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Thursday, August 07, 2014

extension logo
ConnectED Webinar 
The UNH Cooperative Extension, Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI), NH GRANIT and NH Space Grant are hosting a webinar on Esri's ConnectED program on August 19th.
The Title: "Teachers, start your mapping! Free online GIS in the classroom from Esri and ConnectEd"
The Pitch: "GIS is a powerful, but underused teaching tool. Geographic Information System (GIS) has long been seen as a powerful way to engage students in spatial thinking and get them involved in real-world, inquiry-based projects. In spite of the incredible teaching potential of GIS, many roadblocks have prevented the widespread use of this technology in classrooms, including the cost to license software, the headaches involved in managing desktop programs in a school environment, and the steep learning curve associated with using such a complex mapping tool. ArcGIS Online is now free for all schools in the US."
While the focus on "free" and easier to use that traditional GIS is interesting and quite correct, I wonder if focusing on STEM, Common Core support and inquiry and problem-based learning might be more compelling for educators.
Esri Endorses Field Trips
press release from Esri regarding the availability of the new ArcGIS Story Maps-based Field Trip Library from includes an endorsement from K-12 education manager Charlie Fitzpatrick. The original announcement (pdf) of the product is from April.
"As a former social studies teacher, I would have loved having my students work with these. History comes alive when you can see the whole story, and it is much more powerful in a map you can dive into. Field Trips rock!"
If I understand correctly, the Field Trip library is an add-on to an existing Maps 101 subscription, which the site says costs less than $700 per year for most school sites. The Field Trip Library content is mostly from Maps 101; the innovation is the organization of that content on a story map. Per the pitch for Field Trips:
While much of the content comes from the company’s popular Maps101 resource (currently used in over 3500 schools across the US) it is the way that events are presented using geographical and chronological representations that will maintain students’ interest and aide [sic] learning.
I took a quick look at two of the free to view samples. The story map on the World War I included public domain art from Wikipedia and a generic National Geographic video on Germany. In Gift of the Nile I found a Created Common licensed wikipedia image that was unattributed in the story map.
Esri Canada Answers Questions on Centres of Excellence
I published a Q & A about the initiative earlier this week.
Esri Supports Central European University
Back in July, Esri donated more than 30 licenses of ArcGIS 10, to Hungary-based Central European University. Esri participated in the school's Summer University course “Bridging ICTs and Environment – Making Information Talk and Technologies Work,” which addressed decision-makers and policymakers' use of IT in water management and water security applications.
Esri will support the course and the ISEPEI Project at CEU, under which the course was run. The company also donated copies of two books, volume 28 of the “Esri Map Book” and “GIS for Water Management in Europe,” to the CEU Library.
Esri MOOC Capped at 1000
Per a tweet from @esrimooc

Initial limited release of Going Places MOOC (1000 students) opens Sept 3. Unlimited release to follow soon.

Those who sign up now receive this response:

Thanks for your interest in Esri's free online course Going Places with Spatial Analysis. All the students we can handle have already signed up for this course, so we're saving a seat for you in the very next offering. We'll send you details later this fall.

All of the details I've gathered about the course are here.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/07 at 03:19 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Washington Public Lands MapOops, Wrong Acreage on State Map

The total number of acres in every county was incorrect in a new online map of public lands from the Washington state Recreation and Conservation Office.

The map was announced July 16.

What's the problem?

The errors were caused by a Google Web-mapping tool that incorrectly collated the total acres of every county, explained Susan Zemek, spokeswoman for the Recreation and Conservation Office.

The app is called Smartmine; it's from Geoengineers.

How was the error found?

A surveyor called the local paper who contacted the office.

Where the errors large?

Prior to the correction, the online map indicated that Whatcom County was made up of nearly 3.7 million acres. It's actually a little over 1.6 million acres, including aquatic lands in the county.

Bozeman Map of Development

The online community development map shows all of the active planning projects around the City to give people a sense of where development is happening - like the Northwest side of town.
By double clicking on a shaded area, you can find out who the project applicant is and what the plans are for the site.

The Esri-based Flash solution mostly did as promised. But, visitors really have to know their codes and abbreviations to decipher the plans. "Home 2 master SP INF" means nothing to me!

Bozeman Shares Data on State Open Data Site

In other Bozeman, MT news:

Bozeman has joined the state of Montana’s open government push as the first city to publish local databases on a state website.

The website,, currently contains 36 datasets and was soft launched at the end of June. It's powered by Socrata.

Benefits of Police Sharing Crime Maps in Griffith, IN?

