Skip navigation
All Places > Education > Blog > Authors jkerski-esristaff
1 2 3 Previous Next

Education

283 Posts authored by: jkerski-esristaff Employee

The title of this essay addresses a topic so wide in scope that a few paragraphs will not do it justice.  Yet is an important topic in which my colleagues and I on the Esri education sector team are deeply immersed and concerned.  Through campus visits and daily interaction with educators at all levels, we gain valuable insight on the challenges faced by and successes achieved by a wide variety of educational institutions, worldwide, and, with the community, cultivate what we believe to be best practices for course and program planning as we forge into the decade of the 2020s.  Why do we care?  First, we believe that the significant challenges our world is facing (energy, water, human health, natural hazards, climate, population change, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture) are all spatial in nature and can be understood and solved through the application of GIS.  Second, we believe that GIS is a key tool for 21st Century critical thinking, spatial thinking, and inquiry.  Our aim is to encourage educators, curriculum developers, and program planners to continually re-evaluate their programs and courses and to share best practices so that students in these programs will receive relevant and meaningful instruction and will become the leaders of tomorrow in business, government, nonprofits, and academia. 

 

As you are well aware from being someone interested in GIS in education and reading GeoNet essays, the combination of rapid change in the job market, student and societal expectations, goals and purposes of education, educational technology, and GIS itself, GIS courses and programs should naturally evolve as well to keep up with these changes. While some foundational tenets of GIS will always be with us (such as datums, data models, data quality), even these topics do not need to be taught, and I would argue should not be taught in the same way that they were 20 years ago, or indeed, even a few years ago.  We have summarized some of the conversations we have had with educators in a set of documents about "what constitutes a modern GIS curriculum" on GeoNet, which we intend to keep updating, that you are welcome to comment upon.  Core elements in this modern curriculum should include web GIS, GIS-as-a-service protocols and capabilities, APIs and SDKs, setting up and maintaining a GIS server including system architecture, field data collection and tools, 2D and 3D mapping, spatial analysis including big data analytics, using real-time services and the IoT, interior space mapping including BIM, visualization and cartography, web mapping applications (including configuring apps such as dashboards), communicating with GIS (including multimedia maps such as story maps and other means of geo-communications), and societal considerations (location privacy, data quality, ethics, crowdsourcing).  

 

One new program that I believe exemplifies these tenets is that of the Location Intelligence Program at North Park University.  Location Intelligence combines aspects of natural and technical sciences, along with business principles and the latest in spatial technology, with a focus on preparing students for a wide array of careers.  The program, as is evident in the images below, is forward-thinking in its courses such as business communications, developing web apps, and spatial programming.  The very title of the program, Location Intelligence, speaks to a focus of breaking out a traditional audience for GIS and appealing to a wider array of disciplines, including social work, health, and business.  I have been pleased to work with the program since 2018, and developed and am teaching a course entitled The Art and Science of Map Design:  Geo-Visualization.  To find out more about the LOCI program at North Park University, see these web resourcesthis official video from the university, and my video about the LOCI 3100 course along with a set of weekly course videos.  I look forward to reading your comments and I salute you instructors, deans, and provosts for thinking creatively about how to mold your program for the future.  And for you students reading this--use this essay as a springboard in your search for the type of geospatial program that will best meet your needs. 

 

Location Intelligence Program at North Park University

    Location Intelligence Program at North Park University

Location Intelligence Program at North Park University

  Location Intelligence Program at North Park University

Description of the Location Intelligence program at North Park University.

Esri and AAG hosted a poster contest entitled Innovative Applications of Esri GIS Technology at the recent American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in April 2019.   The goal of the competition was to encourage students to create their own creative application of Esri's GIS software to understand and resolve problems from the local to the global scale.  The AAG annual meeting, which attracted over 8,500 attendees from all over the world, was the perfect venue for these students to display the results of their research and development.

