Putting the "G" in GIS

November 5, 2015

Gender and Geography Bibliography Hackathon

Filed under: Geography — ecrstern @ 9:26 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Via the GeoLadies Facebook page and AAG:

The Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon will take place November 15-21, 2015, as part of Geography Awareness Week. Work with a worldwide team of faculty, students, staff and citizens anytime and anywhere during that week to add to and edit the online database of feminist geographic sources now containing more than 3,000 citations.

October 28, 2015

Making Challenges into Learning Experiences

Filed under: Education,STEM — ecrstern @ 12:36 pm

One of the fun(?) things about teaching a brand new class, is what you learn during the process of teaching. As I said to my students a couple of weeks ago, it all makes sense when you write it down on paper, but it’s not real until you’re doing it. And in the reality of doing the thing, THIS is when we truly learn.

For example: I have my students writing blog posts, and I have them numbered in the syllabus so that I know which posts are related to which assignment. Easy, peasy. Well, the reality of the situation is that numbers are great but my students are creative (and are following my directions to be creative) and they are writing more than I assign, and are using awesomely descriptive titles titles, and… well, they’re generally being awesome, and my original plan isn’t so practical.

So this is an opportunity for me to be reminded to be flexible, get excited about what my students are doing, and come up with a better solution for tracking assignments (without getting crazy with Blackboard). Everyone gets a tutorial/refresher tonight on creating categories and tags for their blog; I get to revamp my tracking process; and we all learn some new things.

September 23, 2015

Welcome GIS 295 Students!

Filed under: Education,Geography,GIS,GIS Education — ecrstern @ 3:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to my GIS 295 Students, who are starting on a new adventure in web-based mapping, tools and technology!

The next 12 weeks will be part learning experience, part experiment, and part skill development; all toward the goal of making us better geographers and better communicators. I say “us” because my role as your instructor this semester is more facilitator than traditional teacher, and I plan to learn from you as well.

At some point during class tonight, I’m going to ask you to think about what your goals are for the class. Think about it. Write them down somewhere, and then come back here and post your top goal in the comments. We’ll look at them again towards the end of class and measure our success.

Let’s have fun with this and let’s learn new things!

August 19, 2015

Mapping Segregation in Washington DC

Filed under: Uncategorized — ecrstern @ 2:18 pm

A fascinating look at racial covenants in the District of Columbia. Painstakingly researched, using a variety of resources, both digital and analog. I’d seen this project presented at the 2014 DC Historical Studies Conference at the Historical Society of Washington DC, and I’m excited to see the results.


March 2, 2015

Massive Open Online Courses

Starting Wednesday, March 4th, ESRI is hosting “Learn What Spatial Analysis Can Do for You”, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). You can join other folks interested in GIS by registering at: http://www.esri.com/landing-pages/training/spatial-analysis.

This is a 6-week training class and is designed for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. “Spatial analysis” focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data.

If this course doesn’t float your GIS boat, check out some of the other courses available in early 2015:

Penn State/Coursera:

Elmhurst College: Skills for the Digital Earth (in-progress, registration appears to still be open)

To the best of my knowledge, these are all free.  If you have a link to share for a course I haven’t mentioned, please do so in the comments.


February 14, 2015

Teaching a Hybrid Course: Keeping it Simple

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m currently learning how to develop a hybrid college course, which is being exciting and challenging at the same time. I have so many ideas, and figuring out ways to implement them all has been fascinating.

One of the things I keep having to remind myself is: keep it simple. I want to use the technologies available to me, but I have to keep in mind that I don’t want students to have to focus so much on tackling the technology that their learning suffers. I also want to create great assignments that give my students the best learning opportunities available, but I need to keep the number and complexity of assignments manageable for me!

It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of great ideas, so I’m glad I have some good resources available to me while I build my class. One of these resources is the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Faculty Resources: Tips on Hybrid Classes. This page has a lot of good resources for faculty members developing new course material or reworking exiting materials for the hybrid learning environment.

January 5, 2015

Maryland Geocoding Tools

Filed under: Data,Geocoding — ecrstern @ 11:59 am
Tags: , , ,

The State of Maryland has a great tool available to anyone interested in mapping addresses in the state. You can geocode individual addresses using their address look up tool, and incorporate the code for the service using Javascript.  Visit the State of Maryland Composite Locator website for the tool and more information. Documentation for using the composite locator in ArcGIS is available here.

October 16, 2014

Census Geocoder

Filed under: Data,Geocoding — ecrstern @ 11:53 am

I’d not seen this before and I thought it might be of interest to some. Via the Census Bureau website: “The Census Geocoder is an address look-up tool that converts your address to an approximate coordinate (latitude/longitude) and returns information about the address range that includes the address and the census geography the address is within.”

The geocoder is available as a web interface and as a REST service: http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/geocoder.html

October 6, 2014

Free and Low Cost GIS Resources

Filed under: GIS,STEM — ecrstern @ 4:08 pm
Tags: ,

I originally put this list together for a group of DC teachers at the Carnegie Academy for Science Education’s Environmental Literacy Summer Institute (2014), but I thought it might be useful to others. Please be advised that these sites may change at anytime, may decide to charge at some point, and you are using them at your own risk.

ArcGIS Online (http://arcgis.com)

Create interactive maps and applications to share with others. The “regular” version allows teachers to
create an account to share with their class, so they can share and collaborate with each other. Every
user also gets access to all of the ready‐to‐use apps, maps, templates, and other content. ArcGIS Online
for Organizations is available to all U.S. schools, K‐12 for free.

DC Atlas Plus (http://atlasplus.dcgis.dc.gov)

DC‐built and operated GIS data viewer. Allows users to view 300+ data layers and perform basic
investigation of locations and attributes. Data can be downloaded from http://data.dc.gov (scroll to
bottom; click “All”; use Find function (ctrl+f on PC) to search for layers. (Individual agency web mapping
applications are available via http://dcgis.dc.gov)

Google Earth (http://earth.google.com)

3D‐ish tool that lets you create your own and import existing data. Desktop, web, and mobile versions
are available.

Google Maps (http://maps.google.com)

Point‐based GIS tool. Driving directions and more. You can modify a map by placing markers on it
corresponding to important locations such as your home or business, and points in‐between. Make
those markers public, and other people on the Web can see them. You also have the ability to view and
mark locations, as well as create an account that will allow you to import multiple points.

MapStory (http://mapstory.org)

Public prototype mapping tool designed to allow users to create map “stories” with geographic data
containing time attributes.

Scribble Maps (http://www.scribblemaps.com/)

The basic service is completely free and allows you to create custom maps, widgets, and images. Share
your custom maps with friends or publish them to your website/blog. Alice Deal Middle School used
this tool for a spring project for the TAGS Program (DC Geographic Alliance)

QGIS (http://www.qgis.org/)

Free/Open source GIS desktop application that lets users create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish
geospatial information on Windows, Mac, Linux, and BSD platforms. Performs many of the same
functions as ESRI’s ArcGIS desktop software.


If you know of another resource, please post a comment.

March 27, 2014

Digital Data You Can Count On

Filed under: Data,GIS — ecrstern @ 3:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I get a lot of requests for places to find census data and other base layers.  I’m always surprised at how few organizations freely distribute public data, but that is a topic for another post.

I sent the following to a client recently, just to get him started on some base maps for his study area:

ESRI Census Data 2000

ESRI Census Data 2010 (download from ArcGIS.com)

National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD) (more than just base layers, some good transportation info as well.)


Please feel free to comment with other resources that you are aware of. I will gladly incorporate them into this post after validating.



Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.