GIS Education News Weekly: Precision Ag Degree, Bowdoin Awardee, NH Trains K-12s on ArcGIS

For Students

New Precision Ag Degree First in Ohio

The Ohio Board of Regents has approved Clark State Community College’s Associate of Applied Science degree in precision agriculture, allowing the college to begin enrolling students to the two-year program and to start classes in August. The expectation it to enroll 10 to 20 students. It's the first in the state and one of about a dozen nationwide.

URISA College Student Competition at GIS Pro

There will be a series of brief presentations (no longer than five minutes each) during a newly revitalized student competition session at GIS Pro in New Orleans on September 9th at 2:00 PM. Students at the conference will compete for the "Best Presentation" cash award. Additionally, digital submissions will be accepted for students unable to attend the conference, where they can compete for additional cash prizes* in various categories. All approved submissions will be uploaded online and displayed in the common area during the conference, to allow conference attendees to vote on a "People's Choice" award. All awards will be presented to select competitors during the Wednesday morning awards ceremony at GIS-Pro 2014. 

Students may submit a map or poster .pdf (or image file), a PowerPoint presentation, or a video walk-through of a web app., mobile app., model, or script they have developed. Participants must submit evidence of at least half-time enrollment at an accredited college for the Fall 2014 term. Details and application are online. I could not find criteria for judging or who would be judging (except for the people's choice award noted above). URISA is looking for donations for a total of $1500 in cash prizes.

WLIA Scholarship for High School Grads Studying Land Information Towards a Degree

The  WLIA Foundation, Inc. is proud to announce they are now accepting applications for the 2014 Damon Anderson Memorial Scholarship Awards.  We will be awarding several $1,000 scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic school year, along with a one year student membership in the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA).  Recipients will also receive recognition and free registration to the 2015 WLIA Annual Conference in Green Bay.

There is no geographic restriction on where the student lives or will go to school.

Teaching and Learning Resources

Harvard Panel Recap

Harvard hosted a conference on "Geospatial Technology and Online Education" and Matt Wilson moderated a panel on Geospatial Education Online. He recaps the responses.

Open Source GIS Learning for Beginners: Maptime

There has long been a need for organized community around learning and teaching geospatial open source. It’s way too hard hard to learn about maps and geographic concepts. It’s way too hard to learn about geospatial technology.

So, some enterprising people started Maptime "a collection of beginner-focused community groups for learning geospatial technology, techniques, and concepts, particularly using open source tools and hands-on practice and exercises." The idea emerged at the State of the Map (the OpenStreetMap conference) 2013 and is sponsored by Stamen.

PCI Offers Training Texts for Non-Commercial Use

Until now, the textbooks were only available as part of a complete training program. But now, PCI Geomatics thinks educational institutions can use them.  The company offer texts that support Geomatica installations: Geomatica I, Geomatica II, Geomatica OrthoEngine, or SAR Image Processing.

The information contained is the training textbooks can be easily adapted, and contains a great deal of information to help teach basic and advanced remote sensing concepts. PCI Geomatics hopes that Universities, colleges and other educational institutions can leverage these resources to enrich their curriculum.

Sadly, the license, as I read it, provides very limited use by educators.

Summer Spatial Data institutes in New Hampshire for Teachers; Free

Designed specifically for teachers, the 2014 Summer Spatial Institute series will take educators from beginning online GIS skills through the more advanced skills analyzing local data.

Many have stipends (some are pending) and most can be taken for credit. And, I know the folks teaching these; there will be energy.

Awards and Grants

Bowdoin Faculty Awarded

Eileen Johnson won the The McKeen Center Staff Award for Commitment to Community which is presented to a Bowdoin staff member who gives their time, talent and expertise to benefit the community.  

Eileen Johnson, program manager/GIS analysis and adjunct lecturer in Environmental Studies: Johnson’s passion for identifying ways that GIS can contribute to understanding and protecting Maine’s rural assets has led to long-term research collaborations between the Environmental Studies Program and towns and environmental organizations throughout the state. Through her annual GIS course, Eileen engages students in significant community-based research to map community assets and to understand the role of this research in informing policy decisions. She is also the coordinator for the Community Matters in Maine Psi Upsilon Fellowship Program, which places students in summertime jobs with environmental organizations.