I had the honor of organizing this event with AAG and my Esri colleagues, and it was a pleasure to interact with the participants before the conference and to meet them during the poster session.  The session was held at the front of the exhibit hall, and I enjoyed watching the students interact with hundreds of people who toured the posters, including Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president.  "It was wonderful to see the passion and creativity that people poured into their entry posters," said Jack. "I had the opportunity to have a few really illuminating conversations with the contestants, many of whom are students. It's truly exciting to see that the future development of GIS application is in such inspired hands."

The winners are listed below; they and the other posters illustrate the diversity of problems, issues, and scales that GIS is able to address.  Tools included 3D analysis, Python scripting, ArcGIS Dashboards, remote sensing analysis including with UAVs, spatial statistics and analysis, story maps, and much more.  

  • 1st Place: Nicholas Bogen, Central Michigan University; The US In 11 Zip Codes. Cash prize $500.00
  • 2nd Place: Carly Robbins, Clark University; Warming’s Impact on Bird Distributions. Cash prize $450.00
  • 3rd Place: Tetyana Pecherska, Tufts University; US Offshore Aquaculture Potential. Cash prize $350.00
  • 4th Place: Douglas Stow, San Diego State University; Remote Sensing-Wildfire. Cash prize $200.00
  • 5th Place: Yaping Xu, Louisiana State University; Stepwise Soil Moisture Data. Cash prize $200.00


To see a sample of the posters, visit the following links:  On traffic sign detection and extraction, on estimating wildfire rate of spread, on legislative districts, on assessing urban structures, and on blending 3D and story maps

To view the press release for this event, read this.  To explore additional ways that Esri uses GIS to support higher education, visit www.esri.com/education.

Collage of Esri AAG poster competition

Photo collage of the wonderful participants of the Esri AAG GIS poster competition and their work.  I salute not only the winners, but all those who participated in the event, as well as all those who are using GIS in education and beyond to make a positive difference in our world.   --Joseph Kerski

I had two goals in creating this geomorphology story map:  (1) To illustrate how story maps can enhance field trips and investigations. I took the opportunity to test the new story maps 2019 tools. (2) To emphasize the importance of fieldwork in education.


Students in a geomorphology course took to the field to learn about drainage divides and landforms created by glacial processes, prevailing winds, rivers, and more. This particular field trip included 4 sites as described in the story map. The case study features Valparaiso University and northwest Indiana landforms, but story maps can enhance any field data gathering experience. Furthermore, I believe that fieldwork is important to many disciplines--geomorphology, geography, environmental studies, biology, engineering, planning, geology, anthropology, archaeology, meteorology, history, sociology, and many more.  Story maps can be used in a variety of ways, as I describe in the map.  The map includes interactive maps showing the study sites, watersheds and rivers, topographic maps, geologic maps, and more. Explore the story map, and I look forward to your comments below.   Then, go create your own story maps!

 

Geomorphology Field Trip story map

One of the interactive web maps I included in the story map.

One of the interactive maps that I included in the story map.

One of the images I included in the story map.

One of the images and descriptions I included in the story map.

Coordinated by Esri's international distributors and Esri's international and education teams, the Esri's Young Scholars Award program was launched in 2012.  Winners are honored each year at the Esri User Conference.   The program recognizes the exemplary work of current undergraduate and graduate majoring in geospatial science disciplines at international universities.  Winning entries are selected by a university panel formed by Esri's distributor in the recipient's respective country.  Award winners travel to San Diego to present their work and join nearly 20,000 GIS professionals in a week-long program of presentations, workshops, and social events.  This year, 31 Young Scholars were awarded from 6 continents, and their work spans covers topics ranging from transit, natural hazards, habitat, urban planning, historical monuments, and much more.  To accomplish their work, they performed some deeply insightful spatial analysis using Esri GIS software, examined existing and created their own spatial data sets, created web mapping applications, conducted a wide range of field work from noise monitoring to interviews, used UAV and other new tools, and more. The scholars honed their communication skills by creating graphs, charts, maps, story maps, and posters. 

 

See for yourself!  Use this story map that features the work that these fine Young Scholars have done that my colleague here at Esri and I created. Explore their posters and show your students, colleagues, and others how GIS helps make wise decisions and build a better world.  Use the story map to get a sense for the diversity of scales, themes, and problems that can be addressed with GIS.  Use it to be inspired that the future of GIS work is in good hands!

