ESRI 2012 UC Livecast!

Esriuc 2012 

First, no geobloggers tables so typing here is going to be a major, major pain. So please excuse the brevity, typos and other errors.  Second, the wifi is as wonkey as you’d expect when 15k geo nerds hit it at the same time.  They’ve dimmed the lights and we’re off with the customary intro video.  Jack takes the stage.   Giving us our welcome and telling us to say howdy do to the neighbors. As normal, I’m typing this instead :). So virtual howdy do to those reading now.

  I just jury rigged a ‘desktop’ so I can type.  It’s almost comical.  All I can say is thank god Barb wear’s scarfs.  

Jack is back chatting.  He’s talking a bit about what types of things we’re doing.  Its the normal jury list of things we do – transportation, environmental conservation, energy exploration, etc.  Fun fact, for the first time ever, the Michelen Maps are done by ArcMap.  The Mars lander is using ESRI products to help find its way around (“God I hope they got the projection right” – Jack).  He’s talking about GIS infrastructure.  

We’re seeing the 2012 SAG winners – congrats to them all.  Big round of applause!  A special award is going for the Trust for Public Lands.  They want to protect public lands so people have parks to enjoy.  I’m assuming their GIS staff basically keeps track of that land.  They’re shooting for everyone to be within a 10 minute walk of a park or other outdoor recreation space.  I’m sure that was a bit of hyperbole, but good luck to them!  Next the US EPA is getting a special award for their work.  The EPA employees are standing for applause.  That was kinda cool of him doing that.  Jack picked EPA because they’ve worked hard to integrate science into public policy using GIS as the platform.
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Like4Trees and A VerySpatial Evening

With only a week to go, I wanted to remind everyone that we are in the last week of our Like4Trees campaign. We will donate $1 per person who has liked the VerySpatial Facebook page by July 25th to the Greenbelt Movement (up to $250). Everyone who likes the Facebook page will also be in the running for one of two Keep Cups that you will be able to customize to your hearts content.

We also have a couple of spots left for folks to attend our A VerySpatial Evening, Wednesday 25 July at our condo a couple of blocks from the San Diego convention center. We will have food, beverages, and plenty of geoconversation. If you would like to reserve a spot, please contact us.

Finally, if you are going to be at the Esri EdUC or UC and would like to talk to us about your project, product or just to say ‘hi’ then give us a shout and we will setup a time to meet. Or, if you see us wandering around, just stop us and we will be happy to chat, unless we are running to another interview, of course.

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Several Scales of the Universe

You have probably seen this everywhere by now. Cary Huang and his brother Michael Huang have an updated Scales of the Universe 2 which puts the scales of a surprising many entities from countries to geographies to planets, people, and protoplasm into perspective. I also enjoyed the many variations of their scales, such as the original Scales of the Universe with the ability to swirl objects or make them fall. It is like being on a roller coaster of scale. On their website, htwins.net, they have other interactive simulations like a Tidepool. According to ABC News, Cary and his brother Michael are brothers who created this projects as a fun activity. It took them a year and a half to collect all of their data and put together the graphics. They were inspired by their biology class teacher to do citizen science.

One of the reasons I enjoy going to the ESRI plenary is the chance to see the great ideas and projects that young geographers pursue after being inspired by people around them. Many organizations have mentoring programs such as ESRI’s GeoMentor Program and the Annual Association of Geographer’s (AAG) Ask a Geographer and other mentoring programs.  When I first used the Scales of the Universe 2, I expected the creators to be college students or adults. The fact that they are young adults, who were inspired to do it by an educator, and then have it go viral, in turn educating many, many other people around the world who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in geography, science, or technology makes it bigger than the interactive simulation itself. It highlights the impact of readily available technology, the importance of mentors, and the one of the roles of citizen scientists in science diplomacy. The Huangs and other young people act as ambassadors for the fields that their projects touch on to the larger world.

I hope that they think about attending the many geography programs for young adults that are available and one day see them up on the ESRI plenary talking about their next big project.

