GIS Education News Weekly: Another MOOC, Colleges Take on FAA Regarding Drones, FOSS4Geo

Niger in OSMOpen Online Academy Announces GIS MOOC for the Fall

Introduction to GIS and Mapping starts this fall from the Open Online Academy.  More details at All Points Blog. And, no, I'd not heard of Open Online Academy before, but its focus in on design education (architecture and related disciplines).

Mapping Niger

The “Mapping for Niger” project was launched by Orsolya Jenei, from Hungary, who had previously worked on mapping projects in Chad. She won a grant from the Rising Voices Foundation in order to train geography students at Niamey University in digital mapping techniques. After several months of training – some of them started off with little computer skills – a dozen volunteers [are] starting mapping towns all over the country

Good news: the data is going into OpenStreetMap! (map at right)

Colleges and Universities Ask FAA for Access to Drones for Research

Thirty signatories at public and private colleges and universities supported the effort lead by Smith College.

No Flying Drones at Drone School

Actual reputable schools (not UVU: "UVU is not accredited") are teaching the skills needed to fly drones. The only issue? They can't fly drones.

More on UM MGIS Student Climate App Challenge Winner

The local paper featured the team of seven GIS masters students at the University of Minnesota who won the Esri Climate App Challenge. Their web-based “solar suitability” tool is designed to help renewable energy companies choose suitable sites for solar panels.

On the Minnesota solar suitability analysis Web map (, anyone can type in a street address for a free estimate of whether a rooftop or back yard gets enough sun for solar panels or a solar hot water system. Each point on the map is rated from poor to optimal based on the estimated amount of solar.

High Schooler Explore GIS at North Georgia

More than 30 elite high school students from across Georgia spent two weeks this summer at the University of North Georgia (UNG) experiencing life at college.

The students, all from the top 10% of their class, dug into GIS. It's too bad more students of different abilities could not participate. 

Grant for Tying Stories to the Landscape

Josh Wedderkopp who teaches at Crowcombe and Stogumber Primary Schools won a UK teaching charity award and a grant of £9,100. His idea is:

using GPS technology to attach stories written by pupils to the countryside around them.

Best I can tell this is about getting students out onto the landscape and then making their stories findable by those who visit the area. So, no, not a story map as most of us know it.

FOSS4Geo For Webinar

URISA Texas hosted a webinar that details the work of the FOSS4Geo Academy, an affiliate of Geo For All. It's 45 minutes and runs through the soon to be open educational resource (OER) QGIS courses and the logic behind their creation.

Internship: Forest Preserve District of Will County, IL

The GIS Intern based at Sugar Creek Administration Center, Joliet has an application deadline of 8/6/2014 (Get moving!)

Esri ConnectEd on Edutopia
post by Suzie Boss on Edutopia (a blog worth reading for all educators) extols what's possible with Esri's donation of ArcGIS Online to all K-12 schools (and others) without cost. Among the case studies is James Madison's Geospatial Semester. That's a great program, to be sure, but it's not something any but the most driven and well-trained educators could replicate. In fact, the folks behind that program offer a three day $1360 two credit course on how to re-create the Geospatial Semester
Supergeo Online Training

To make GIS technologies more accessible, Supergeo is going to release a series of free online web courses to let worldwide users to easily learn GIS anytime and anywhere. The courses will show you:

Desktop GIS: the use and application of SuperGIS Desktop and extensions, analysis functions in SuperGIS Toolkit, image data processing, etc.
Server GIS: publishing map services and customizing JavaScript map website with SuperGIS Server, the applications of Mobile SDK, and so on.
Mobile GIS: collecting spatial data with smart devices, recording GPS tracklog, view waypoints with Augmented Reality in SuperSurv (for iOS), etc.

I found no details on the nature or duration of the courses or when they might be available, just a press release.

More on UW-Eau Claire GIS Program

noted the grant to the campus a few weeks back. The local paper provides some insight in what's to come:

[Geography professor, UW-Eau Claire, Christina] Hupy said the first business summit is set for this summer, in which participating businesses will sit down with faculty to prioritize the core GIS skills listed in the U.S. Department of Labor Report.

Some new courses, including one focusing on the PYTHON programming language, will be offered this fall. And over the next two years in addition to the geospatial major, Hupy said the department hopes to create certificates focused on LiDAR and unmanned aerial systems.

Esri Canada Announces Centres of Excellence


GIS Centres of Excellence initiative ... is aimed at encouraging innovation in GIS research and promoting teaching excellence in spatial data management and analysis in higher education across Canada. Initially, there will be Centres at the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, McMaster University and the University of Waterloo in Ontario, McGill University in Quebec, and a joint centre between Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Community College, Centre of Geographic Sciences in Nova Scotia. Over the next three years, Centres will be opened in the Prairie provinces, followed by additional Centres in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

It's not clear at all what the sort of encouragement or resources universities receive. But, students get to compete in an app contest within Canada and then compete with U.S. students for the North American Championship. I've got an e-mail into Esri Canada for more information.

CartoDB Academy

CartoDB, the online mapping tool provider, has launched CartoDB Academy. It currently has two "basic" courses (mapping for beginners, map design) and one "advanced" (rapid map prototyping) one coming. The content is open source (I could find no license cited), can be used by individuals or in a classroom. It may in the future, per the site "teach you skills you can use in other technologies such as ESRI, Google Maps, or Mapbox."

Geography Teaching Excellence at TAMU

Michael C. Ewers, assistant professor of geography, has been selected as the Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar from the College of Geosciences. The Montague-CTE program, now in its 24th year, honors early-career excellence in undergraduate teaching at Texas A&M University.

Using Geospatial Technologies to Support Human Rights Research and Documentation

AAAS lecture/webinar Sept 5:

Human rights organizations are increasingly using scientific evidence-gathering techniques to support and strengthen their work. In this workshop, experts in remote sensing and geographic technologies from  the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project will present the opportunities provided by these technologies  (e.g., remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and GPS), and how they may be used in human rights research and documentation efforts. Workshop participants will develop an understanding of the technologies, how they can affordably incorporate it into their own work, ways the technologies have been used and may be exploited in the future, as well as competencies that will enable them to identify misuse of the technology.

GeoTech Center Receives Innovation Award

On July 23 the GeoTech Center was awarded the Innovation Award, one of four awards presented as part of 2014 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) held in Chicago. The award cites these innovations among others:
  • Development of a national map of geospatial programs at institutions of higher education
  • Establishment of a Community of Practice to link geospatial students and professionals into a single force dedicated to the success of the industry
  • Creation of the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), "which has become the standard for employees and employers in the profession in assessing geospatial skills sets and making the geospatial technologies sector a tried and true occupation."

The center won the same award in 2009.

UCGIS Webinar Series Begins in September

A new University Consortium for Geographic Information Science webinar series tackling GIScience in higher education will be free to faculty/staff from member institutions and $25 for others. On the docket:

Dr. Alex Klippel (Department of Geography, Penn State University), speaking about his experiences with “flipping” a class. Blended Learning in a GIScience Course: Lynda and Sketch-based Geo-spatial Learning Objects.   Monday September 29, 2014, at 4pm EDT. 

Dr. Trisalyn Nelson (Department of Geography, Univ of Victoria, BC, Canada) sharing her expertise with Trends in GIScience Research and Teaching.  Wednesday October 15, 2014, at 2pm EDT. 

Published Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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