 

Collage of a sample of the 2019 Esri Young Scholars fine work.

Collage of a sample of the exemplary work by the 2019 Esri Young Scholars. 

Congratulations to all the award winners and best wishes to you on your journey!

After over 8 wonderful years, the Change Matters viewer recently had to be sunsetted (it was using old technology).  After testing several equivalent data sets and tools for a suitable substitute for teaching change-over-time, I settled on the Landsat Lens for introductory investigations.  It is a wonderfully rich tool that covers the planet as a series of images covering over 40 years of change.  For a follow-on activity, you could use the swipe tools that exist on the Landsat Explorer Esri app where you can build your own swipe image for your own customized dates.  And, finally, in ArcGIS Pro, there is no shortage of change detection tools that more advanced students can use.

 

Attached is the lesson I created that uses the Landsat Lens.  In it, you will examine change from natural and human causes in Abu Dhabi, Mt St Helens, the Aral Sea, and in Melbourne, but the most amazing thing about this tool is that it works everywhere on the planet!  Hence, you can use it to investigate changes in water levels in reservoirs, extent of glaciers, coastal erosion, urban sprawl, deforestation and reforestation, agricultural expansion and contraction, and much more. 

 

--Joseph Kerski

Examining change in Abu Dhabi using the Landsat Lens

Using the Landsat Lens for examining changes in Abu Dhabi.

Effective teaching and learning about demography and population change is enriched through the use of web mapping tools and spatial data.  These tools and data sets foster critical thinking and spatial thinking, learning about content, scale, change, and systems. In the attached document, I describe 8 short activities: Comparison of urban areas around the world, exploring population change at multiple scales, and investigating community demographic characteristics using a variety of spatial analytical tools and interactive online maps and charts.  Feel free to use these tools in your own instruction from secondary to university level. These activities and a thorough description of each will soon be published in a special issues about the 2020 Census in The Geography Teacher journal.

 

These activities have 6 common themes:  They all use interactive maps; freely accessible with no log in via the web.  They all focus on real-world investigations, inquiry and problem solving, use a variety of themes and scales, highlight change over space and time, and foster learning about interconnected systems (the carbon cycle, weather and climate, population dynamics, commerce).  

 

--Joseph Kerski

I recently created or updated my activities for secondary and university students focused on the following themes, indicating starting point links for each.  It is my hope that these activities, data layers, and interactive maps are useful to many educators and students.  I have also compiled a "why and how to use GIS in education" set of slides to use as an introduction to these lessons and activities as an attachment to this blog essay.

 

I wrote the Foreword to this book, just published:

 

https://www.amazon.com/GIScience-Teaching-Perspectives-Geographic-Information/dp/3030060578

 

GIScience Teaching and Learning Perspectives (Advances in Geographic Information Science) 1st ed. 2019 Edition

The authors have done a stellar job of advancing GIS teaching and learning, and I highly recommend investigating this book.

Some of the chapters are in the graphic below.

 

--Joseph Kerski 

Selected chapters in the new GIScience teaching and learning book.

Tell your story!  I taught the following free webinar through the American Geosciences Institute on Thursday 14 March 2019.  Telling your Geoscience Story with Story Maps.  Fee free to share with colleagues!

 

Here are the recordings:

The main session:  45 minutes:  Telling your Geoscience Story with Story Maps - YouTube 

The Questions and Answer portion:   15 minutes:   Telling your Geoscience Story with Story Maps: Question & Answer Session - YouTube  

 

Communicating results of geoscience investigations to a diverse set of audiences will grow in importance in our 21st Century World. Communicating science is and will remain important to the entire community. GIS will continue to expand as an important tool for spatial analysis and visualization.  Story maps are web mapping applications that provide geoscientists with the ability to combine 2D and 3D maps, audio, video, photographs, and narrative that can be shared with research colleagues, or the general public, and embedded in web pages and online presentation tools. This webinar will quickly give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make your own maps for telling your own story.

