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Thursday, December 29, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: Favorite Maps, Most Popular MOOCs, No License

Resources and Articles of Note

Cartonerd Blog: Favorite maps from 2016 - Esri's Kenneth Field weighs in. Also includes some "not so favorites."

Not one of Kenneth Field's Favorites
Esri-UK's Making of the British Landscape story map is now live. h/t @GIS4HE

You may have heard that regulation related to crowdsourcing and federal agencies is awaiting the President's signature. Lea Shanley, PhD explains the upshot of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. "Section 402 makes clear that federal agencies may use crowdsourcing and voluntary, collaborative citizen science to advance their missions. This legislation will help agency staff get past the automatic 'no' of higher ups and general counsels who may be initially cautions of innovative new approaches."

EdSurge: Looking Back on Three Years of the ConnectED Initiative: Did It Deliver? Short answer: perhaps. I suspect many of the organizations that committed to the effort did not have a detailed plan of attack nor sufficient staff to ensure success. I was among the questioning when Esri joined three years ago. Now, three years later, Esri has extended the program for another three years.

Crash Course, which planned a series of Human Geography educational videos, decided to pull the few videos it launched at the end of October due to a rushed schedule and inaccuracies. The organization plans to revamp and relaunch the series in the future.

The World Turned Upside Down: A ten question interactive quiz based on non-standard map orientations by Angus Hyland. h/t @disruptivegeo

Using GIS-based Curricula to Enhance Student Research Through Service-learning (pdf): A poster from David Patrick James Green, Florida Gulf Coast University, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences

EdX blog: 10 Most Popular edX Courses in 2016 - The top offering include computer science, Excel and happiness.


Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers (Amazon link): An urban geographer looks at cities in the context of above and below.

Overview: A New Perspective of Earth (Amazon link):  The book includes images created from satellite images of earth stitched together.

Discovering GIS and ArcGIS (MacMillan link): This is the second edition of Bradley Shellito’s textbook.

Program, Credentials and Courses

A degree in Spatial Data Science and Technology, SDST, may be in store for students at the University of Oregon in 2017. If the UO wins approval from Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission in February, the university will offer the only undergraduate major in SDST in the Pac-12. The new degree was developed by Amy Lobben, the geography department chairwoman and Christopher Bone, an assistant professor in the geography department. I noted Bone in a previous issue.

Delaware Tech is offering several GIS courses in several different formats to meet the needs of the community beginning in January.  The school offers a Associates of Applied Science in GIS out of the Stanton campus and a GIS Certification Program out of the Georgetown campus. I think the latter is more correctly described as a certificate program.

Data Exploration and Storytelling is MOOC hosted by the University of Texas from instructors Alberto Cairo and Heather Krause. It runs January 16 – February 26. Via @petersongis

A Crash Course in Data Science - This is a one week course, the first of five that make up a specialization on Coursera from Johns Hopkins and partners including Zillow. It runs Dec 26-Jan 9 and takes 4-6 hours of work. I'm auditing it during the quiet weeks around the holidays. h/t @0mgould

This winter, there's a 21-day training program to build capacity in geospatial technology in colleges and universities in Jammu, Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal and Uttarakhand in India. The event, with a focus on open source software, is hosted at the Department of Remote Sensing & GIS in the University of Jammu, the only university in Northern India to have Master’s level Course in Remote Sensing and GIS.

Geospatial Training Services announced two new GIS classes coming in March: Automating the Creation of Map Books with Data Driven Pages and Telling Your Story with Story Maps. "The first session of both courses will be a hybrid class delivered March 13th – 24th ....  In our Hybrid classes all lectures are pre-recorded so you can progress through them at your own pace.  Same goes for the exercises. You have access to the instructor via email, chat, or phone to answer any questions or resolve problems."

Ahmad Omar Aburizaiza announced what he is calling the "1st Python/ArcGIS's arcpy course on Udemy." Learn Python with arcpy, the Python package for ArcGIS costs $100 and promises in two and a half hours to increase your GIS salary by 50% on average. YMMV.

In and Out of the Classroom

The Western Illinois University Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center, managed by Director Chad Sperry, offers students a hands-on experience developing a 911 network for counties in south central Illinois.

Art Limbo, who teaches GIS at Salisbury University, described and shared final projects from his GIS programming course (course info is in this pdf). "Things were going so well that I decided in lieu of a final exam, we expanded their final projects a little more, and arranged for the staff at Esri Charlotte  and Esri Redlands to join us on a WebEx that included demonstrations and a code walk-through. Below are each students’ presentation, and some of the Q&A from Esri."

I noted a public radio piece on a course from UC Davis earlier this year. I noted it because it included a story map. I was surprised to find a piece on that same course put together by UC Davis as a paid article (native advertising!) at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The AAG Fellows is a new program to recognize geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography. In addition to honoring geographers, AAG Fellows will serve the AAG as a body to address key AAG initiatives including creating and contributing to AAG initiatives; advising on AAG strategic directions and grand challenges; and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. Nominations are open until June 30, 2017 for this year's inductees.

Campus Facilities

Geospatial Corporation announced that Illinois Wesleyan University will use the company's GeoUnderground software to map and manage below ground and above ground infrastructure assets on the University’s 85 acre campus outside of Bloomington, Illinois.

Teachable Moment

In November,  Anthony Calamito, chief evangelist at Boundless made this statement in an interview.
Because the Boundless ecosystem is open source, there are no licenses (and thus no license costs), so there is no penalty to scale your platform up to meet need/demand. And most importantly, the Boundless ecosystem was built from the ground up to work in modern IT architectures.
Or, perhaps you saw this tweet (conversation, with correction by @wonderchook) over the past weekend from ‏@Spatial_Punk.
Merry Christmas....You know what doesn't have a license...QGIS
Bottom line: Boundless software and QGIS both have licenses. The former's is called the OpenGeo Suite End-User Software License Agreement. The latter is under a GNU General Public License. I encourage educators to teach about licenses. Speaking of GNU GPL, its author, Richard Stallman, will be giving the keynote at FOSS4G in August, here in Boston.

Geo for All Budget

I appreciate that Geo for All is transparent in all its discussions. I note this budget request for 2017.

$5000 - For OSGeo Student Awards at FOSS4G events; the goal is to get local matching money.
$3000 - For UN OpenGIS Initiative; the funding is for Maria Brovelli's travel, if needed.


Hexagon announced the winners of its yearlong IGNITE contest.

The NCGE Women in Geographic Education awards a $500 scholarship to an outstanding female undergraduate or graduate student in geography. The winner also receives free registration and some expenses for the annual conference. Deadline: February 1, 2017. This page includes details for this and many other NCGE scholarships and awards.

Closing Thought

GIS companies do not agree on everything. But I was pleased to see so many employees of GIS companies, and other organizations, sign this pledge saying they will not build a U.S. Muslim registry. Happy holidays!