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2016
Recently I created a “Famous Boots of Wimberley, Texas” story map for four reasons:  First, I wanted to show educators and the general public how to integrate art, history, science, technology, geography, and GIS.  My colleagues and I receive frequent inquiries from people asking how to integrate art into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) educational programs, and Wimberley's giant boots are a good illustration of this integration.  Second, I wanted to test the new capabilities of the side accordion story map configurable app.  This app is an easy and compelling way to tell a story.

Third, I wanted to demonstrate that every community has a story, and story maps are a visually compelling, easy-to-create way of telling that story.  When I visited the town for the first time after a series of presentations I gave at the geography department of nearby Texas State University, I learned about the boot project from my town walkabout.  It was so interesting to me that I began collecting information, photographs, and video, and a short time later, I had created the story map that integrates all of these types of multimedia.  The boot project brought together local artists, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and the entire community, and serves as a source of city pride as well as a tourist attraction.  Fourth, it is my hope that my brief story map (see my video) can in some small way inspire people in another location to think creatively about a place-based arts project that can help build pride in their own community.

If I can do this for a community that I had just learned about, how much more can you and your students tell a story for which you conduct more in-depth research and may even have local knowledge about!
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Cowboy Boots of Wimberley Texas story map.

My colleague David Neils is one of my favorite mentors.  David runs the International Telementor Program and is very active in connecting students and faculty at all levels with industry professionals for the goal of fostering workforce skills development.  He is also one of the greatest wildlife photographers and advocates for outdoor education that I've ever known.

He recently summarized some of the gems he is regularly sharing in his presentations and workshops, and graciously agreed to allow me to post this for the greater community:

1. Follow up quickly and professionally on all communication with industry professionals. Dead air is common today from students. Avoid it like the plague.

2. Look for ways to make a difference RIGHT NOW for these professionals and others who you connect with. Learn more about the industry WHILE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

3. Be sure you set the bar at or above industry expectations for all of your student work and work outside of school. Don't let your instructors set the bar of quality any more. They won't set it high enough for you to be competitive. Grade inflation is rampant. Don't be a casualty. Have all of your work reviewed by industry. You'll find you are capable of producing stellar work and it will open up doors.

4. Make sure your education plan ALWAYS supersedes the institutional requirements of any institution you're at. Your institution is simply a catalyst for you to blow the doors off with your interests, natural abilities, and energy. To be successful you must view your school as just one small part of your education experience, goals, and objectives.

5. Pay it forward. Help fellow students learn the ropes. Reach back into a local high school or middle school and share with students the powerful journey you're on. Few things in life will produce more
joy.

6. Develop win-win relationships with successful alumni from the program you're currently in. Dig in and learn all you can about these alumni before you connect. Determine why they've been successful. Figure out what keeps them up at night professionally, and figure out a way to help solve their challenges. Nothing opens up doors faster, nothing. Only one out of a million college students thinks this way. You'll definitely stand out.

7. When you connect with a successful professional, use this approach:

1. Be humble, transparent, appreciative and professional in all of your communication.

2. Let the professional know you still have a lot to learn but while you're learning you want to help.

3. Identify an area of mutual interest (you've done your homework) that you'd like to tackle and note the time frame, etc.

4. Be clear regarding what you're asking of the professional and the time frame involved.

5. Note how you're going to wrap things up and share the results.

6. Thank the professional in a heartfelt, professional way. (Handwritten thank you cards have the greatest impact).Note from Joseph Kerski:  What are you reactions to the above?  I look forward to hearing your comments below.
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Ways to contact David:www.telementor.orgwww.linkedin.com/in/davidbneilswww.offthepavement.org

Want to be a mentor in the fields of STEM, geography, and GIS?  Or find a mentor for your school or program? One way to do so is via the GeoMentor program.
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David Neils setting up one of his wildlife webcams in Colorado.

Folks:

 

If you are truly "starting up" with teaching remote sensing - then I say
that your primary goal should be to help students (1) get excited about remote
sensing so that they will want to continue their journey in it, and (2) not
deluge them with hard science behind it right away, but provide some
interesting and compelling activities that will make them, later, want to
pursue, with your guidance, the science and technology behind it.

 

So, that being said, some ideas to get started would be:

 

Start with my weird Earth set of images and teaching
strategies:

https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2012/02/24/weird-earth-exploring-the-earth-with-interesting-bizarre-and-odd-imagery/

and the first three videos of mine in this list:

https://www.youtube.com/user/geographyuberalles/search?query=weird

 

Another one is to guide students through "Name that
Place" - https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2014/01/31/name-that-place/

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDi09-tSTes

 

Follow with the Change Matters viewer and examine
landscape change:

http://changematters.esri.com/compare

 

Use my guiding questions and this web mapping Landsat
tool:

https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2015/07/10/introduction-to-landsat-thematic-bands-web-mapping-application/

 

Take a look at my real-time weather and maps lesson and map.
You can take what I did for California and do the same for Sverige:

https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2015/12/18/analyzing-real-time-weather-and-maps/

 

You might take a look at the new European Data Portal
that we just reviewed on our data blog for some additional data:

https://spatialreserves.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/european-data-portal-launched/

 

I have been involved in the IGETT Remote Sensing project
for years:

http://www.igettremotesensing.org/resources-for-instruction.html

Some good instructional resources are here.

 

My colleagues wrote this book with exercises - very
nicely done  - https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2014/01/30/new-making-spatial-decisions-using-gis-and-remote-sensing-a-workbook/

 

I hope this helps!

Joseph Kerski

In my last post, I discussed how to easily create compelling Cartograms in ArcGIS.  I would now like to point out one of the best things about the tool:  You are not confined to creating cartograms of variables by countries of the world.  Think outside the box!  You can create cartograms for any set of polygons that you choose!  A set of provinces or states, neighborhoods in your community, or even watersheds are all good candidates.

Let's take population from 1900 to 2000 for a state, such as the great state of Kansas.  You and your students can certainly create standard choropleth maps showing the population each census year and even a animation to help visualize the changes.  But creating cartograms of the population in each county provides additional insight.  See the output from selected years, below.  The cartograms show the settlement of the high plains (western Kansas) from 1900 to 1930, followed by population loss that continues in some counties all the way to 2010.  Coupled with that is the rise of the urban centers of Wichita (south central Kansas) and Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City (northeast Kansas).  The combination of these trends, brought about by social, physical, and economic forces, squeeze some of the northern and western counties so much that they are almost invisible by 2010.  I've been to many of these counties, though, and rest assured that there are some vibrant communities and good people there!

Think about doing this for your own area--population change in your own state over time, water quality or river flow differences by watershed, or crime rates or median age by neighborhood in your own community.  If you do this, I think it is advantageous if the readers of your cartograms know what the areas that you are analyzing look like as a standard map for comparison purposes.  Thus, you might consider providing this standard map at the front of your set of cartograms, as I do below.  That way, your audience will more readily understand how the variables you are mapping distort the "standard" way of looking at that area.

The possibilities for increased spatial literacy and understanding with cartograms and ArcGIS are endless.
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State of Kansas - Counties and cities - Standard View

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Population in 1900 by county in Kansas. Many of the eastern and central Kansas counties had similar population totals.

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Population in 1930 by county in Kansas. The western third has now been settled, but the east continues to increase at a more rapid rate.

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Population in 1960 by county in Kansas. Many western counties have lost population or gained very little compared to the rise of the major urban centers of Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City.

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Population in 2010 by county in Kansas. Urbanization continues, particularly Johnson County (suburban Kansas City) although selected rural counties are gaining population as well.

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