Zombies and Geospatial Analysis

If you have met me, you know that I would love to teach a geography class using  the book  World War Z by Max Brooks, a journalist who uses a zombie apocalypse to discuss current events and world geography. David Hunter, a middle school teacher in Seattle, Washington beat me to the punch. He is asking for help on Kickstarter to create a  Grade 5-8 Standards Based curriculum “Learning Geography skills through a Zombie Apocalypse Narrative”.  His concept is not as far fetched as it seems. At the WV Association for Geospatial Professionals conference this week Sheila Wilson, Executive Director of the GIS Certificate Institute (GISP) started off her talk with the CDC  Zombie Preparedness Guide. She talked about how in the guide a GIS team who were prepared to spatially analyze zombie hot spots, were prepared for anything.  According to Cartographia, Austin TX has been prepared for a zombie outbreak since 2007.

Joking aside, I think that the zombie apocalypse creates a “sandbox” for researchers, educators, and society to analyze and understand complex, interconnected geospatial issues in a non-threatening way.  I’m not the only one who feels this way. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant a geography professor at Monmouth University is hopefully going to be presenting a paper on “Popular Culture and GIS: Using Geospatial Technologies to Model and Prepare for the Zombie Apocalyze.” at the 2012 ESRI Education User’s Conference (EDUC). There is also a 2012 ESRI International User’s session dedicated to Health, Behavior, and Zombies.  Preparing for zombie outbreaks on Earth is inspiring geospatial professionals to innovate and think big much like Star Trek has inspired decades of engineers.

If you want to experience your own zombie attack, Class 3 Outbreak is a zombie outbreak simulator played via Google maps at hundreds of locations world wide.

GIS Summer Camps for Students

Summer time is a great time for students of all ages to learn about GIS and geospatial technologies because it is a very hands-on technology. There are often GIS summer camps being offered at local colleges or incorporated into the general activities of 4-H and other camps. Some examples of upcoming summer camps by age group include:

High School

The GeoX: Geosciences Exploration Summer Program  is a FREE one-week program for high-achieving high  school juniors and seniors by being offered by Texas A & M (June 1-8, 2012).  It combines a mixture of classroom, campus, and field trips, along with technical and career skills.  The geosciences, especially geography, is a field that takes more recruitment at the high school level because of the misconception that geography is only being able to name all the countries in the world. This is changing as more high school outreach programs like this one introduce students to real life applications of geospatial skills and awareness. Application deadline is: April 9

Junior High

The TwiST GIS Summer Camp is offered by the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technologies (IAGT), Cayuga Community College, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the National Geospatial Technology Center, CIESIN and the New York State GIS Association to coincide with the Teaching with Spatial Technology (TwiST) Workshop for educators (June 28 – July 1).  Students learn geospatial technologies such as GIS, GPS, and remote sensing by working on a real world project.  Many STEM educators believe that junior high is one of the best times to get students interested in science, technology, and math related careers. Scholarships are available.

Grade School

The Harbor Discoveries Camp is offered by the New England Aquarium (July 9 – 24, 2012).  It is an interactive marine and environmental science program that uses geospatial technologies. Some of the activities include behind–the-scenes activities at Aquarium galleries, “excursions to Boston Harbor Islands, daily field trips to North and South Shore habitats, and an overnight experience.” Older students who have attended the camp are eligible to apply to be teachers and camp counselors. Many aquariums, museums, and nature preserves offer similar programs for students who don’t want to attend away camps.

Educators

The Teaching with Spatial Technology (TwiST) Workshop offered by the IAGT and Cayuga Community College (June 25-28, 2012) is designed to teach K-12 teachers and college faculty members in the United States how to teach and empower through geospatial technologies in the classroom. In 2011, the TwiST workshop was recognized in an Esri Special Achievements in GIS Award for  11 years of geospatial education. Scholarships are available.  Application deadline is: April 15

The “SATELLITES” (Students And Teachers Exploring Local Landscapes to Interpret The Earth from Space) K12 Summer Teacher Institute at the University of Toledo (July 9-13, 2012) is an award winning teacher education program focusing on geospatial technology and climate change and student research projects. The SATTELITES teachers have gone to the have gone to the White House Science Fair for the past two years.

