The Conservation Training Resource

With special thanks to Jamie Chesser, e-Learning Designer and Developer at The Nature Conservancy for this guest blog.

As I write this, I am reminded that today is the first day of Autumn or the Autumnal Equinox. How truly fast summer came and went! With the kids back to school and summer vacations over, you should have more time now right? Maybe a little more time to learn something new? Check out www.conservationtraining.org. Have you visited before? If not, you should!

ConservationTraining is worth reviewing. Our site provides a plethora of conservation knowledge, from experts around the world to our learner community. All courses are free and available anytime from anywhere, as our mission is to share training with our conservation colleagues across the world. Some courses are even offered in multiple languages.

Numbers can be kind of boring; however, we are really excited about these numbers. ConservationTraining currently has 30,000+ users representing 200 countries. Since 2009, The Nature Conservancy along with several amazing partner organizations, like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the IUCN, have created 400+ hours of content in more than 15 curriculums.

Our courses touch on a variety of science and technology including GIS, Climate Change – REDD+, and Protected Areas (and more). The Fundamentals of GIS for Conservation course uses ArcGIS and interesting and relevant data examples to paint a beautiful picture of how pertinent GIS is to the field of conservation. The curriculum, originally developed by The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund, is comprised of six (6) courses that focus on the foundational concepts of GIS. The course has several learning components including podcasts, web-based, self-paced trainings, demonstrations, and more to help students gain knowledge on foundational GIS topics. Technology does change, we do our best to stay current with the technology. Our team is currently working on an update for this course – more details will be forthcoming.

Why not give it a look? You really won’t be sorry. Oh, and please know for the caretakers of ConservationTraining, this is just the beginning; there is much more work to be done. Happy learning!

Question or comments, we are happy to chat! Contact Jamie Chesser at ctptraining@tnc.org.

The Conservation Training Resource

The Conservation Training Resource

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New book released – STEM and GIS in Higher Education


The new e-book from Esri, STEM and GIS in Higher Education compiles 19 university case studies describing innovative ways faculty are incorporating GIS to advance STEM related activities in higher education. As a successor to the 2012 Advancing Stem Education with GIS this book explores how faculty, staff, and students are successfully using GIS to analyze and better understand data in their specific STEM fields. As a sequel, this book is designed to foster the expansion of spatial analysis throughout the sciences and engineering. The content highlights successful experiences that describe innovative approaches to the collection, analysis, and display of spatial data and the unique benefits of applying GIS methods.  The nineteen chapters are assembled into three sections.

Section 1: Campus Support for Spreading GIS into STEM Disciplines

Demonstrate how major universities have established technical and academic infrastructure to support the use of GIS across campuses. These institutions represent models of “Spatial Universities” that have committed to the establishment of infrastructure to foster multidisciplinary spatially oriented learning and research. The examples provide a glimpse of how these organizations are serving as catalysts to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. Specific examples demonstrate new approaches to data sharing through enhanced library functions, highlight new ways to utilize cloud based servers for realistic technical training, and preview cutting edge geodesign applications. They also illustrate ways to incorporate GIS to support campus facilities and foster interaction with local communities.

Section 2: Teaching and Learning about Spatial Analysis

Provide examples of ways that GIS and spatial analysis can serve as the focal point of courses in STEM disciplines. These examples should be useful to faculty in STEM disciplines who desire to incorporate innovative new activities for their students. The case studies demon-strate how GIS can be used to expand the technical abilities of stu-dents, helping to improve their understanding of real world problems while generating products that foster communication skills. It is significant that these experiences strongly suggest that the new breed of GIS software, such as ArcGIS Online and Esri Story Map app, will provide a fast track to curriculum deployment.

Section 3: GIS Applications in STEM disciplines

Describe research projects conducted by faculty and students in sci-ence and engineering that incorporate spatial analysis. These examples are designed to clearly demonstrate the value of GIS oriented research methods to traditional scientific investigations.

The contributions to this book were selected from submissions in response to a widely distributed call for chapters. These chapters cover activities at a wide range of institutions that include a cross section of Carnegie One private research universities, major state universities, smaller engineering colleges, and state supported regional campuses. The authors include biologists, engineers, physicians, environmental scientists, chemists, and psychologists. These lighthouse authors empower their students to discover, create, analyze, and display spatial data within the constraints of traditional university settings.

Explore the story map and no-cost e-book at http://www.esriurl.com/STEMGIS

If you are interested in contributing your university’s STEM and GIS program to the map, see the geoform at http://arcg.is/2cWoYvj .

