Tomorrow we’ll host the 2nd in the Americas’ series of panel discussions around what it means to be a resilient educator of GIS and GIScience, and what it means to implement technologies in support of that outcome. The Europe/Africa one has already taken place, the Asia-Pacific one yet to come. Info about these can be found here: https://www.globalgiscienceeducation.org/, and I encourage people to join, listen, share.
COVID has been a disruptive factor, obviously, but these conversations have uprooted much more that has been problematic for years. Too much expected of too few, too little capacity to connect dots. Why every summer do we keep wondering what textbook to adopt when only a fraction of students buy or read the book? Shouldn’t we be doing something a little differently? A lot differently?
A friend from work asked me today if I quilted and from there it became an opportunity to upload some new quilt pictures, then it became pretty clear that I hadn’t actually posted anything new in a very long time.
We all know what kind of crazy it’s been this COVID-year so no need to go there. So I’ll just talk about the last five days: compiling these GIScience/GIS instructional resources, getting news that the article I wrote with Tom Wikle about GIS Certificate programs was now out in Transactions in GIS, wrestling with the new server that hosts the GIS&T Body of Knowledge and chatting with colleagues about its future platform, making more plans for the global Resiliency in GIScience Education panels that are taking place, and writing letters of support for in-going proposal to do great things with GIS & GIScience.
I’m now starting to update my own upcoming fall 2020 class at Cornell (Intro to Mapping & Spatial Analysis with GIS) to use QGIS instead of my usual ArcGIS Pro. Why? The labs, which will have maybe 20% of the students in-person, at least that’s the plan today. Most are Mac-users, living and learning who-knows-where in these times, and most of the class will be online and otherwise suffering through small-laptop-screen-itis via the painful clumsiness of AppsOnDemand, plus its awkward data saving manipulations. Just can’t do it. Way too many other stressful factors in the world today to not simplify this one thing, for at least this one semester. And this way I also get to work more with Keith Jenkins, our very own QGIS superstar support colleague, who was super busy last month with the QGIS North America conference. Yay for Keith.
I was about to jump into my regularly scheduled workday when I came across this data visualization tool for educational statistics, whose primary sources are EXACTLY the same ones that I’d been exploring yesterday. How weird is that. And that they had data about “Geographic Information Science & Cartography” at the 6-digit level (much more specific), much more interesting than what they consider its default “comparison” group, “social sciences” at the 2-digit level.
The measurements of “skills” for GIS&T showed a tremendous revealed comparative advantage (RCA) for negotiation, critical thinking, coordination, plus many management of (time/material resources/financial resources) ones. Complex problem solving is the only one that’s also high from another group of skills. RCA is “how much greater or lesser that skill’s rating is than the average,” which I guess means the average rating for that skill for other employment areas (?). It’s not a surprise that these are high, but it it is interesting that programming and technology design have such a little RCA for us.
Data from O’NET, Department of Labor.
And then there are the tree diagrams of the number of degrees awarded themselves. What’s not very helpful are how they’ve lumped things together into the shaded groups. There is much diversity within each group when you scan across the yellowish ones and the hospital-scrubs-green ones. Like in 2013 when both Texas State University and University of Maine at Machias (hi Tora) are both in the yellow set. Orange-shaded ones seem to consistently be the community college set.
For the year 2013:
and for the year 2016:
Much to explore further here and how lovely that we can download the data themselves. Thank you, open government.
Who remembers that fun Easter egg that light-hearted Esri programmers slipped into ArcMap back in the early-mid 2000s, back in the ArcGIS 8x days? Add a new shapefile to a new map, start editing, then type J-E-R-R-Y. Would never get past the marketing folks these days. Sigh. Can’t a mapper have any fun anymore?
OGC, the Open Geospatial Consortium, is hosting a survey to collect thoughts on OGC-related Professional Certifications. I’m a huge fan of the mission of OGC and its methods as well, and to allow someone to earn a credential in this area should increase the likelihood of advancing towards greater adoption and implementation. Being anxious about credentials – designed and managed and articulated-well – is short-sighted.
I keep thinking about this article in the New York Times this week, with geographically-informed advice for Amazon to choose a second venue for its expansion. Such an obvious use of geography and information and systems. Couldn’t they have ended the piece with some reference to any of those things? Nah, better to have it just be obvious that this is the right way to make this type of decision?
This week we’ll broach the topic of datums, coordinate systems, and map projections in the GIS class that I teach at Cornell. It’s week 5+ of the semester, just enough into this stuff so that there’s some sustained knowledge growing and they now have enough of a framework onto which to hang the obvious-but-abstract-and-necessary-but-confusing-and-powerful topic. I used to be more GIS-traditional about this stuff and dive in during weeks 2 or 3. Not any more. Much more and deeper learning taking place now that students are more confident and competent at managing and manipulating spatial data. T
Just in time, XKCD has come up with another inspired projections example to share with the class.
For the last few days I’ve had a chance to serve as an “Ambassador” for GIS – on behalf of Esri – in Belize City. We’ve held two workshops for educators, one yesterday for primary school teachers and the second today for secondary school teachers. At both workshops, teacher educators (faculty who teach pre-service, future teachers in schools of education) were also participating. These experiences are both inspiring and humbling, encouraging and frustrating. Passionate teachers who want to learn new technologies and are committed to their students’ learning, often stymied by lack of computers and unreliable or absent Internet.
I’ve been interviewed twice by local TV stations, first yesterday on The Morning Show on LOVE/FM, and today by Channel 5 (video can be seen via Facebook, and here’s a link to just our story itself). One of the highlights for this trip so far has been connecting with a new friend and colleague Loretta Palacio, the epitome of beautiful and wound-up GIS energy. Loretta runs the Esri distributorship for Belize.
Interested in sharing your #GIS passion with other educators? The Ambassador program is one way to gain experiences.
Tomorrow, onward to a big Expo for GIS Day. Over 700 children will be there! I’ll be helping teachers and students explore mapping tools.