At the ESRI Education User Conference Plenary this morning a few things struck me as significant for GIS use in the classroom. Bern Szukalski reviewed some of the ArcGIS.comrevisions that occurred last Wednesday and these are what I thought could enhance the use of GIS in the classroom:
Intelligent Mapping – Essentially pop ups that display data in graphical formats about the feature selected ( fun stuff like pie, bar and line charts).
Time enabled mapping – The ability to connect to time aware services and bring them into the ArcGIS.com mapping environment and have a time slider available.
And what I feel is the most significant advance, “Drag & Drop Mapping” where a text or Excel file can be dragged directly into the mapping environment to add features and their associated data. Remember creating an Excel sheet with Latitude and Longitude fields, displaying events, and then exporting that event as a layer? Not anymore, just drag that excel file over the map and drop it!
While the emphasis of the plenary was to enable GIS education, the undertone was that of increasing the capabilities of web mapping and the continued integration of cloud services. The Pennsylvania State University also announced today for the first time publicly that it will be offering an open course tentatively titled “GEOG 8xx – Cloud/Server GIS“. Enrollment for this course will be open on November 7th 2011.
It is that time of the year again…we are prepping for the pilgrimage out to San Diego. We will be wandering the halls and…well…the halls talking to folks and learning a more about what folks are doing with geospatial technologies, especially the Esri ones. As usual we will have our live show and you are all invited. We will kick things off at 5:30pm on Wednesday, July 13 in Room 30E of the SDCC. If you get a chance head over to the VerySpatial facebook page and let us know you are attending on the event announcement or send us a tweet (@veryspatial) so that we can know how many cupcakes to bring to celebrate our 6th anniversary.
In addition to the live show we have a few presentations as well:
Where you live might decide where you get your AM cup of joe (unless you get your fix from a local favorite). Numbers Run has a neat series of maps that shows the number of store locations (Starbucks Vs. Dunkin Donuts) by zip code. Living in New England I can already tell you that I don’t need a map to find a Dunkin Donuts. They’re in every gas station, grocery store, shopping plaza… I think one is going in at the end of the hallway in my department! To be honest, I’m looking forward to visiting the zip code with the largest number of Starbucks next month for the 2011 ESRI UC in San Diego, CA.
I have noticed lately that increasingly conferences outside of the geospatial sphere are specifically requesting geospatially related topics. I think it shows the integration and acceptance or growing need for “every day” geospatial skills and geospatial literacy outside of fields normally thought of as being obviously geo-related. It means that for geospatial users who often could not find people who “spoke their language” except at specialized conferences (American Association of Geographers (AAG), Esri International User Conference among others), there is growing opportunity for learning and sharing skills with other people within their specific profession.
Some of the places I have seen this trend are in the recent Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) which has a 20 Year history of technology & teacher education. They included both geospatial technologies, 3D modeling for manufacturing, and serious gaming in their topics for the upcoming 2011 conference. They state that skills in these areas are becoming an important part of education and future job preparation for students.
The prestigious EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study included this special note which states that awards, “may involve the collection of “Geospatial Information,” which includes information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features or boundaries on the Earth or applications, tools, and hardware associated with the generation, maintenance, or distribution of such information. This information may be derived from, among other things, a Geographic Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, mapping, charting, and surveying technologies, or statistical data.”
That’s right, for all you Esri users out there, it’s already time to start thinking about next year’s User Conference. The Call for Presentations is now out over on Esri’s conference website, and abstracts are going to be due on October 15th. So if you’ve got a great GIS project or topic you want to share, start getting your abstract together.
We always have an amazing time at the UC, we get to do a great Live Show and try to present something every year, so hopefully we’ll get to see a lot of you fellow GISers at the 2011 event!
Last reminder (on the blog) that our 5th anniversary live show will be Wednesday night (7/14) at 5:30 in Room 30E. We will have great guests, lots of gaffes, and a little Great Big Sea playing in the background. While we will be announcing the winners of our 5th anniversary contest, we will also have a drawing for door prizes for those folks who attend. Door prizes will include an iPod Shuffle, Amazon gift certificate, ThinkGeek gift certificate, a flash drive with our logo, and who knows what else (I don’t, cause I forgot what else Sue and Frank suggested).