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Thursday, June 21, 2018

GIS Education Weekly: University of Kentucky Opens Registration for MS in Digital Mapping

University of Kentucky Opens Registration for MS in Digital Mapping

The University of Kentucky's New Maps Plus program announced June 14 via tweet that it is now accepting applications for an MS in Digital Mapping degree program starting this summer. Applications are due June 24, with classes starting July 9. Students can also join the program in the fall semester. To date, New Maps Plus has offered only a post-baccalaureate certificate.

I (AS) contacted the program and Matthew Wilson (MW) , director of New Maps Plus, answered my questions.

AS: Do I recall correctly that the MS was announced a few years ago but never actually opened for applicants before?
MW: We launched New Maps Plus in Fall 2015, following a year of development and the various requirements to gain approval to offer a new degree in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We admitted students to the online Graduate Certificate in Digital Mapping, with a three course, eleven credit hour, requirement. MAP671 gives students an introduction to desktop GIS and development workflows, including QGIS, markdown and Github, and Carto/Mapbox. MAP672 allows students to learn web programming standards for mapping, including CSS and HTML, as well as the basics of Javascript, including use of Leaflet. MAP673 is the final course in the certificate. In this class, students dig more deeply into web programming for mapping, including building interactive map environments using Leaflet and Carto, with some exposure to D3. Throughout students receive feedback through Github using Markdown. They develop a portfolio of their web mapping creations and learn some of the basics of distributed software development.

AS: What changed to finally open the degree to applicants?
MW: We launched the online Master of Science in Digital Mapping this summer, following budgetary approval from the College of Arts & Sciences. We have moved around 160 students through our courses in the graduate certificate and around 60 have completed the certificate requirements. We have experimented with the offering of MAP675 (a course in the MSc) and have been really impressed with the students coming out of that class, which focuses on collaborative development of web mapping. We believe that we now have a number of students ready and excited to complete the MSc. We’re eager to expand our courses into the MSc. This Summer we’ll be offering MAP701, which gives our map enthusiasts a history of critical cartography.

AS: Are you focusing on your existing certificate holders to be the first members of the first MS cohort?
MW: We hope that many of our certificate holders will consider applying to complete the MSc with us. We designed the MSc to extend the work of the certificate. All courses in the certificate roll directly into the MSc, which has a 30 credit hour requirement.

AS: How would you describe what distinguishes the New Maps Plus degree from other GIS professional masters credentials?
MW: We offer what we believe to be the only online MSc that focuses on the standards and practices of professionals in web mapping development. While we do not focus narrowly on GIS, per se, we believe that our students will be prepared to enter a work environment that requires more out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to the development of high quality, interactive, web maps.

AS: Is there anything else you want to share about this news?
MW: Come visit us in Lexington! We’ll also be at NACIS this October. Our online instructors, specifically Rich Donohue [whose work I wrote about at Directions Magazine] and Boyd Shearer, have been with the New Maps Plus team since the beginning. It is due to their intellect and passion for teaching that we believe we have created something quite unique, here. We also think of our online students as extended members of our Department of Geography, and hope they feel similarly! We have two new faculty joining New Maps Plus this Fall: Jack Gieseking and Nick Lally. We’re a vibrant, world-class faculty with students pushing the boundaries of the field, and we’re always eager to work with students who are curious about the world and seek to find new and innovative ways to address the issues that shape human-environment relations.

Education News

EdWeek: See the Schools Puerto Rico Plans to Close and Where Displaced Students Will Go - Nine months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico plans to close 263, nearly 25%, of its public schools.

Two news stories I saw this week highlight how attitudes are changing about college related standardized tests. First, my alma mater, the University of Chicago became "the first top 10 research university" to remove the SAT or ACT requirement for U.S. applicants. An editorial from the Chicago Tribune ("a great city deserves a great newspaper") reminds readers "these tests aren’t just for colleges. They’re yardsticks for parents, lawmakers and — most important — students." My question: Should the tests be used for those purposes? Second, eight private high schools in the D.C. area have decided to eliminate AP courses in the coming years.