UNH Taps Satellites, Drones for Climate Research; K-12 Content

The University of New Hampshire is getting a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study climate change adaptation in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, an area prone to wildfires and drought.The researchers will use small, unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite imagery along with extensive field measurements of forests to evaluate forest conditions.

Researchers then will work with extension agents from Oregon State University and others to develop educational programs for K-12, college students, and the public.

Esri Edu News

Duncan Praises STEM School; Esri is a Partner

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called Skyline High School "a remarkable success story" Thursday after meeting teachers and students and seeing the results of its STEM Academy first hand.

While the Skyline school district used federal grants to focus on STEM education across all grades, Esri is a partner (not clear exactly in what way, however):

Ian Isaacs, regional manager for Esri, a Broomfield geographical information system company, said that by partnering with the school district, the company can influence what students learn. Most schools, he said, are preparing students for jobs that won't exist in five years.

"This school, this district is not one of those," Isaacs said.

Missouri App Visits EdUC

Application developer John Deis is presenting his GIS-based app featuring Missouri's cultural, historical, geographical and geological information at the Esri Education GIS Conference in San Diego, Calif., July, 2014. The app Missouri Expeditions was commissioned by the Missouri Humanities Council.

More Free Esri Lessons for Educators for ArcGIS Online

Mapping Our World was developed to enhance GIS learning for students of all levels, grade school through college, and to provide teachers with comprehensive and easy-to-use resources for GIS instruction in the classroom. Updated teacher and student materials are available at no-cost to download and use in classroom instruction.

You can find the ArcGIS Online version resources here.

Find Mapping Our World for ArcGIS for Desktop 10 here.

Both sets are aimed at U.S. middle school world geography education. I'm not sure when these first came out or if there was initially a fee, but an Ed Team member tweeting about them this week.

NH Training K-12 Students on ArcGIS

“In New Hampshire, and throughout the country, there exists a need for increased geographic literacy, including an understanding of spatial skills and geospatial technologies.Training students on tools such as ArcGIS plays a critical role in engaging and preparing them for success after graduation,” said Dr. [Lara] Bryant [NHGA Coordinator and assistant professor of Geography at Keene State, who guides the partnership that led to the Esri K-12 statewide license].

Seeing the term "training" associated with GIS in the context of geoliteracy gives me pause. I'm curious if a plan is in place to determine if students who are exposed to the software show higher geoliteracy.

Ed Week Looks at GIS; Will Speak at EdUC Plenary

Benjamin Herold explores GIS in school operations this week in Education Week. His colleague Christopher Swanson who directs the Research Center of Editorial Projects in Education and is publisher of Education Week will give the Saturday plenary at the Esri Education GIS Conference.

Research on Campus and Beyond

Map of Gay Charleston

A new interactive map from the College of Charleston's Program in the Carolina Lowcountry & Atlantic World (CLAW) highlights glimpses from the history of gay lives in Charleston, stories that rarely get told in historic tours and museums. Sadly, it's just dots on a Google Map. But, on the pro side: it's under Creative Commons!

Three 4-Hers Head to AAG/State Dept Sponsored Overseas Research

The three high school juniors, who are part of the Unicoi County [TN] 4-H GPS Team, have been selected to take part in the Global Connections and Exchange My Community, Our Earth Youth TechCamps Program. The program, led by the Association of American Geographers and sponsored by the U.S. State Department, gives those selected to participate the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world and study the effects of climate change in these areas.

The three are fully 10 percent of the 30 students selected from the U.S. to visit Brazil, South Africa or Panama.

CyberGIS Fellowships

The NSF CyberGIS Project ( has contributed significantly to the interdisciplinary field impacting a broad swath of scientific domains and research areas. To address a gap in educational materials in the area,  the CyberGIS Fellows Program "aims to catalyze the development of cutting edge cyberGIS education materials and curricula. The Fellows will hold visiting appointments within the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies and National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and have opportunities to develop collaborations with these two interdisciplinary programs."

Visit the CyberGIS fellow site for details and eligibility and application details; Applications are due by May 30, 2014, and awardees will be notified by June 14, 2014.

Published Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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