We are on the heels of not only Geography Awareness Week but American Education Week as well (the 90th in fact). Take some time to thank the educators you may bump into during the week and head over to the National Education Association’s website to find out what the daily themes will be during the week and to find out what you could do to help educators this week…or even throughout the year.
As some of you may know, I took up the mantle of Treasurer of the GESG this year. Since I have an audience to reach out to through the blog, I thought I would take some time to evangelize the GESG and encourage folks to keep it in mind as they renew their AAG membership to register for the annual conference (mere weeks to go to submit abstracts).
The mission of the Geography Education Specialty Group is:
To promote research, development, and practice in the learning and teaching of geography and to examine and strengthen the role of geography in education by focusing on the development of learners, teachers, curricula, and programs.
This clearly touches on anyone that is in the classroom, working in outreach, or really interested in how people conceive of Geography. There is obviously significant overlap with in membership with NCGE, but working as part of the AAG allows the GESG to build on the presentations and discussions of the larger group of educators and geographers in attendance at the AAG annual meeting. In other words…join both!
If you are a student studying Geography Education, be sure to check out the GESG’s Gail Hobbs Student Paper Competition. It is a great way to share your work and meet Geographers with a similar focus during the sessions (you know, there really are people outside your department). Plus, talk about icing on the cake, there are cash prizes for the competition! Student membership is cheap at $1.
For the non-students, whether you are an AAG member or will be applying in the future and are interested in Geography Education, be sure to add us to your list of Specialty Groups. It is a great way to keep up-to-date with Geography educators in the AAG, and the related activities going on at the annual meeting. Regular membership is a very reasonable $5.
Completely off topic filler to follow:
One of the great things about the Esri UC is that it ends on Friday giving you a weekend to recover. I know this is fairly common for conferences that cater to companies or government agencies, but my many years of conference attendance have been heavily academic oriented leaning toward Geography and archaeology conferences. Academic conferences ‘take advantage’ of the weekends so that you don’t miss as many days of class, can escape from work, etc to help you attend. Getting home Sunday afternoon or, better yet, late Sunday after a cross country flight (e.g. AAG in Seattle this April) means that you connect two weeks with a very tiring long weekend (and not in the good way). It rarely leaves you with any kind of post conference euphoria.
Any way, I wish everyone we interviewed, chatted with, presented to, saw in the hall ways…a great recovery weekend. However, if you stuck around in SD to attend Comic-con, I resend the good wishes and wish you little-toe cramp (the appendage not the severity) during your time at the SDCC next weekend…just kidding…or am I…just kidding!
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.
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 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?
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.com revisions 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:
As always, there are a ton of great sessions to check out at the EdUC and UC. If you are going to be there you may want to swing by one of ours.