URISA Vanguard Cabinet: The group focused on "younger members" is sponsoring K-12 and university student competitions at the GIS-Pro & CalGIS 2018 event, Oct 9-12 in Palm Springs, California. Abstracts are due in August and September, so don't wait for school to start to submit!

Central Penn Business Journal: Take a bow: Several tech women recognized at annual awards - If you see Nicole Ernst, associate professor, Harrisburg Area Community College, congratulate her on her Education Impact Award. "Ernst brings years of firsthand geospatial technology and cartography experience to her classes at HACC."


Techcrunch: VR helps us remember - Results from research at the University of Maryland suggest that VR 3D experiences with a "memory palace" enable subjects to recall items relative locations 10% better than those interacting with the material via a 2D computer experience. My question: what if no technology were used to create the memory palace? My theory is that constructing the "memory palace" is a key part of its success.


"Ancient Earth" globe:  Visitor to the site can view the continents in the past, back to 750 million years ago. You can even look for your home address in the search field to see where you would've lived back then. Via @simongerman600.

Speaking of GIS Ep 14: The podcast includes a discussion with students from the Masters of GIS Technologies program from University of Arizona. They share their stories about how they got interested in GIS and what they hope to do in their careers. Via LinkedIn.
Esri Education Summit: The agenda is online.

How do you pronounce GDAL?: A short podcast in "which Dana Bauer and Sam Roy reach out to GDAL creator Frank Warmerdam to set the record straight." The two "interviewers" are from Planet.  I met Frank about 20 years ago; I was laughed at for saying GDAL "wrong." I also still say Esri "wrong." Via @briantimoney. 

AAG: GeoMentor Student and Classroom Project Examples - List of case studies and student created projects, mostly story maps.

Programs and Courses

UGA: CAES launches Certificate in Agricultural Data Science: The University of Georgia will launch an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Agricultural Data Science this fall.  There's reference to precision ag and drones, but nothing about geospatial technology per se. Via @GeographyUGA.

Past to Present: Mapping the Chesapeake - The low-cost five day course for K-12 instructors will be held in Maryland. The Reddit/GIS community suggests it should be run with QGIS but then, that's fast becoming that community's answer to everything.

LinkedIn: "Jody Garnett, Training Specialist at Boundless, spent this week at LaunchCode headquarters training a NGA Cohort of LaunchCoders on the Boundless Stack including Server, PostGIS, and Open Layers." LaunchCode is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that "was founded in 2013 to help companies find skilled, new tech talent from all backgrounds and walks of life."

Empowering Women in Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) - "The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in partnership with Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN), will conduct a four-day training on “Empowering Women in Geospatial Information Technology (GIT)”, Kathmandu, under its SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) Initiative." The goal is to expose 80 women to careers in GIT starting June 25.

Hindustan Times: Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College to begin Geography(H) this year - There will be 46 seats available in the program. The degree was supposed to launch in 2015, but logistical issues forced a delay.

State News: Map your future! - Michigan State's geography department sponsored content on its degree program in the school paper.

On and Off Campus

PenBay Pilot: College students interning with state, municipal government through UMaine program - There are 55 internships including one for Richard Wyman of Searsmont, who attends the University of Maine, and will work as a GIS field assistant with the Town of Rockport Public Works Department.

Spectrum News: Teens make digital map of U.S. Colored Troops in Mount Hope CemeteryTeens make digital map of U.S. Colored Troops in Mount Hope CemeteryTeens make digital map of U.S. Colored Troops in Mount Hope CemeteryTeens Make Digital Map of Colored Troops in Mt. Hope Cemetery  - “'We’re mapping African-American soldiers who fought in the United States Civil War who were given the name of United States Colored Troops,' said Thomas Cuyler, director of GIS Scholars, Inc." The plan was to launch the project on Juneteenth.

Government Technology: University Students Create Spatial Analysis Tools to Help Cities Do More with Data - "Graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Urban Spatial Analytics Practicum are working with city officials in Philadelphia, Providence, R.I., and Minneapolis to develop data science tools to improve safety, health and quality of life for residents."