Category Archives: GIS

Sharing the GIS Gospel in Belize

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.

Future of R with GIS

I was a total newbie to R before spring 2014. Then it was a little trial by fire, trying to learn just enough to keep up with grad students in a class I was co-teaching. Thank goodness for the “co-” part, as my partner was an expert in the topic, and I could contribute in my own areas of expertise, which were/are not R!  But I finished the semester with a new-found respect and, frankly, awe for what is possible with R. I have much to learn, and maybe, someday, the time.

Fast forward a few months and the topic keeps cropping up.  I shared a beer in Salzburg with Lex Comber and learned about one of his forthcoming publications, an Intro to R for Spatial Analysis and Mapping. Haven’t got my own copy yet, but if it’s what it seems to be, it’ll be one of my assigned texts in the future. In one of our webinars, Trisalyn Nelson spoke about her use of R with her graduate students. And today, I silently scanned through Alex Singleton‘s recent presentation on the Changed Face of GIS, in which R figures prominently for him.  There’s something going on here that some smart people have figured out.

GIS makes the xkcd comics

One of my favorite cartoonists – Randall Munroe – has made a call out to GIS for its ability to identify whether items or objects fall within certain “enclosures” of space based on their coordinate locations.  Will there be a day when the public can read a cartoon panel like this one and know what is being referenced?

Sharing Ideas at EdUC

It’s that time of year again, July in San Diego with a whole lot of other people, all talking about GIS.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  This year I’ll be in two sessions, the first on our ROGTAL project, Research on Geospatial Technologies and Learning, a group effort in which I’m honored to be a member.  You’ll hear about our proposed research agenda and recommendations for this field.  Saturday afternoon, in the 3:15-4:30pm session titled Meeting Education Mandates, La Costa Room.

Then on Sunday morning (early!, before the Plenary!  Set your alarms and bring your coffee!) I’ll be leading a session on Cultivating Spatial Thinking & Problem Solving with SpatiaLABS.  8:30am, Leucadia Room.  Don’t know about Esri’s SpatiaLABS yet?   This is your chance to get all the insider information on this FREE resource, get a sneak preview at a new search-and-sort website, get your questions answered by the series editor, and find out how you too could become a (paid) contributor!  Don’t snooze, come schmooze instead.

 

On using ArcMap Collector as a mobile app for SSV

Experimenting with reblogging some worthwhile posts.

Katie Faull

Since its inception, Stories of the Susquehanna has been a collaborative, interdisciplinary Screenshot 2014-05-08 21.41.18digital project that has at its core a geospatial interface. What started out as historical/cultural mapping of the Native American landscapes of the Susquehanna in ArcMap Desktop with maps published in static image format (as discussed in the interviews of me and Emily Bitely) has evolved through the iterations of ESRI’s software development.

About a week ago, one of our Digital Scholarship Coordinators and SSV  project manager, Diane Jakacki pointed to to the fact that ESRI was now publishing apps. photoAt first skeptical, I proceeded to delve further into the Collector app and battled my way through tutorials designed for insurance adjusters gathering data in the field (no, I don’t need fields labeled “Habitable” or “Partially Destroyed”) to create a feature layer that could be added to any map in ArcMap online. This feature layer was supposed to be…

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What’s my new job?

Since the summer, I have been working for UCGIS, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, as their Executive Director.  Translation: I manage the business-related operations of a small non-profit that’s focused on advancing and supporting the research and education ideas of the GIS-teaching faculty at its 50+ member institutions.  Today, Directions Magazine printed an interview I did with them about UCGIS and some of its upcoming activities.  And, it’s International GIS Day! Woo-hoo!

new article linking spatial thinking with multiple school topics

Temple University’s Nora Newcombe is well-versed at writing about spatial thinking in a way that makes the topic accessible to lay audiences. New to me: a piece called Seeing Relationships (pdf) in the Spring 2013 American Educator. Now she can share the results of the large meta-analysis recently completed, that documents our mind’s capacity to become more skilled at spatial tasks.  She’s still firmly grounded in her own disciplinary perspective, cognitive psychology, but here she ventures into examples involving geographic space and geospatial technologies, not only mental rotation in abstract space. This piece includes call-outs to the Geospatial Semester program at James Madison University and Stanford’s Orbis project.

Nora’s oft-cited, oft-shared 2010 American Educator piece, Picture This, is still available too.