The maps also could help police forge a stronger relationship with residents, he said.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/06 at 05:47 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sabermetrics isn't he only type of statistical analysis being used in baseball these days. Location tracking is turning into the next "big data," number crunching, analytical tool used at Major League ballparks. This year, nearly all ballparks are being outfitted with iBeacons, Apple's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters that can support indoor navigation apps and communication with mobile devices using iOS 7. Fans that download the At the Ballpark app can check-in, receive discount offers, get historical information, and navigate to their seats (Watch the video below for examples).

Now, technology that tracks a pitched or batted ball's flight has been installed at two ballparks, Minnesota and Milwaukee. According to the Wall Street Journal, steroscopic cameras and radar are used to track a ball's route 20,000 times per second. The technology can be both predictive, such as to determine whether a ball will actually be hit out of the park, and analytical, to assess a player's performance (see second video below). The technology is being developed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), a unit of MLB. Technology similar to what MLB is doing was discussed in a recent podcast about technology SAP was deploying for Germany's national soccer team.

What else might this technology be used for? I'm thinking about traffic and advanced driver assistance, whereby accidents might be avoided if vehicle speed and direction were tracked, especially where feasible such as at intersections. Information could be sent to the cars "connected" devices and take corrective actions accordingly. What applications can you think of for this technology?

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 08/06 at 04:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Last week Esri Canada announced the first of its GIS Centres of Excellence (press release). I asked for a bit more detail on the initiative.

How were these institutions selected? Did organization submit applications? Did Esri Canada just appoint them?

Institutions were selected to provide a geographical spread across Canada.  We leveraged our existing relationships with  universities which we knew have the capabilities for this initiative and offered advanced degrees and specialist programs in GIS

Is this initiative based on another one from Esri or another software vendor?

This is a unique program in Canada.  It is loosely formed from the Esri Inc. (U.S.) Esri Development Center (EDC) but adapted for a Canadian focus and to build a community for GIS focused Canadian schools.

What sort of support/encouragement is Esri Canada providing to the schools? What are the schools expected to do in return? SFU notes: the initiative " will enable us to expand our research and teaching capacity in GIS. In addition, access to scholarships, competitions and conferences would benefit our graduate students."

Esri Canada is providing participating schools access to the Developers Summit, grant and funding opportunities, dedicated website for developer Web based resources, collaboration opportunities with other schools, participation in the app contest and student employment/placement opportunities.  The schools also receive developer licensing for grad students, complementary instructor training courses along with freely accessible resources to educators and students including planned content, assignments, lectures, software licenses, developer network and technical support.

How will Esri Canada measure the success of the initiative?

The goal of the program is to lift the bar on the work coming from GIS programs, specifically in growing the online and mobile capacities of GIS applications.  Success will be based on overall engagement, satisfaction and in interest in the program from both students and teachers.

Is the student challenge basically a hackathon? From the PR: "Each year students from member Centres will have the opportunity to form teams and participate in a weekend app development challenge using Esri technology and spatial data from selected government open data portals." Has Esri Canada held one for students before?

The student competition is still in the very early stages of planning but is not meant to be a hackathon.  Participants will be working on a common problem and datasets to develop an application.  The top Canadian will compete against the U.S. EDC.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/05 at 11:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 04, 2014

Micheal Byrne suggests this is "perhaps the MOST important open geospatial opportunity this decade." 

At the US Open Data Institute, we’re big fans of OpenAddresses. They’re working to piece together a address-level map of the entire world, county by county, city by city, town by town. Here in the United States, that data is often published on municipalities’ websites. (For example, see BaltimoreAlbuquerque, orAtlanta.) Stitching together this data will ultimately create a map of every addressable property in the country, as entirely open data, which is essential fuel for innovation.

Today we’re announcing a bounty for contributions to OpenAddresses. We’ll pay $10 for each new United States municipality that’s added from now through September 30. All you have to do is file a pull request on the project’s GitHub repository, and the team has to accept your pull request. Come October, we’ll tally up your contributions, get in touch with you to ask about how to pay you, and then we’ll send you money. It’s that easy.

There are a few rules and restrictions. Qualifying contributions must contain data, website, license, compression (where applicable), type, and note fields, and the note field must provide basic information, such as whether the data provides points or polygons for each parcel, and what the name of the columns with address information are. Payments can only be made to people in countries where we can send you money legally (e.g., Cuba is probably off the table). We’re capping cumulative payouts at $5,000, and we’ll provide public notice here and on the OpenAddresses repository if that cap is hit before October 1. There is no per-person minimum or maximum—we’ll send $10 for one municipality or we’ll send $1,000 for one hundred municipalities.

Ready to get started? See the “Contributing to OpenAddresses” guide and start filing pull requests. Let’s go create a national geoparcel database.

Reprinted from U.S. Open Data Institute under CC-BY-4.0.

Image by skewgee under CC-BY-SA-2.0.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/04 at 03:22 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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