ABS Consulting Group, Inc.: Home | Blog | Resume | Speaking | Publications

Thursday, December 14, 2017

GIS Education News: A UAS MOOC, Poverty Mapping, More Free Software for Students and Faculty


Number of international students a state hosted in 2016-2017
U.S. News: Map: 10 States That Attract International Students - Could it be the states with the most colleges and universities? Twitter cartographers call for normalizing the data.

Stanford News: An artificial intelligence algorithm developed by Stanford researchers can determine a neighborhood’s political leanings by its cars - "Stanford researchers are using computer algorithms that can see and learn to analyze millions of publicly available images on Google Street View to determine the political leanings of a given neighborhood just by looking at the cars on the streets."

Robert Roth posted his 100 slides from his talk "User-centered Cartography" given at the Technical University of Munich last week. 

Wired: When Waze Won't Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Maps - "When you pass from Israel into the West Bank, part of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Waze’s directions simply end. To keep going, you need to change your setting to allow access to 'high risk' areas. Even then, GPS coverage tends to be limited."

USA Today: Waze sent commuters toward California wildfires, drivers say - "Users of popular navigation apps like Waze are warning the services directed them to neighborhoods where wildfires forced closures and evacuations. The issue stems from the way apps like Waze help users avoid commute nightmares such as heavy traffic or construction. "

AP: Private school in Lebanon regrets showing Israel on a map - A private French school in Lebanon has issued an apology following complaints from the parents of a fourth grader that a map in geography class shows Israel— and not Palestine— as the country's southern neighbor, violating the law.

There's a new wiki focusing on geodesign. It's administered by individuals from the University of Florida and a private company. Via @gised.

University at Buffalo: Big data makes poverty maps more accurate - I'm all for using big data in new ways. However, I found some of the maps, and some of the statements regarding data sources, had room for improvement. 

CBC: 'Right in their own backyard': New Google Earth project maps Canada's residential schools - "The Google Earth Voyager residential school story uses more than 100 markers to geographically show Canada's residential school sites and gives first-hand stories from survivors — including accounts of abuse — and how those people and their families are working to move forward.... Voyager is a collection of map-based stories written by Google Earth partners that's updated weekly. The residential schools story project, which launched Monday, is a partnership between the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, based at the University of Manitoba, and Canadian Geographic Education."

Supporting GIS Education

Press release: Caliper Donates Mapping Software to USGIF Acadmic Partners - "Caliper Corp., a mapping and transportation software solutions company, has donated 166, three-year Maptitude software licenses to students and faculty attending or working at the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) partnered collegiate schools." The press release ends with an open invitation for other organizations to provide software, too.

Education News

Open University: 2017 Innovating Pedagogy Report - This sixth report proposes ten innovations that are already in use but have yet, according to the report, to profoundly influence education. Want a quick summary? OUNews has one.

Inside Higher Ed: Will Open Online Education Disrupt the Master's Admissions Funnel? - Joshua Kim looks at the promise of the model across master's degrees. Could a micromaster model apply in GIS, what I'd consider a skills based discipline? Sure. Will it? I don't think so. Also: Betteridge's law of headlines is one name for an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." H/T @audreywatters.

On and Off Campus

The University Star (Texas State): National Geographic president pushes for a “generation geography” - Gary E. Knell, the president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, presented the Grosvenor lecture. "The presentation began with a definition of geography as the representation of the many different dimensions and facets that a single state, region, country or continent can contain. However, Knell sees geography as more than just the physical aspect of our world; it is also the humane aspect of it."

York News Times (Nebraska): York College hosts annual Geography Fair - "From the sandy beaches of Dominican Republic to snowy forests of Sweden, 339 elementary and middle school students from the York area explored the world at the annual Cultural Geography Fair hosted by York College on Friday." It's the sixth year for the fair where students collect stickers in the their passports, make crafts and participate in other low-tech activities.

Currier Mail: Students using mobile phones to map traffic hotspots around Brisbane - Year 12 geography students surveyed parent drivers and mapped pick up congestion hot spots around their school using GIS on mobile phones. "After mapping traffic data using GIS, the students observed patterns and developed potential solutions, such as staggered pick-up times for schools and a footbridge over Lambert Rd. They hoped to share their findings with Brisbane City Council."

Programs and Courses

Dartmouth offers a new class in the geography department titled "Critical Mapping and the Geohumanities." It's taught by @en_dash. Via @GeographyStudio.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus will  offer a free, two-week MOOC on drone operation called Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Key Concepts for New Users. The course will run for the fourth time (once a year since 2015) from Jan. 22 to Feb 4. Those who compete the course receive a badge. Registration is open.

GIS User: Changing the Face of Undergraduate Geospatial Education - "To meet the demands of a growing student population interested in spatial technologies, the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University assessed emerging trends in workforce needs, geospatial certification programs, and the depth of knowledge required to complete competitive graduate programs in spatial technologies. Results from this assessment strongly suggested that the time had come to formulate a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geospatial Analysis and Intelligence degree program (BAS-GAI)." More than 100 students have enrolled in the major since it launched in fall 2016, according to a similar article in Trajectory from October of this year.


National Geographic announced the GeoChallenge, a contest for students in grades five through eight to use critical thinking, teamwork and innovation to solve real-world problems. Teams of four to six students will produce a story, a map, and a physical model. Each team will send photos and a video to enter the first round. The deliverables are due Feb 1. The theme this year is "On the Move," about animal migration and barriers to it. There is no fee to participate. Via NHGA.

In other NatGeo news, this year is the 30th anniversary of the National Geographic Bee. Schools that register by December 22 will receive a limited-time $20 discount since there is a fee to participate.