US National Map Corps

Last week I attended a web-based presentation by USGS on the National Map Corps. I don’t know if you are familiar with USGS’s National Map or not, but it is a great resource for finding and downloading information. I had not heard of the USGS National Map Corps before, so this was good news to me.

USGS has adopted the same editing environment for the National Map Corps that OpenStreetMap has used for a few years (Potlatch). It works well, is simple to use, and they use it to update a few features for the US Topo Map. The features you can currently edit across the US are: schools, fire, police, and EMS locations, state capitals, and cemeteries. Not a lot of features to update, but it is nice to see USGS opening up to crowd sourcing to keep features current and accurate. The updates you make on the map are reviewed by peers and then added to the new US Topo Map quads.

The URL for the USGS National Map Corps Editor is: 

Elmhurst College’s Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC

An announcement from the GeoTech Center:

Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC

Register Here:

Elmhurst College’s Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC is a 4-week, online course designed to introduce how location technologies are used in society.

Ever stop to think about how important location is when using your smart phone? This educational MOOC begins with an elementary explanation of how society uses location in a myriad of disciplines. Geography, or rather, “where?” is important to all of us from various perspectives.

Within this MOOC, participants will learn what location technologies are used for, how the discipline developed and learn by doing via a series of scaffolded practical exercises. Online spatial software will be employed for any device using a browser which takes users through exercises and real world examples. It is appropriate for those with no prior experience with geographic information systems (GIS) software all the way to advanced users.

Skills for the Digital Earth will incorporate video lectures, interaction opportunities and discussion forums. Each module will feature a quiz and activities, and participants will receive a badge after each completed module to be used to demonstrate skills mastered. Instructions will be provided on the process of adding badges to your backpack in the course.

· March 30 to April 26, 2014 (4 weeks)
· Cost per student: Free

In this course, participants will:
· Demonstrate fundamental basic geographic concepts and be exposed to the geospatial workforce.
· Identify skills associated with the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM).
· Display creative thinking skills, problem-solving, and decision making in geospatial technologies.
· Use geospatial tools and technology and apply some business fundamentals using GIS.
· Recognize employment opportunities in the geospatial industry.
· Demonstrate the use of basic computer skills.
· Demonstrate the use of business application software.
· Demonstrate the use and interpretation of spatial data and data sources.
· Demonstrate the core geospatial abilities which are consistent with those of someone working in the geospatial industry.

Modules and Badges:
Module 1: Fundamental Geography
Badge: Fundamental Geography Knowledge and Skills
· Demonstrate and apply fundamental geographic knowledge and concepts.
· Use ArcGIS Online to navigate an online map and use skills learned to create a functional map.

Module 2: Fundamental Computing Skills Associated with Geography
Badge: Fundamental Computing Skills of Geography
· Successfully identify the skills of navigation online, including file management.
· Recognize geographic communication skills.
· Recognize skills associated with e-publishing, use of spreadsheets, presentation software, and use of databases.
· Identify skills associated with fundamental computing as a means of communication in the discipline of geography and geospatial technologies.

Module 3: Creative Thinking
Badge: Creative Thinking in Fundamental Geography
· Recognize logic, deductive/inductive reasoning and problem management skills.
· Recognize geographic reasoning skills.

Module 4: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Geography
Badge: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Geography
· Identify problem-solving and decision-making principles.
· Identify the effective use of solution implementation and alternative solutions to a spatial problem.

Module 5: Geographic/Geospatial Tools and Technology
Badge: Geographic/Geospatial Tools and Technology
· Recognize skills with gathering, storing, transforming, and manipulating spatial data to produce a desired outcome.
· Evaluate other open source software and data sources.

Module 6: Business Fundamentals of Geography/Geospatial Environments
Badge: Business Fundamentals of Geography/Geospatial Environments
· Identify the application of business fundamentals in several disciplines using GIS.

Module 7: Abilities in the Geospatial Field – Advanced Digital Earth
Badge: Abilities in the Geospatial Field – Advanced Digital Earth
· Describe the fundamental concepts and applications of GIS&T, including problems and challenges of representing change over space and time.
· Identify and describe the basic elements of cartography, including map interpretation, design principles, map projections, coordinates, and scale.
· Describe the fundamental concepts and applications of remote sensing and global positioning systems.
· Describe and discuss sources of data (including primary and secondary), the process of creating data, different data models (specifically, raster and vector models), and the fundamental concepts of data quality and uncertainty.
· Explain location-based services (LBS) and identify LBS applications.
· Describe the use of overlaying, buffering, and other analysis techniques to analyze spatial and temporal relationships.
· Discuss the need for ethics and professionalism in GIS&T.
· Explain datums, ellipsoids, and geoids.

Completing the Course
· Upon successful completion of Modules 1-6, participants will be issued a certificate of completion. Upon successful completion of Module 7, participants will receive an additional certificate.
· Module 1-6’s certificate of completion may be used as a waiver to GIS 100 Introduction to Geospatial Technologies, the first course in the Online Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems at Elmhurst College.
· Module 1-7’s certificate of completion may be used as a waiver to AGS 500 Fundamentals of Geospatial Technologies, the first course in the Online Master’s Degree or Graduate Certificate in Applied Geospatial Sciences at Elmhurst College.

For further information regarding this MOOC or any of the programs in the Elmhurst College School for Professional Studies, please contact:
School for Professional Studies
Elmhurst College
190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, Illinois, 60126
(630) 617-3300

For information regarding the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech Center) or the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), please contact the GeoTech Center at:
National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence
Jefferson Community and Technical College
1000 Community College Drive
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. 40272
(502) 213-GEOT

Dan Berkenstock: The world is one big dataset. Now, how to photograph it …

Great TED video of Dan Berkenstock talking about the vision of SkyBox and what drives them. This is “game changing” technology that will force the mapping industry to evolve and produce more dynamic and increasingly important capabilities. I am very excited with what SkyBox and the other small satellite companies are doing.

PrecisionAg Mazine’s Top 10 Videos for 2013 Includes AutoCopter

AutoCopter Demo at InfoAg 2013

AutoCopter Demo at InfoAg 2013

AutoCopter at InfoAg 2013

AutoCopter at InfoAg 2013

Good to see our friend Donald Effren at AutoCopter Corp made the Precision Ag Magazine top 10 Video List.  Donald is a great guy and AutoCopter is changing the way growers monitor their production.  It is a transformational technology.  We were at the InfoAg Conference in Springfield last July when Donald and the AutoCopter Team demonstrated the capabilities of the UAV and it was very impressive.  Congrats Donald!