 

Speaker: Joseph Kerski, PhD, GISP, Education Manager, Esri

 

Joseph Kerski

I frequently teach hands-on workshops so that people can see for themselves the power and data that is at their fingertips using modern GIS technologies.  Here are several workshops chock-full of activities that I want to share at this time, and I invite you to use these activities in your own courses. 

 

For activities inside a business course, let us focus on the following:

1.   My presentation - Spatial and Critical Thinking in Research and Instruction: Why and How   Spatial and critical thinking in business research and instruction - why and how.  Includes links to interactive web maps and tools.

2.  See attached regional convenience store activity.

3.  Exploring the demographics of 50 states using infographics:  https://esribizteam.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=bdfc563d4eac45b8a0e2aa350b95df9b  

4.  Top 10 features about Infographics:  Top 10 Business Analyst Infographic Features 

 

For activities in a remote sensing course, let us focus on the following:

1.  Change Matters viewer:  ChangeMatters :: Using Landsat Imagery to Map Change   to analyze change over space and time:  Aral Sea, Mt St Helens, Dallas-Fort Worth TX, and elsewhere. 

2.  Wayback high resolution historical imagery:  Analyzing change over space and time with the Wayback Image Service   Examine how these places have changed:  Lake Mead, Plano Texas, Beachy Head England, the Three Gorges Dam in China, and your own community.  

3.  Landsat 8 app:  Landsat Explorer    Analyze different spectral bands, create a swipe comparison map, filter data, and more. 

4.  Sentinel-2 imagery to analyze the eruptions in Kilauea:  Using two new tools to analyze the eruptions in Kilauea   Add data from the Living Atlas:   Sentinel-2 views, bands 12, 11, 2, Filter on Acquisition Date of 23 May 2018, Image display as Geology with DRA, stretch, analyze. 

 

For the environmental science course, let's focus on the following activities that I created:

A new Higher Education GIS Immersive Hands-On Workshop - Joseph Kerski, Ph.D. - GeographerJoseph Kerski, Ph.D. – Geograp…    These include examining the global water balance, stormwater, ecoregions, population change, migration, and much more. 

 

For a crime analysis course, let's focus on analyzing crime in Lincoln Nebraska, as follows:  Search ArcGIS Online for crime Lincoln Nebraska and open the following web map: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=d0506cc0f18e4e19a771f84319e24773.   You will see crime point locations, city limits, police stations, and police districts.  Change style for police stations to Safety-Health - Badge.  Change style for districts to unique symbol - color.  Label the districts by number.  Use Proximity to create 5 minute drive time around stations with dissolve option.  Next, calculate the percentage of crime within 5 minute drive times using the Aggregate Points tool.  For Choose layer containing points to aggregate into areas, choose Crime. For Choose layer containing aggregation areas, confirm that Five-Minute Drive-Time from Stations is chosen.  Change style on crime to map specific crimes, such as theft.  Change style on crime to see crime as heat map.  Examine imagery with labels to determine areas where more crime seems to be occurring.  Create hot spot map of areas of significant clustering of crime.

 

For a GIS in the Humanities course, let's focus on the following:

1.  Explore the Digital Humanities map collection:  Story Maps and the Digital Humanities   

2.  Build your own story map:  10 Things You Can Do with ArcGIS Online, Story Maps, Apps, and Spatial Analysis Workshops   > Scroll down to #2:  Story Maps.  Build a map tour, then, time permitting, a map journal.

3.  5 Forces acting in society to bring us to this pivotal moment in geospatial technology and spatial and critical thinking:  https://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=fb060544d4bc4d15a1b8bed38048859b 

4.  Data quality and societal issues:  https://spatialreserves.wordpress.com  My co-authored data book and blog. 

5.  Collect, map, and analyze field data with Survey123:  Use this form to collect tree height, tree species, and tree condition:  https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/933b03f8109e411cab344453dbd7a865   Examine the resulting map on:  http://arcg.is/1COi0z .  If you need the long URL, it is:

http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=434cbc3ca6a342eca3122f08414e2be4&extent=9.9432,53.5424,10.0273,53.5… 

After uploading a test point to this Survey and seeing your results on the map, create your OWN survey on this or another topic (historical sites, homes, something else in your community) using the web form method via http://survey123.arcgis.com/When your survey is finished, create a map from your survey and examine the pattern of your results. Save and share as appropriate.

