GIS Education News Weekly: Military Battle Maps, High School Drone Pilots, GeoTech Center

Military Battle Maps announced new maps on the free-for-personal use website: military battle maps dating back as far as 1775. The company is part of Genealogy Inc., based in Huntsville.the parent company of Sounds like a great resource for educators in history, geography and other areas.

Elementary Students Do Storm Planning

Nine Collins-Maxwell fourth- and fifth-graders in the talented-and-gifted program helped their town of Collins, IA do some detailed storm planning. They got some help.

Matt Boeck, the geographic information systems (GIS) coordinator for Story County, helped the students tap into assessor data on properties to assemble a map of Collins with a basic color code. Homes and other buildings with basements are shaded green. Red means no basement. And purple highlights unrelated structures such as detached garages.

The student created map and a letter requesting that neighbors speak to one another about sharing basements if a storm hits will be distributed to the town's 500 residents.

High School Drone Pilots

Students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program at Greenon are studying drones in a first of its kind program in the region. They use simulators to explore how an unmanned aircraft could monitor situations such as a natural disaster and a military crisis on the west coast. Analytical Graphics Inc. provides the software and students can receive certification on it if they choose to. The students have made models of their school and will produce a mobile app for emergency responders.

RFI from US Gov for Training

The Geospatial Management Office (GMO), Geospatial Service and Technology Center (GSTC), and Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) of the USDA Forest Service are seeking information pertaining to geospatial training curriculum, provided by trusted sources that are directly applicable to employees using available Forest Service procured software and Open Source alternatives.

SDSU Longest Running Student Organized Conference This Weekend

The 45th annual South Dakota State Geography Convention will be held March 20-21 in South Dakota State University’s University Student Union. It's the longest-running, student-organized and sponsored annual geography meeting in the United States.

Online UAS Training

Unmanned Experts is moving from instructor-led and classroom-based instruction on UAVs to online training. The UAS Introduction Course is an asynchronous 11 part program, students need a general understanding of basic aviation principles or will need to complete the "coming soon" Aviation Module. Also coming soon: UAS Foundation Course (March) and an Advanced Course (April). Best I can tell the first course was on sale for $200, a significant discount on the $450 ‘normal’ cost. There's now a $45 UAS Market & Careers Short Course.

Using Geofencing to Limit Student Access to Messaging App

Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app getting popular with middle and high school students. It links users based on location and posters can be anonymous or use an alias. Concern about its use in bullying prompted the company to block access on a case by case basis. One school blocked access on the its wi-fi network. But, at things heated up there was a call to ban it from middle and high schools

Yik Yak applied geo-fences around middle schools and high schools using their GPS coordinates, which would actually prevent the app from working while students were on school grounds. Of course, students could still use the app at home and elsewhere outside of school, but it puts an immediate damper on all the so-called “fun.”

The school data used was from Maponics which said that was the first time its data had been used in that way.

Stanford Explores School Shooting with Geospatial Tech

Patricia Carbajales, a lecturer and manager at Stanford's Geospatial Center, created Mass Shootings in America, an interactive site. It's profiled in the latest issue of Stanford Magazine.

GeoTech Center and GTCM News

Rodney Jackson was a guest on A Very Spatial Podcast and discussed the GTCM and its update. In other GeoTech Center news, the center's website has been update to run on Weebly. The 2014 National Geospatial Technology Skills Competition round 1 ended on March 15. 

Firm Donates Drone to Nicholls

Nicholls State (LA) University geomatics students will be able to take advantage of a donation from Lafayette-based Navigation Electronics Inc. (NEI), a GPS and GIS equipment provider. The gift includes a Trimble UX5 unmanned aerial vehicle, optical sensors, image processing software and training worth $70K. There is an ongoing relationship: The Harold C. “Charlie” Poche Jr. Laser Scanning Laboratory at Nicholls is named for the former NEI owner and president, who died in 2000.

CSU Geographer Named 2014 Jefferson Science Fellow; Will Serve Dept of State and USAID

Colorado State University [geography] professor and researcher Melinda Laituri has been selected as a 2014 Jefferson Science Fellow. In this position, Laituri will serve as a science advisor for U.S. foreign policy to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) program was established in 2003 to strengthen the engagement of American academic science, technology, engineering (STE) and medical communities in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Laituri will begin her one-year term in August 2014 and will work on water-related policy issues that include the University WASH Consortium, water data integration efforts, and gender issues related to access to water.

Mapping Food Insecurity in Alabama with Ushahidi

Scott Parrott, assistant professor of journalism, and Chip Brantley, journalism senior lecturer at the University of Alabama, received an $8,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication to document food security challenges in both Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. The tool of choice? Ushahidi. The final product will be a website with maps and stories.

4-H STEM Winner Uses GIS

Alston Clark, a home-schooled high school senior from Silver Spring, MD participated in the 4-H Geospatial Summit in Chevy Chase, MD and then took on the task of bringing what he learned home. That made him one of 11 winners in the video competition. What did he do?

His project involved teaching a science experiment to people in his community, allowing them to design their own geographic information system map and find innovative and economical solutions for trash removal and recycling. 

NatGeo Geo-Educator Community

National Geographic launched the Geo-Educator Community, what it's calling "the flagship program of the new Geo-Education Initiative focused on preparing American students for success in an increasingly complex and interconnected world." It's an Edmodo discussion for educators, so far as I can tell.

Published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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