospatial individuals on Slack. I point this out in part to be sure readers are familiar with these terms.

Today, Thursday April 21, at 1 pm EDT, UCGIS is hosting a free webinar: Open Mapping for Resilience by Youth in Higher Education. The organizers of MappersU and YouthMappers will share stories and explaining how educators and mappers worldwide can work together on efforts to develop OpenStreetMap data.

U-Spatial announced the 2016 University of Minnesota Summer Spatial Boot Camp, an intensive, five-day geospatial workshop to be held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis from June 6th to 10th, 2016. The course covers the fundamentals of remote sensing, GPS, LiDAR, cartography, and field data collection. "Working knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a prerequisite for admission to the workshop. In particular, familiarity with ArcGIS or comparable software packages is required." The fee is $250 with dorm housing available at extra cost. Applications close on May 9, 2016. The bootcamp is open to students, educators and the public.

There are lots of good teaching and learning takeaways from this interview with Andrew Woodruff of Axis Maps. Among them:
  • "Flash may be dead to many of us now, but learning it was not at all a waste of time. Those skills transferred well."
  • A brief history of ColorBrewer
  • In Boston, "Everything is closer than it seems."

Funding and Support

According to a press release, the Maptitude mapping software team sponsored the AAG Business Geography Specialty Group Student Paper Competition. The details of the competition (pdf) suggest the team spent $600. Competing students had to submit an abstract for the conference, get the paper selected, then attend and present the paper at the conference. The chair of the competition committee works for Esri.

The MetLife Foundation is funding a $240,000 project locating financial services providers. University of Kansas and University of Michigan researchers will lead a project to build a web-based, interactive map showing where financial services are located in communities across the United States and how the locations of these services affect individuals’ financial opportunity.

In and Out of the Classroom

Keene State (NH) alum Rick Brackett, who works for the Monadnock Conservancy, led geography students and staff members on a hunt for changes to a parcel of Keene conservation land. The goal: confirming the parcel boundaries and visually assessing that the area, under a conservation easement, was not being used improperly. Does your school invite alumni back to talk about their careers or provide case studies?

BHSU Campus Tree Inventory
Storm Atlas hit the midwest hard back in 2013. It brought down some 230 trees at Black Hills State University (BHSU, in South Dakota). In response, students in assistant professor of geology Abigail Domagall’s GIS course and in assistant professor of plant biology Justin Ramsey’s biology class collaborated on a campus tree mapping project. The GIS class took coordinates of each tree on campus and the biology class identified the species. The results were moved to a Google Map. The school is hosting a Ann Arbor day event to engage the community in tree care.

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), in partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), and the GeoTEd project. sponsored a new three-credit course, Sea Level Rise Service Learning, Topics in Service Learning Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  The online course is now live; the four days of field work at NASA Wallops Island just wrapped up.

The NC State GLBT Center and its Volunteer, Internship and Practicum Program are sponsoring a new project  which maps out all 254 bathrooms on campus to detail each bathroom’s accessibility. Among the attributes being collected and mapped are gender, occupancy, wheelchair accessibility, Braille writing on signs, safety bars, door width, public access, locks on main doors, changing tables, and showers.

Stanford hosted the grand opening of the David Rumsey Map Center on the fourth floor of Green Library earlier this week. More here.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Geospatial Analysis Center "is working with eight undergraduate students to create a Solar Energy Potential Map for the city of Duluth. The project uses aerial photos of the city to map building footprints in order to understand the solar potential of buildings. In June, this project will culminate in a public web-based mapping application that will provide an assessment of solar resources for the university and Duluth."

Third grade students in Portage, IN are beta testing Google Expeditions. Recently they looked at the ocean sunfish Mola mola using Google Cardboard. The article in a local paper doesn't explain the learning goals of the lesson. Still, a third grade teacher "hopes Google Expeditions winds up being affordable for the district, as he sees opportunities not just for science and geography but for any subject."

The study of geography is losing its charm in Nepal.


Humboldt State University honored a geographer as one of its two "Outstanding Students of the Year for Outstanding Co-Curricular Contributions." Geography major Cristina Bauss earned first place in the Joe Beaton Poster Award Competition at the 69th annual meeting of the California Geographic Society. She was a National Geographic Geography intern and was inducted as a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Honor Society in Geography. She's currently researching the environmental impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation in Humboldt County using GIS.

The individuals not highlighted on this public spreadsheet are looking for GeoMentors.

The individuals in the 2016 Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) Graduate Profile Booklet (pdf) are looking for jobs. Does your program make a book like this? Should it?

Esri News

Esri's 2016 Southeast User Conference (May 2-4, Charlotte, NC) will feature an education track and an Education Community Town Hall Meeting. The education sessions and Town Hall Meeting are scheduled on Monday, May 2. You can find details in the agenda by searching on "education."

Esri announced that GeoInquiry exercises for 4th graders are ready for public field testing. Topics include:

  • Biomes and ecosystems
  • Time zones
  • Street maps
  • Settlement patterns: people and water
  • Exploring Elevation with Lewis and Clark
  • Discovering Map Scale
  • Watersheds
  • Climate

The Geographical Association presented a silver Publishers’ Award to Esri UK’s Education team. The award recognizes Esri’s ArcGIS Online free Public Account as a vital online resource making a significant contribution to the teaching of geography in primary schools, secondary schools and colleges, and encouraging the development of new materials.