 

For activities in a Digital Earth, Geography, or Smart Planet course, let's focus on the following:

1.  10 things you can do with ArcGIS Online:  10 Things You Can Do with ArcGIS Online in Education  

2.   Teaching with web apps:  apps_teaching_with_activity.pdf - Box   These include examining Pacific typhoons in 3D, demographics of Zip Codes, creating viewsheds and buffers, and much more.  These apps are easy to use and yet very powerful.

3.  Introduction and Advanced Work with Story Maps:  Slides with core content with short activities and longer hands-on exercises.   These activities and exercises include how to build a story map from a web map, and how to build map tours, map journals, swipe, series, and other types of story maps.

4.  6 methods to map your own data:  6 Methods to Map Your Own Data:  A Workshop 

 

For examining the topic of Data Quality, Data Sources, and Spatial Analysis in ArcGIS Online, let us focus on:

1.  Why data quality matters, now more than ever:  Why Data Quality Matters More Now Than Ever 

2.  Data sources, data quality, and societal issues:  https://spatialreserves.wordpress.com  

3.   Trace downstream.  First add World Hydro by Esri, data to ArcGIS Online map. 

4.  Examine county health rankings, practice Arcade scripting:  https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?useExisting=1&layers=c2d611adace94b488bfbf280dd591a7c  

5.  Analyze zebra mussels from 1986-2011:  https://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=a5cc4d8c8e9547ccaa76d70018f30fa2    Summarize center and dispersion.

6.  Boulder County Hazards starting point:  https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=d19b5a39eb3446a299e1e2f5dd25a44d    Determine which areas are in floodplains AND in major geologic hazards, enrich final results with group quarters. 

7.  Cholera 1854 study starting point:  http://esrit3g.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=87c0f79108e246d49f97a6cfe4fce157  Determine which water pump had the most cholera cases within 500 feet, determine optimal walking route for Dr Snow to visit each well. 

8.  Real time weather analysis:  https://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=8fbd18ed975f49c8a59b9f25f2b9f7a6   Symbolize data, create interpolated surface of temperature.  The full lesson I authored is here:  Predict weather—Predict Weather with Real-Time Data | ArcGIS  

9.  Join data to the Living Atlas of the World.   Start with this world earthquakes map:  http://denverro.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=63a6261d7afa48878a52a4c7127f624e   and join contents to the Living Atlas of the world to understand the number of earthquakes by country.  The full lesson I authored is here:  Spatial Joins with ArcGIS Online and the Living Atlas of the World  

10.   The world of 3D analysis and visualization is also at your fingertips with cloud-based tools, as I show here of earthquakes:  Scene Viewer  

Today, there is no shortage of data available on open data portals, including those on ArcGIS Online (such as the Living Atlas of the World, and via ArcGIS Hub, and in many cities such as Cambridge Massachusetts and many countries such as Germany) and those we test and describe on our data blog http://spatialreserves.wordpress.com.  But there will always be a need for people to map their own data.  Great instructional value is inherent in doing so, including connectedness to the community, examining real world issues, field planning and methods, the use of data collection tools, outdoor education, and much more. 

 

If you are new to GIS, especially to web GIS, I encourage you to start with this HDI map of world countries, and this world plate tectonics map.