Application Deadline: April 17, 2012

 

ESRI Kid’s Camp

Don’t forget that if you are attending the 2012 ESRI User’s Conference this year, they offer a GIS Kids Camp (July 24-26, 2012) Many summer conferences offer geospatial education programs for kids attending the conference with their parents.

If you know of any upcoming summer camps, post them in the comments section.

 

Live Show today

If you are at the Esri UC in San Diego, swing by Room 30E of the SDCC at 5:30PDT for our 6th anniversary celebration. Elvin Slavik of the ArcPad Team will once again join us at the mics to share wisdom on geospatial in general.

I forgot the webcam, so we probably won’t be able to stream the live show, but if I can pull something together we will try to stream at http://www.ustream.tv/user/VerySpatial.

ESRI UC 2011 – Jeff’s First Exposition Hall Tour

On Tuesday at the ESRI UC I spent the majority of my day wandering through the many tables and displays set up in the exposition hall.   At first I was overwhelmed by the size of the exhibition hall and the number of exhibitors but as I walked through the displays I became impressed with the number of ingenious ways that society makes use of GIS.

ESRI had a fantastic set up this year with their showcase featuring workstations set up to help with specific skill sets or applications regarding ArcGIS.  Each station was staffed with knowledgeable assistants to help with your questions or comments.  I stopped by the Training and Certification to inquire about ESRI’s new technical certification program.  If you haven’t checked it out lately you should as large changes from their past instructor certification program have taken place.

Finally, I got the urge to enter drawings that many of the vendors were offering.  One such company was offering a large remote controlled helicopter and I couldn’t resist.  That entry led to a conversation with Bill Emison of Merrick & Company.  Bill informed me that Merrick & Company were demonstrating Lidar processing software and gave me the tour of their product Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing Software (MARS).

All I can say is wow! The software processes millions of points super fast!  After my whiplash settled down, Bill showed me some of the software’s capabilities in generating different GIS friendly formats, generating TIN surfaces, classification tools, and filtering abilities.  Merrick & Company provides a free viewer and a 30 day evaluation of the full viewer.  Definitely worth checking out if you make heavy use of Lidar data especially since it exports to so many usable formats.

ESRI 2011 UC Live Blog

Esri UC 2011 Live Blog

We’re about to get underway at the 2011 ESRI UC.  We’re getting the opening Rocky-esque montage of GIS in action.  Jack takes the stage and here we go!

Jack starts with a big thank you and appreciation to us all and why we’re all here.  Jack’s a big fan of the f2f interaction, clearly.  He’s saying it’s the largest meeting they’ve ever had – around 15,000 people by the end of the week.  There’s around 14,000 in here right now.  Around 1/3 are here for the first time – great on them!  I’m a little surprised given governmental budgets that many people are here.  That’s a really good sign.  We’re now having our request meet and greet of the people around you.  Met a nice lady from ESRI just now.  Jack started a new process called the Deep Dive process.  Sounds like MBA speak, but I think he’s just saying he’s gone and fully explored a few select projects.  Hope it’s a representative sample 🙂  

Today’s sample – urban planning, well, really any planning; managing land (land information systems); environmental purposes; managing transportation; utilities and communications; building planning – basically he’s covering the normal big hits.  Oh, a mention of visualizations, which is cool.  Jack mentions geobusiness intelligence is an emerging field.  Not sure how that’s much different from geodemographics exactly, but I guess it adds more modeling and analysis.  Have to look into that later.  Given the unfortunate events in Japan in the spring, he’s naturally talking about emergency management and response.  I expect when they have people come up and talk about what they’ve done in the field, we’ll get at least one example from the Tsunami.  Crowd sourcing and engaging citizens (yay!) is getting bigger and bigger.  I still have issues with looking at this as primarily a top down endeavor, but I’m glad they’re talking about it more and more.  Regional and national GIS infrastructures.  Being in a state GIS data infrastructure, this area interests me, particularly the regional.  I wonder how they get around all the politics of interaction?
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