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Thursday, May 4, 2017

GIS Education Weekly: GIS for Peace, Global Mapper for Free, New Home for Yik Yak Programmers

Articles and Resources:

R Tutorial
Consumer Data Research Centre: An Introduction to Spatial Data Analysis and Visualisation in R (2016) - The tweet said "just published," but the tutorial is dated 2016. It's from Guy Lansley and James Cheshire and requires free registration for access. Licensing is not obvious.

Inside HigherEd: Up in the Air - The education publication looks at drone regulations.

Tufts University: Spatial epidemiology used to identify three key hepatitis C hotspots in Massachusetts - New analysis shows areas with highest rates and counts of hep C infections in the commonwealth.

Hindustan Times: Now, new government schools in UP only after GIS mapping - "Construction of any new school under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will be decided only on the basis of the GIS map so as to ensure proper distribution of school locations across the state."

EdScoop: Moving toward a smarter use of IT resources at Bucknell - VP of libraries and IT addresses austerity and GIS: "As an example of the kind of work we have done, our geographic information system (GIS) specialists have collaborated with faculty on utilizing GIS technology to visually represent data in powerful and new ways. Economics Professor Jan Knoedler now has her students use GIS technology to map and analyze income inequality in various regions of the country, and the technology has aided her research—which she completed with the help of an undergraduate student—into the pre- and post-Civil War regionalization of the U.S. economy."

EdSurge: MOOCs Started Out Completely Free. Where Are They Now? -  Dhawal Shah of Class Central looks at the state MOOCs from a payment standpoint. Bottom line: very little is still 100% free and none of the big platform players offer free certificates. (Esri's MOOCs, hosted on Udemy, are 100% free, including the certificates.) 

ReliefWeb: Technology at the service of peace - The article defines "peacetech" and "GIS for peace."

Northeastern University Graduate Programs Blog: Dan Czirjak Uses Images from Outer Space to Solve Problems on the Ground - The faculty member talks about his course on GEOINT.

Directions Magazine: Emerging Trends at the Intersection of GIS & Aerial Imagery - Diana Sinton looks at "what's new" in imagery.

Press Release:  Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator Now Available for U.S. and Canadian Colleges and Universities at No Cost - The school must apply for software; it can't be used for research or commercial projects.


Penn State’s massive open online course “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” will open May 8 on FutureLearn, a United Kingdom MOOC platform. Cost: free or $79. There's more on the course from a Penn State news story.

NEGIS Spring Conference

Last Thursday NEGIS hosted its spring conference. I'm on the board of NEGIS, an organization that provides scholarships to college students studying geospatial topics.

The best presentation, hands down, was from Meg Watters Wilkes of the National Park Service. She spoke about using GIS as part of the investigation of Parker’s Revenge, one of the battles on the first day of the American revolution in and around Lexington and Concord, MA. (More on the work and a link to the 320 page final report) Why was it the best presentation? It had a story, actually,a mystery story, to follow! And it had maps and crowdsourcing (volunteers and re-enactors helped do the research). So far as I'm concerned this should be a case study in using GIS for archeology and historic battle investigations. 

One speaker talked a lot about his slides. "I think I have a slide on that." "I hope I can get through my slides." "This slide shows...." If you are focused on and engaging with your slides, you are likely not telling a story and engaging your audience. That was my least favorite presentation.

I moderated a panel titled "Beyond the Classroom: Planning Your GIS Career." I had three academic panelists and three form industry. As we moved through my and the attendees questions a few terms popped up that I feared some of the students in attendance did not know. So I asked, "Who does not know what 'x' is?" I was so pleased when a few hands went up. In some cases, the panel provided answers, in other cases, I asked those with raised hands to Google the item. Here are some of the terms in question: R, ETL, FME. computational thinking, soft skills.

For Students

I wondered why the GeoTech Center had not updated its website for the 2017 Skills Competition when I noted it last December. I see now that it's because it will not be held. The organization is planning a competition for 2018.

Job Posting: Smith College Post Baccalaureate Spatial Analysis Fellow - Great opportunity to do cool GIS things at a small liberal arts college and work with Jon Caris!

URISA offers discounted membership to young professionals and students: 
Student Membership annual dues: $20 
Young Professional Membership annual dues $125

In and Out of the Classroom

UT Dallas GIS master student Phillip Accetturo BS’16, in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, recently published a study examining the prevalence of crime in the South American country of Guyana. The study appeared online in the academic journal Deviant Behavior. (press release)

Jason Baxter is a graduating senior at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado. "The internship I was granted with the Town of Castle Rock, specifically with the GIS (geographic information systems) team, was centered around the creation of the Community Resources Map, which can be found on the GIS webpage. My task was to create a map of locations that would be helpful to new or curious Castle Rock residents."

Map Flint started in 2015 when various organizations in the area teamed up with UM-Flint’s University Outreach and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center to start compiling data that would offer a growing and comprehensive view of what’s happening in the city. Its was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. There's an update from the school's news service.

A team of Radford University Department of Geology faculty and students has been mapping the geology of the 14,000-acre Blue Ridge Scout Reservation in Pulaski County, Virginia. The group completed the project and will formally present two framed maps to area Scouts and Scout leaders.

A student team at Penn State built an augmented reality sandbox and showed it off at the 2017 Engineering Showcase on April 27. The engineering students built it for the Discovery Space, an interactive museum for children in downtown State College.

Next Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm is the GIS Poster Expo at Alumnae Lounge and Balch Lobby Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University. It's the 11th annual event! I try to attend each year.

Geo Biz News

Square is acquiring the engineering team from Yik Yak for less than $3 million. Yik Yak has raised $73.5 million in funding and was popular and controversial. It provided for anonymous location-based communications and was heavily used on school campuses.

Open News

The NAACP endorsed Open Educational Resources (OER).

"U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help federal agencies maintain open access to machine-readable databases and datasets created by taxpayer-funded research." h/t to Gary Price, whose InfoDocket has been a resource for me since 2000!