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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Niger in OSMOpen Online Academy Announces GIS MOOC for the Fall

Introduction to GIS and Mapping starts this fall from the Open Online Academy.  More details at All Points Blog. And, no, I'd not heard of Open Online Academy before, but its focus in on design education (architecture and related disciplines).

Mapping Niger

The “Mapping for Niger” project was launched by Orsolya Jenei, from Hungary, who had previously worked on mapping projects in Chad. She won a grant from the Rising Voices Foundation in order to train geography students at Niamey University in digital mapping techniques. After several months of training – some of them started off with little computer skills – a dozen volunteers [are] starting mapping towns all over the country

Good news: the data is going into OpenStreetMap! (map at right)

Colleges and Universities Ask FAA for Access to Drones for Research

Thirty signatories at public and private colleges and universities supported the effort lead by Smith College.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/31 at 03:07 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On July 23 the GeoTech Center was awarded the Innovation Award, one of four awards presented as part of 2014 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) held in Chicago. 

HI-TEC is a national conference on advanced technological education where secondary and postsecondary educators, counselors, industry professionals, trade organizations, and technicians can update their knowledge and skills. Charged with Educating America’s Technical Workforce, the event focuses on the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in the high-tech sectors that drive our nation’s economy.

The event is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and produced by a consortium of NSF Advanced Technological Education centers (map, like the GeoTech Center) and projects. Here's what the organization provided about the award.

Innovative Program Award

Recipient: Vincent A. DiNoto, Jr., National Geospatial Technologies Center of Excellence (Jefferson Community and Technical College)

The GeoTech Center develops model courses in geospatial technologies, supports efforts to inform the geospatial community of the current and forthcoming shortage of qualified geospatial workers, and encourages promising students to embark on careers in geospatial technologies. A national map of geospatial programs at institutions of higher education, residing on the GeoTech Center website, highlights the vastness of recent programs and the recent increase in institutions that have made geospatial coursework available and have established programs. 

The GeoTech Center has established a Community of Practice to link geospatial students and professionals into a single force dedicated to the success of the industry. This is critical, as in 2006 the U.S. Dept. of Labor declared the geospatial technologies sector an “emerging growth industry.” The GeoTech Center took this declaration seriously and made it their mission to carry out the initiatives of the U.S. Dept. of Labor by working with them in 2010 to create the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), which has become the standard for employees and employers in the profession in assessing geospatial skills sets and making the geospatial technologies sector a tried and true occupation.

The Center presented one paper at the conference: Update Plan for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Geospatial Technology Competency Model.

Interestingly, the GeoTech Center won the same award in 2009 (press release).

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/30 at 10:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

California City Takes on Smaller Local Governments as GIS Clients

Rancho Cucamonga’s Rancho Enterprise GIS (REGIS) division was created two years ago to bring geographic information system (GIS) data and services to smaller municipalities.

“We are not coming in as a private company trying to learn how a city functions. We already know how a city functions,” said Ingrid Bruce, Rancho Cucamonga’s GIS/special districts manager and REGIS’ client services manager.

In early 2013, the City Council approved its REGIS program, and this February it entered into a two-year, $162,000 contract with the Napa Valley town of Yountville – its first partner agency. Yountville is a town of about 3,000 population.

Galena MD has College Update Town Website, GIS

The Town of Galena partnering with Washington College's Geographic Information System laboratory to create its brand-new website, which launched July 1. Prior to that, there had been no upgrades or changes to the original site.

"The town was looking for someone to help them create a more modern website and wanted to highlight what the town has to offer," Emily Aiken, of the GIS lab, said.

Initially, the lab was placing zoning information on the site, but after seeing its current state, decided to offer its services in designing a new one. 

"This is the first time we've done something as big as a town website," Aiken said.

The finished product contains new features, such as detailed zoning information for the town, an updated business directory, online bill payment, multimedia, mailing list, embedded social media, detailed event listings, a ticker displaying town updates, Galena's history and more. 

Adding Data to the GPS System?

Shawnee, OK is getting an online map for citizen and city use. This from the utility director, per the local paper.

[Steve] Nelms said the city currently has over 8,000 meters and about 700 fire hydrants on the Global Positioning System, commonly known as GPS.

I'm sure he didn't say that. The first online maps are expected in December.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/30 at 04:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The United Nations' Initiative on Global Geographic Information Management (UN-GGIM) has released a report (PDF) on the "Role of Standards in Geographic Information Management." The report was prepared in conjunction with the Open Geospatial Consortium, The International Organization for Standards (ISO), Technical Committee 211 Geographic information/Geomatics, and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). According to the report, the guide has three primary purposes:

  • Articulate the critical role of standards in geospatial information management; 
  • Inform policy makers and program managers in Member States of the value in using and investing in geospatial standardization; and 
  • Describe the benefits of using “open” geospatial standards to achieve standardization, data sharing, and interoperability goals

Enabling a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) for an entire country is a challenge. Recognizing this undertaking, the UN GGIM recommends a "tiered" approach to developing standards and subsequent implementation of an SDI as follows:

Tier 1: Share maps over the web

Tier 2Geospatial Information sharing partnerships - share, integrate and use geospatial data from different providers

Tier 3: Spatially enabling the nation - large scale (typically national) efforts to develop a "full blown’ SDI that provides access to multiple themes of information, applications for using the shared information, and access via a variety of environments (mobile, desktop, etc.);

There is also a companion document (PDF) supporting the report that describes the standards that are appropriate for each tier.

A meeting of the UN GGIM to discuss the report will be held in New York on August 5th at 2:00 PM Eastern.

by Joe Francica on 07/30 at 03:52 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sammies Finalists 2014The awards are new to me!

The Partnership for Public Service annually honors outstanding federal employees who have made a significant difference in the lives of Americans, presenting awards that have come to be known as the "Oscars of government service."

Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in honor of the Partnership's late founder, the awards shine the spotlight on the inspiring and high impact accomplishments of talented and dedicated federal employees. The honorees' achievements are a testament to the important and effective work of our government and the value of a strong federal career workforce.

One time GIO of California and most recently GIO of the FCC, Michael Byrne now serves as Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Operations Lead at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He is one of five nominees for the Citizen Services Medal. (All finalists are at right It recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to citizen services (including economic development, education, health care, housing, labor and transportation). He was interviewed on Federal News Radio yesterday. The station (in D.C. and online) is speaking with all the nominees.

Byrne has always been a good friend of Directions and the geospatial community. He sets the bar high regarding what a geographer can do in the public sector. Congrats on the nomination and best of luck with the new job!

by Adena Schutzberg on 07/29 at 06:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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