Directions Magazine is honored to partner with the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence, (better known as the GeoTech Center), to serve the geospatial community. During the first week of June, the GeoTech Center hosted GeoEd '17 at the Jefferson County Community and Technical College - Louisville campus, in lovely northern Kentucky, and today, we are pleased to share highlights from the four-day event.
Both college educators and professionals attended to polish their skills, collaborate, and discuss the future of GIS and related technologies. Days one and two focused on a variety of workshops; on Day 3, attendees were treated to a collection of informative speakers covering a kaleidoscope of topics. Day four included a discussion of national UAS programs and best practices for academic offerings. Speaker presentations will be available for download on the GeoEd ’17 website soon — You can find prior years’ presentations there now.
Whether you are an active student or working geospatial professional, you appreciate solid resources that help you get your GIS work done most efficiently. Ann Johnson, a respected member of the geospatial community and co-principal investigator for the iGETT grant, shared remote sensing resources originally curated or created under the iGETT program grant. The collection of 33 how-to videos on a range of remote sensing topics is an excellent resource for any student or professional needing to touch up their skills. Although the iGETT project has sunset, the collection and work of valuable resources and inspired programs will be curated for the future at the GeoTech Center.
Thirty-three how-to videos on a range of remote sensing topics are available on YouTube’s iGETT Remote Sensing Education channel.
Assess Your Skills
How do your GIS skills measure up? There’s a tool for that! The GeoTech Center hosts a Personal Assessment Tool that connects industry expectations with core competencies to help educators, students, and even geospatial professionals assess their skills, aligned with the Geospatial Technology Competency Model. Simply complete the Personal Assessment Tool and the GeoTech Center will email you the results. This kind of assessment is helpful for our community in seeking the most skilled and certified technicians.
How can we do a better job of communicating across campus departments to empower graduates with the cornucopia of skills needed in today's geospatial workforce? Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou, Director of The Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, presented a fascinating discussion of “the term big data, human-centered data, referring to big ideas, big impacts and big changes for our society in addition to a big volume of datasets.” His work explores redefining how we analyze “place”, with social media and other big data sources, and how we can connect this data with skills needed and taught in computer science and geospatial programs on campus, all encompassing “big data science.” Dr. Tsou hopes that “we will transform science and technology in the age of Big Data – from isolated ‘instruments’(disciplines) into an epic ‘orchestra’(collaboration).”
Collaboration while maintaining standards in the geospatial industry is important. Bill Hodge, executive director of the GISCI, shared the history and growth of the iconic GIS certification organization. Since their beginnings in 2003-2004 with 500+ active GISP certifications, they have grown to 8000+ in 2017. The exam addition in 2015 brought a new process. Potential GISPs now have a 6-year window to complete the exam and the portfolio of requirements. The GISCI makes this easy for potential GISPs by offering a completely online experience for both renewals and first-time applications. The future looks bright for GISP certification with predictions of more than 20,000 GISPs by 2020. For our growing industry, that’s great news.
Eye on the Future
How well are students prepared for their geospatial work? David DiBiase, of Esri and Penn State, shared his thoughts on the modernization of GIS through the lens of recent graduates in the Young Professionals Network, referring to a blog post on Esri’s GeoNet, “GIS Graduates Want More Coding, App Building, IT.” His research and comments speak directly to the discussions of the day and considerations for the future of the geospatial workforce. In a recent webinar, and reiterated at the GeoEd event, Vince DiNoto, director of the GeoTech Center, shared the GeoTech Center’s vision for the future as well. Based on our discussion at the event, the geospatial community’s future includes more collaboration, expanded reach, and continued growth.