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

Thursday, January 24, 2019

GIS Education Weekly: Free Class for Furloughed Federal Employees Fills Fast

Resources for Teaching and Learning

The Ringer: Bad News, Gumshoes: Carmen Sandiego Is No Longer a Villain - Yes, the geography educating villain that came from a computer game and then on to PBS has returned on Netflix - as a hero.

PostGIS: The “Intro to PostGIS” workshop lives here now. Apparently, that's a new home. Via  @postgis.

The Food Programme: Feeding the Falklands - An awesome podcast about food and geography and sustainability.

The Conversation (US): Why paper maps still matter in the digital age - Yes, this topic popped up recently, but it was in reference to a new book from the folks at All Over the Map. This is a random assortment map tidbits from a journalism professor at NYU. And, it really doesn't address the why in the title. The site claims, "Academic rigor, journalistic flair" but I'm not feeling it. Interestingly, Fast Company ran the article (it's under an open license) with the headline,"What technochauvinists get wrong about maps."

Harvard Political Review: Manuscript Musings: A Review of “Geography: Why It Matters” - University of Oregon professor Alex Murphy "argues for his discipline in the name of fellow geographers who have come before him."
Christian Science Monitor: Negro Mountain? Why offensive place names are still on US map. - Always a timely topic.

Vail Daily News: Meet James Niehues, the Colorado native who defined the ski map - "James Niehues, the artist behind the iconic ski trail maps, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to back his upcoming coffee table book of work. The campaign has now raised more than $590,000."

Authoritative Content

Geospatial World: How on-farm weather stations are advancing precision agriculture - Last week I asked if this is an authoritative article and why or why not. I promised to share my response this week. This is not an authoritative source based on my examination. Here's what I found:

- The author, Allen Brown has a generic bio that includes no experience in geospatial or weather technology. In fact, if you google the text of the generic bio you find he prepares similar articles on topics including apps, Android and hemp oil. He may well go by more than one name; see the hemp oil article penned by Peter King, who has the same bio! My guess is he's makes a living writing articles for content marketing services.

- There is one direct link in the on-farm water station article to WeatherStationAdvisor.com. I'd guess the company paid for the article to be written. The company is mentioned in passing in the context of an entire paragraph about that site solving the weather station selection process.

- The article is posted on the Geospatial World blog where I've found other less than authoritative  articles including this one suggesting a new Google tech that was four years old! The blog's description states "Featured Geospatial Blogs by our team that gives you the insight into technology, applications and business trends in the geospatial industry. Read the latest blog posts here!"

- I contacted the publication to ask if the editorial staff felt the content was authoritative. I did not receive a response.

On and Off Campus

Purdue: Drones shown to make traffic crash site assessments safer, faster and more accurate - Conventional mapping of a severe or fatal crash can take two to three hours depending on the severity of the accident; data collection using a drone can map a scene in five to eight minutes.

ArcNews: Use GIS Technology in the Classroom, Both On-Campus and Online - Shireen Hyrapiet describes how she injected GIS into her courses.

University of Nebraska: Office of Sustainability unveils map of UNL's water-filling stations - It's a story map. (We just got one of those fancy filling stations where my band rehearses.)

North By Northwestern: The making of the Wildcat GeoGame - The trivia game, begun in 2016 to help increase geographic literacy on campus, is still running. And, prizes are still pizzas. Oh, those crazy kids up in Evanston!

Courses and Programs

Front Range Community College – Boulder County Campus: The Bachelor of Applied Science in Geospatial Science (face to face) that stacks on the existing Associates of Applied Science is approved for Fall Semester 2019. It was originally expected to launch in Jan 2019. The school is looking for instructors. Contact information is here.

NMHU: HU Offers GIS Course Free to Furloughed Federal Workers - New Mexico Highlands University offered a free online GIS class to furloughed federal employees that began Jan. 16. The eight-week two-credit class is called Introduction to Geospatial Technology and filled very quickly. I invite furloughed workers and everyone else to join thousands of other life long learners for two MOOCs starting Feb 6. One of my colleagues noted lots of other free learning opportunities that are open to furloughed government employees.

North Road Geo: You can win free QGIS training (2 x 1.5 hr one-on-one Skype sessions) if you comment on and share a tweet.

EdX: Competency-Based Education: The Why, What, and How - I'm taking this MOOC from MIT via EdX. Want to join me?

Education News

Daily News (Zimbabwe): Low 'A' Level Geography Pass Rate: New curriculum to Blame - Most school A level tests had a 75% or higher pass rate; geography was at 55%. Teachers union leaders indicate the issue is a new curriculum that includes GIS, "geometric information systems." They further argue that austerity measures mean teachers do not have have the resources to learn or teach the curriculum.

Axios: Student debt is depleting rural America - "Student loans are driving a 'rural brain drain' as students flock to big cities It's deepening an educational and political divide that is increasingly coming to define the country."

Boulder Daily Camera: University of Colorado launches interactive state map of outreach efforts - "'What it really comes down to: We are all over the state,' CU President Bruce Benson said. 'I think it's important that people know that.'"

Sherwood Park News: Alberta government buys 1600 Indigenous atlas for junior and senior high students - Alberta is providing every Alberta junior high and high school with a copy of the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.

Boston Globe: Green Mountain College in Vermont will shut down - Here in Boston the shuttering of small colleges is becoming a regular event. In the last two years Mt. Ida shut down, Newbury plans to, Wheelock merged with BU, and Hampshire announced a search for a partner. And now Green Mountain will close. Due to its environmental focus, it has a small but mighty GIS program lead by Jon Van Hoesen.


GIS Lounge: GIS and Map Contests Roundup - Editor Caitlin Dempsey includes a few contests that I've not covered in this publication.

Forbes: Ten Things Never, Ever To Do At A Networking Event - This is a good list to review as we head into the first set of 2019 conferences. I have seen these behaviors in the wild; they make me uncomfortable.

Smith College is hiring a post-bacc Spatial Fellow as soon as possible to work through end of June 2019.  There may be funding to extend the position another two years.

Lockheed Martin: STEM Scholarship - "Beginning in 2019, we are awarding 200 scholarships of $10,000 per student – renewable each year. "

Request: "I have a student who wants to know how well you understand different election maps! Please take the short quiz." Via @spatialanalysis.

Esri: 2019 Esri Education Open House - On Friday, March 22 Esri invites educators and students to "see the latest Esri technology in action, and learn what it’s like to work" at the (ok, my) company. "Esri employees will be on hand to lead campus tours, answer questions, and offer advice."

AAG: There are four new poster competitions sponsored by Routledge that have been added to the April conference in D.C. Abstract submissions are due January 31. Via @theAAG.


Washington College: $2 Million For GIS Program - "Winning its third Maryland Department of Commerce E-Nnovation grant in a row and with $1 million matched by The Hodson Trust, Washington College gains $2 million to expand its GIS program." The plan is to use the funds "to establish an endowed directorship for the College’s GIS Program, broadening student avenues for study and professional experience in the growing geographic information systems field, as well as expanding economic development opportunities and encouraging investment in business development and pilot projects."