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Landsat Thematic Bands Web Mapping Application Enhancement

Not long ago, I described the Landsat Thematic Bands Web Mapping Application, an easy-to-use but powerful teaching and research tool. It is a web mapping application with global coverage, with mapping services updated daily with new Landsat 8 scenes and access to selected bands that allows the user to visualize agriculture, rock formations, vegetation health, and more.  The Time tool allows for the examination of changes over years, over seasons, or before and after an event.  The Identify tool gives a spectral profile about each scene.  I have used this application dozens of times over the past year in remote sensing, geography, GIS, and other courses and workshops, and judging from the thousands of views that this blog has had, many others have done the same thing.

If that weren’t all, our Esri development team has recently made the tool even better–one can now save a time sequence or a band combination as a permanent URL that can be shared with others.  The flooding of 20 districts in August and September 2016 in Uttar Pradesh, India, for example, can be easily seen on this link that uses the application, with screenshots below.

Another example is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada  – the user can change the time to see the region’s vegetation cover before and after fire, and the extent of the smoke during the fire.  Or, you can analyze a different band combination, as is seen here.

To do this, open the application.  Note that this application’s URL has been updated over the one I referred to last year.  Move to an area of interest.  Select any one of the available thematic band renderers (such as agriculture, natural color, color infrared, and so on), or create your own band combination using build.  Then, turn on “time” to see your area of interest at different periods using your band combination.  Next, share this image with other people.   Simply click on any one of the social platforms (Facebook or Twitter) in the upper right, which will create a short link that can be shared.  When the person you send this link to opens it, the Landsat app will open in exactly the same state it was in before social platform tool was clicked.  This makes it a very convenient teaching, presentation, and research tool.  Give it a try!

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India on 31 May 2016

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India on 31 May 2016.

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India showing flooding on 19 August 2016.

Landsat 8 Image for Allahabad India showing flooding on 19 August 2016.

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How to Georeference a map and serve it in ArcGIS Online

In response to inquiries that educators and others have had recently, I created several videos explaining how to georeference a map and serve it in ArcGIS Online, beginning here and continuing here and here.  Georeferencing is the process of aligning spatial data in map form has no spatial information explicitly attached to it, usually because it has been scanned from film, paper, or another medium, and attaching spatial information to it.  By “spatial information” we mean a real-world map projection and coordinate system.  The process of georeferencing is powerful because it allows you to add historical or other documents to your GIS project, so that you can work with them just like you can with your other GIS maps and data.  You match your scanned aerial photo, map, or other document by creating a series of control points, which I explain here.  I did this using ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap); soon you will be able to do this in ArcGIS Pro, and, I hope, someday in ArcGIS Online.

Georeferencing has been around for as long as GIS has existed–since the 1960s.  But more recently, with the advent of cloud based GIS platforms such as ArcGIS Online, you can now serve your newly georeferenced data to the cloud, as I demonstrate in the third video in the series.  Serving it in ArcGIS Online enables you to use it anywhere, on any device, at any time.  Then, if you share your data in ArcGIS Online, others can use it as well in their own maps and projects.

Let’s say you have georeferenced and uploaded a historical map, as I do in these videos with one of the wonderful historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, and now have published it to ArcGIS Online.  Now you want to create a Swipe story map web mapping application so that you can compare how a city changed over time.  I explain how to to do that in this video.  As with any GIS-based project, being organized about your work is crucial, and in this video I demonstrate how to effectively use folders in ArcGIS Online to support your organized work.

I hope these resources will be valuable to the community and I look forward to hearing your comments and how you have used georeferencing in your own work.

Georeferencing a historical map in ArcGIS.

Georeferencing a historical map in ArcGIS.

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Remembering 9/11

(Note: This was written for and posted on Sept 11 of 2011, the tenth anniversary. The memories, and need for learning, remain as strong as ever. Never give up. -Charlie)

On that dreadful day in 2001, under the “severe clear” September sky, in those thunderbolts of inhumanity that cost so dearly, we lost two friends from National Geographic who, with students and teachers in tow, had embarked on a mission full of hope.

The roots of that ghastly day snake back to and reach full stop at a scandalously inadequate geographic understanding, even among the ranks of those who influence the planet. The world is stunningly complex, with visible influence and hidden links far and wide. How can anyone hope to make good decisions about complex matters while ignoring the matrix of connections?

We need to see the broad patterns and fractal fabrics around us, grasp the relationships between conditions here and those over there, envision from all sides the Mobius strip connecting yesteryear and tomorrow. Without this holistic view, without comprehending the tyranny of distance yet still the web of connections over space and time, the road ahead is perilous, for each of us, and the world in which we live. Ignoring the lessons of geography, we become a braided stream of humanity, tumbling inexorably toward a cliff.

