I had the odd experience last night of having not one, but two women, both working on master’s degrees come up to me bubbling over with excitement about GIS. One had played with Zillow.com, she working on affordable housing issues in a section of Boston. The other had seen a GIS demo where a tool calculated the percentage of different minorities in an area, helping to figure where it was best to sample for certain types of people. She studying public health and taking a GIS course. Both had the same sorts of questions/issues: how can I get data, our project has no money, is there “GIS for dummies”, etc. We are having a “GIS breakfast” next week to get them started.
What floors me about this is these are two random people who just happen to be in my 400 person running club and are agog about GIS, which is great. Clearly, they both see the potential for GIS in their work. Here’s the part that scares me: they are in reputable programs but don’t seem to have the resources they need. On the other hand, with busy grad school lives, perhaps they simply haven’t been inspired enough to push a bit farther with their schools?
I was pleased this morning to read about a burgeoning GIS certificate program in Idaho. It’s grown considerably since inception in 2002 and may even begin offering day instead of night only classes. Even better news: some 25% of students have their way paid by employers. That suggests that employers “see the benefit.” The article even goes into such detail as to note, “Program credits also count toward professional GIS certification, which is awarded by the Park Ridge, Ill.-based Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.” I believe certification is conferred by GISCI.
by Adena Schutzberg on 02/10 at 06:43 AM |
There’s been a run of publicity on Zillow.com, a site that uses maps to show housing price estimates in the United States. It was noted on Spatially Adjusted today and covered in the New York Times yesterday.
I heard about it in an e-mail first thing this morning. My source said it was Flash (he couldn’t see it on his Mac, and I confirmed it used Flash 8 on my Windows machine) though Mr. Fee says its Ajax (maybe it goes both ways?). The app was only vaguely interesting (yam, yet another mashup) but the responses were fascinating.
From a writer on a private e-mail list:
Should I worry that they are showing lots of houses with prices where houses are not actually located, that the address they claim is mine is in the wrong block of the street, the home facts are half wrong, and the price they estimate is clearly out of the correct ballpark?
Apprently, NPR mentioned it yesterday, when it launched (press release). Today NPR shared listener responses. One said the data in their neighborhood was from the 1970s and their house, built in 1982, was not even on the map! A second chided NPR for providing free advertising to the startup.
The company does have extensive explanations about its data coverage and how it works, but it really doesn’t matter. And, neither did it going down under the load of all this viral marketing. Bottom line: If your house is not there, or the data is old, sites like this seemed to be dismissed out of hand. It’s a tough world out there!
by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 04:14 PM |
Kimberly Anderson (Women in GIS profile) was appointed Sales Channel Manager at CollabraSpace, a provider of web-based collaboration solutions for government and commercial enterprises. Our community knows Anderson as one-time regional manager at ESRI’s Washington DC office (where I worked with her managing a big benchmark years ago), the Federal Market Development Manager at GE Power (Smallworld) and most recently the vice president of business development and sales director for CH2M Hill.
Moving from GIS to collaboration solutions seems quite a logical step to me.
by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 03:41 PM |
I’ve been corresponding with Gary Price of Resource Shelf and Search Engine Watch for many years. He’s sent on cool geospatial finds/resource/etc. and I’ve sent him stuff, as well.
I understand he’s leaving those to become “director of online information resources” at Ask Jeeves. There, he’ll “lead Ask Jeeves’ outreach efforts within the library and education communities and will play an advisory role in the development of new search products for Ask Jeeves.”
Best of luck Gary!
by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 12:41 PM |
The Rolla Daily News offers the latest in the saga of the USGS reorg and move to Denver. The bottom line reported by the Investigator General: senior management failed to properly document the decision, but no laws were broken. So, “all is a go” for Denver.
Rep. Jo Emerson, who along with the state senators requested the 11 week investigation, still feels the decision was an error. “the decision to close the doors at Rolla was made in the dark, and the outcome of the process is totally unsupported by the criteria chosen by USGS,” she said.
The report was turned over to the paper yesterday. It’s been aggressively covering this story since consolidation was mentioned. It notes several issues that illustrate a lack of communication:
USGS did not take meeting notes or minutes to document decisions or the instructions given to the team assigned to develop site selection criteria, according to the report.
“The chair interpreted this new direction [heresay regarding Siderelis’ priorities] as unethical influence to manipulate an otherwise objective study and steer it toward selecting Denver, Colo., as the NGTOC site. The chair was never told to recommend Denver, Colo., but assumed it was implied,” the report said.
Siderelis said she did not document her decision because it included subjective considerations. She also was told by the USGS office of communication to keep details about the decision to a minimum.
by Adena Schutzberg on 02/09 at 12:03 PM |