Inspired by an old Numb3rs episode on schools and rfid, I started to see what GIS related technologies are being used in schools. According to the BBC, a U.K. based company, Edexcel, has created technology to rfid tag exam papers. U.S. company, aptly named Graffiti Tracker inc. has created technology to track, analyze, and reduce graffiti. You can watch their case study. It has become almost routine for new school buses to come with GPS tracking. Student tracking is gaining momentum in schools. The increased use of technology in schools has caused controversy, some people argue that they aren’t cost effective or infringe on privacy rights. Others, like some bus drivers, believe technology will be used to justify lower salaries or hiring less employees. I wonder if kids who use GIS technologies so seamlesslly in everyday life, will be so tech savvy they will push technology to a higher level then anyone can imagine in highschool (even grade school) and later in life as working professionals.
I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but we wanted to give a VerySpatial congratulations to Caitlin Snaring, the winner of the 2007 National Geographic Bee. Caitlin hails from Redmond, Washington, and is only the second girl to win the Bee in its 19-year history. She has won a $25,000 college scholarship and got to meet Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who served as the event’s moderator.
Way to go Caitlin!
For those of you attending the ESRI User Conference… apparently the Introduction to ArcGIS Server class has already filled, and there is the possibility that a second class will be offered if enough people are interested (they need at least 10 people to sign up). Also, the class will also be offered at a significantly discounted rate.
If you are interested, you must add your name to the waiting list by May 18th, which is tomorrow. To get more information, or add yourself to the waiting list, Contact Chris Kirkland at ESRI at 909-793-2853 extension 2441.
Microsoft has awarded over $1.1 million in grants to winners in their Virtual Earth and SensorMap grant competitions. The SensorMap project include work on Harvard’s CitySense project, which will utilize a network of 100 sensors aroudn Cambridge, Mass. that record various types of data related to local conditions, such as current weather and traffic levels. The data will then be published on the SensorMap platform. There are a number of other interesting projects related to various types of sensors and data collection, as well as dealing with issues of integrating different types of data into the SensorMap platform.
The Virtual Earth winners hint at some of the research priorities Microsoft is interested in, including local search, building 3D models from photos (a winning proposal from Steve Seitz of the University of Washington, one of the people behind PhotoTourism, which is part of the Photosynth project), and utilizing StreetSide imagery to help generate models. Basically, all the winning projects are looking to further refine the ability to representate and navigate 3D virtual representations of the world around us.
I’ve only really touched on a small portion of the winning proposals, so for a full list of winners of these and other Microsoft Research grant programs, head to the Research Funding Opportunities page, and click on the individual grant competitions.
More of a book mind map like you did in grade school, “Gnooks is a self-adapting community system based on the gnod engine. Discover new writers you will like, travel the map. of literature and discuss your favorite books and authors.” You can type in the name of an author and it will tell map out other authors that people read. There is also gnod music, movies, and a global network. The creator says that, “You might call it a search-engine to find things you don’t know about”. It’s like the ultimate form of browsing.
I came across GeoToys (at geotoystore.com through a Google ad (yeah, sometimes I actually look at them). They seem to focus on map based puzzles for kids, but they also carry a few other games and toys…in fact Postcards from America piqued my interest. And who wouldn’t want to hug the planet. Overall, an interesting site for finding fun ways to get your kids interested in a little geography.
One of the most common questions we get asked by students is “How do I get more hands-on experience with GIS before I graduate?” In our GIScience Research Lab, we can only offer jobs or internships to a couple of students a semester, and there is always more demand than supply. That’s why summer internships are a great way to get more experience. There are lots of them out there, but I saw the flyer for the ESRI Summer Internship Program for 2007 and I decided it would be a good time to do a post about the subject.
If you are working toward a career in geospatial technologies, you should definitely be on the lookout for internship possibilities. Many university programs have labs with internship programs in-house, and some even accept summer interns from other schools. You can also look for internships with private companies or public agencies. A number of our students have done internship with the USGS or private GIS firms.
The ESRI program is pretty big, with internship possibilities both in Redlands and at regional offices, and interns can work in different areas such as ArcGIS Product Development, Education Services, or Internet Development.
If you are interested in doing an internship this summer, now is the time to start applying, as many of the application deadlines are coming up over the next 2 months.
I was glancing through my issue of GITA’s Conference News that came today and I noticed a little writeup about the expansion of GITA’s “Location for Education” program, which allows middle and high school teachers to include GPS and location based exercises in their classes. Kits are available for 2-week periods, and include 12 GPS units, a video, a geo-caching book, and instructions. The teacher only has to pay the shipping costs to get the kit to them and back to GITA. There isn’t a lot of information up on the GITA website yet, just a landing page basically, but hopefully there will be more soon, and maybe even some supplementary materials to go along with the physical kits. Right now, you can call email for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone GITA at 303-337-0513. I know I am going to be forwarding the info to some teachers in the area that we have done outreach with before.
I think this is a great program, especially for schools who would like to include more geography and geospatial technologies in their curricula, but can’t afford to purchase specialized equipment like GPS receivers. I’d really like to see other organizations partner with GITA to really expand a program like this, and maybe start others.
It’s harder than you think. To test your skill, check out this flash game. It’s pretty tough, especially if you have to start with an interior state. The states come up in random order. I discovered that I honestly had no idea where Missouri or Arkansas were actually located on the map. I was WAY off on those two.
I got an 86% my first time out. Anyone else do better?
Zoom Into Maps is a nice educational tool for an introduction to historic maps and the Library of Congress’ digital map collections. There are digital images of maps on various themes, including exploration, migration, local places, and, since it’s getting close to election time, I especially enjoyed looking at the original broad-side from 1812 popularizing the term “Gerry-mander” and depicting the districts around Salem and Danvers, Massachusetts as a salamander.
If you are interested in historical maps and cartography, and want to see the amazing maps in the Library of Congress’ collection, then definitely check out Zoom Into Maps.