Ann and Joe lost their lives while working to build geographic understanding for all … young or old, teacher or student, rural or urban, American or global. It remains for us truly a mission in which failure is not an option. For those who live in anonymity on up to those whose decisions shape us all, understanding the power of place and past, and the gravity of patterns and relationships, is vital for navigating safely between the shoals of ignorance and apathy, toward a secure and sustainable world. Let us resolve to ensure that all gain experience in thinking geographically, and hail the disposition to do so about matters large and small.

Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Schools Program Manager
Link to Facebook group remembering Ann and Joe

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Story Maps for Education GeoNet Group Now Available

To meet the needs of a growing number of educators interested in using Esri Story Maps in teaching and research, I invite you to join a new Story Maps for Education group in the GeoNet Community. This will be our virtual place to connect, share and collaborate on topics related to “story maps in education.” Story Maps are multimedia web mapping applications that join audio, narrative, video, photographs, and thematic and base map in a compelling environment that is perfect for communicating the results of any investigation from local to global in scale.  GeoNet is where GIS users from a wide variety of disciplines can collaborate, share, and discover information through blogs, updates, videos, discussions, and more.

The Story Maps for Education group is a “members only” group, which means all content is public but, in order to contribute to the conversations and be alerted of new content, you need to click “Actions” and then “join group” in the top right.

Quick tips:

  • If you do have a GeoNet account and are not logged in to GeoNet, you’ll need to click “login” first to log in to GeoNet, go to the URL above, then Actions – > join the group.
  • If you don’t have a GeoNet account, click “login” and then follow the steps to create your GeoNet account. Once your account is created you can use the group link in this email or search for the “Story Maps for Education” group in the community.
  • For any additional questions, general tips and guidelines, please visit the GeoNet Community Help group.

Thanks for joining and we look forward to seeing you in the GeoNet Community!

Story Maps Group in GeoNet

Story Maps for Education Group in GeoNet.

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Research: Geospatial technologies in teacher education

For nearly 25 years, teachers, researchers, and curriculum developers have designed, tested, and evaluated teacher professional development with geospatial technologies in education. These innovators created a better practice in teaching with mapping and location-based technologies, using methods and principles that advanced inquiry in meaningful and authentic ways. That path, while challenging and often shifting, shows signs of success—in classrooms, preservice programs, summer professional development, and beyond.

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education’s Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (AACE-SITE) has released the special issue on geospatial technologies in teacher education (special issue editors Elizabeth Langran & Thomas Baker). This journal is intended to support university faculty members working in the teacher education or educational research in technology integration.

CITE Journal 16(3) – special issue on geospatial technology

http://www.citejournal.org/publication/volume-16/issue-3-16/

Editorials

Special issue: Geospatial Technologies in Teacher Education

by Elizabeth Langran & Thomas R. Baker

Science Education

Persistent Teaching Practices After Geospatial Technology Professional Development

by Lori A. Rubino-Hare, Brooke A. Whitworth, Nena E. Bloom, Jennifer M. Claesgens, Kristi M. Fredrickson, Carol Henderson-Dahms & James C. Sample

Strategizing Teacher Professional Development for Classroom Uses of Geospatial Data and Tools

by Daniel R. Zalles & James Manitakos

Social Studies Education

Future Teachers’ Dispositions Toward Teaching With Geospatial Technologies

by Injeong Jo

Current Practice

Integrating Geospatial Technologies Into Existing Teacher Education Coursework: Theoretical and Practical Notes from the Field

by Stacey Kerr

A Curriculum-Linked Professional Development Approach to Support Teachers’ Adoption of Web GIS Tectonics Investigations

by Alec Bodzin, David Anastasio, Dork Sahagian & Jill Burrows Henry

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New SpatiaLABS on Search and Rescue Now Available

Four new SpatiaLABS are now available, focused on teaching spatial thinking and analysis through a compelling topic–search and rescue–and a compelling location–a national park.  To access the labs, use this story map, click on Social Sciences, and see the four listed on the left side.  They are also viewable on the map, located in Yosemite National Park.  All are authored by Paul Doherty, who has had a fascinating career with roles ranging from GIS consultant at Eagle Technology to park ranger for the National Park Service to disaster response lead at Esri.

In the first of these four labs, you will use search and rescue incident locations to create an interactive web map and web mapping application in ArcGIS Online to explore the distribution of incidents in Yosemite National Park.  In the second lab, you will open a map project in ArcGIS Pro and create assignment maps for the emergency search operations.  In the third lab, you will map where searchers have been deployed and what they have found.  In the fourth lab, you will create a “clue log” that can be edited anywhere and with any device.

SpatiaLABS are standalone activities designed to promote spatial reasoning and analysis skills. Covering a wide variety of subject matter useful in standard computer-lab sessions and longer term projects, SpatiaLABS illuminate relationships, patterns and complexities while answering provocative questions such as, “How might visibility have affected political boundaries in ancient civilizations?” or “Is there a connection between ethnicity and exposure to industrial toxins?” or “How worried should I be about the stagnant pond a quarter mile away?”

SpatiaLABS contain instructional materials in Microsoft Word and other common formats so that you can easily add self-assessment questions, adjust the context for the analysis, rework the lab to use local data, or otherwise customize them to suit your non-commercial needs.  Check out these new labs and the others in the collection today!

Some of the compelling maps and data you will analyze in the Search and Rescue SpatiaLABS.

Some of the compelling maps and data you will analyze in the Search and Rescue SpatiaLABS.

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Proposal for AP GIS&T

With support from the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has developed a proposal for a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T). All U.S. high schools, colleges, and universities are invited to review the proposal by visiting www.apgist.org.

AP GIS&T is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of geographic information science and applications of powerful geospatial technologies for spatial analysis and problem solving. Together with AP Human Geography, AP GIS&T offers an opportunity to engage students in outstanding geographic learning experiences and promote awareness of the many college and career opportunities available in the discipline. The course proposal has attracted broad support from prominent scientific and educational organizations, as well as major technology employers.

For AP GIS&T to become a reality, the AAG needs to collect attestations from 250 U.S. high schools that confirm they have the interest and capacity to offer the course. Similar assurances are needed from 100 colleges and universities that they would be willing to offer some form of credit to students who demonstrate proficiency on the AP GIS&T exam.

The AAG invites high school principals and academic department chairpersons to consider adding their institution to the list of AP GIS&T supporters by completing the brief attestation form at www.apgist.org. The AAG’s goal is to complete the attestation process by October 1, 2016.

Have questions about AP GIS&T? Contact the AAG at ap_gist@aag.org.

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Got MOOCs?

At Esri we want to do all we can to help people think spatially and engage with powerful, easy-to-use mapping and GIS tools and data.  As part of that mission, for several years we have been creating and teaching our own MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).  We also partner with colleagues in higher education (such as Penn State, Elmhurst College, and the University of West Florida) who have created their own GIS-related MOOCs.  Esri MOOCs are 5 to 6 weeks in length, are instructor-led but are asynchronous, feature discussion, readings, videos, short quizzes, and – my favorite part – hands-on activities that immerse you in making decisions with GIS technologies.  Many Esri MOOCs are starting soon, as detailed below.  Register today and start learning!  And for those of you who are instructors, consider how you might use these MOOCs as part of your own instruction.

The starting point for all Esri MOOCs is: http://www.esri.com/mooc. Here is a video describing our MOOC program and another one filmed at the Esri UC.

Below is a summary of upcoming courses with links to their descriptions for remainder of 2016 and those planned for 2017.

September 7 – October 18, 2016:  Earth Imagery at Work:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/imagery.  Digital images of earth’s surface produced by remote sensing are the basis of modern mapping. They are also used to create valuable information products across a spectrum of industries. This free online course is for everyone who is interested in applications of earth imagery to increase productivity, save money, protect the environment, and even save lives.

September 7 – October 18, 2016:  The Location Advantage:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/location-advantage.  Location analytics uses the locational component of business data to improve users’ understanding of their market, customers, and business processes. Organizations throughout the world use location analytics to make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage.

November 9 – December 20, 2016:  Going Places with Spatial Analysis: http://www.esri.com/mooc/going-places   This course is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn how the special capabilities of spatial data analysis provides deeper understanding. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform.

February 1 – February 28, 2017: Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps:
http://www.esri.com/mooc/diy-geo-apps  You don’t have to be a software developer to build valuable geo-enabled apps that make your communities smarter and businesses more successful. This course shows how to combine location and narrative in one application to better communicate and broadcast your story, create custom web applications that solve problems in your community, and build powerful native applications for iOS and Android devices without touching a piece of code. If you are a developer, you’ll be interested in Esri’s APIs, SDKs, and the buzzing GeoDev community.

February 1 – March 14, 2017: Earth Imagery at Work.

April 12 – May 23, 2017: Going Places with Spatial Analysis.

April 12 – May 23, 2017: The Location Advantage.

Esri MOOCs - free, engaging, online courses.

Esri MOOCs – free, engaging, rigorous, online courses.

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