 

Thus, there is no shortage of methods in which to collect your own data.  In recent GIS workshops for faculty, I focus on the following 6 methods:

  1. Add data via a GPX file.  GPX files can come from a variety of sources, including GPS receivers and smartphone fitness apps.  Attached to this essay is a GPX file I collected in and around the University of Hamburg, Germany, using the RunKeeper app.  Save this file to your device, and add this to ArcGIS Online or Pro using the Add data tool. Symbolize the points and line as you see fit, and select your basemap of choice.  Note the "zinger" that appears in the GPX file.  I on purpose did not remove this, because these occasional spikes in the field path provide useful teachable moments.  This particular one occurred while I was inside St Michaels Church, gazing around at all the beauty, with the track "collecting" the whole time but losing some Wi-Fi hotspots, cell phone towers, and/or GPS satellites; hence guessing at my true position and, for a time, being a few hundred meters off.
  2. Add data via a simple table in Comma Separated Value (CSV) or text file (separated by commas).  Attached to this essay is a text file "fieldwork_hamburg_ped_counts.txt" in text format that I collected at 5 locations.  The data I collected was the number of pedestrians in one minute at each location, on a Sunday afternoon in winter. Symbolize the points as graduated symbol on pedestrian count.  Select a basemap of your choice.   Save and share as you see fit. Pedestrian counts is one useful set of data that you can collect with students, comparing different times of day, days of the week, and seasons of the year.  Note the high number of pedestrians at point #3 enjoying ice skating!
  3. Add data via an expanded table in text format for the same locations, but with a URL of a picture I took at each location.  FYI, my Flickr photos for this activity are from this set here.  After adding the data, click on each point, noting the "more info" for each popup that points to the photo.  Symbolize as you see fit, and practice customizing the popup.   Select a basemap of your choice.  Save and share as you see fit. 
  4. Use Survey123 to collect data in the area.  Use this form to collect tree height, tree species, and tree condition:  https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/933b03f8109e411cab344453dbd7a865   Examine the resulting map on:  http://arcg.is/1COi0z .  If you need the long URL, it is:  http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=434cbc3ca6a342eca3122f08414e2be4&extent=9.9432,53.5424,10.0273,53.5… .  After uploading a test point to this Survey and seeing your results on the map, create your OWN survey on this or another topic using the web form method via http://survey123.arcgis.com/.  When your survey is finished, create a map from your survey and examine the pattern of your results. Save and share as appropriate.   See attached slides for more information on this powerful field data collection tool.  
  5. Create a story map of the data collected.  Several ways exist to do this, but start with the simplest one:   Go to https://storymaps.arcgis.com > Apps > Create Map Tour > Sign in to your ArcGIS Online account > add images from Flickr > access my images of the University of Hamburg and waterfront in the folder  joseph_kerski (note underscore) > Done.  In the story map, note the photo captions are read from the Flickr header information.  Add the number of pedestrians at each point as follows, from points 1 through 5 (with 1 being the northernmost point, 2 to its southwest, and then 3, 4, and 5 progressively closer to the harbor front).  Then, customize the color, basemap, logo, and extent.  Save and share as you see fit.  Under My Stories, edit the map for this story map and add the GPX file that you used earlier.  Change one of the photo to an embedded Hamburg video from among the Hamburg choices on my channel:  Our Earth - YouTube   Re-save.  Once you understand this method, use the map tour template as a guide to creating a tour table, for an even faster way of creating a story map.
  6. Use Mapillary to collect your own street view scenes and map them.  Download the app and begin collecting on a path on your campus or in your community.   Mapillary is an Esri business partner and I love using their tools for professional results without a great deal of work.  See my essay here for more information:  Examining Mapillary Views in ArcGIS Online.     

 

The capabilities of these tools continue to become more powerful and easier to use with each update.  Get out there into the field!

 

--Joseph Kerski

Greetings Everyone:

 

Perhaps this article I wrote about the status and perspectives surrounding GIS in higher education will be helpful in your own efforts as you continue to champion the cause of why teaching, learning, research, and administrative use of GIS makes a positive contribution to academia and society:

 

https://www.xyht.com/spatial-itgis/gis-in-higher-education/

 

--Joseph Kerski

GIS in higher education article

GIS workshop at a university, attended by those from the library, IT, engineering, data science, geography, humanities, biology, and other disciplines.

Perhaps this experiment that I conducted 4 years apart will be useful for all those teaching GIS and teaching with GIS, on the topics of GIS, GPS, and spatial resolution:

 

Track on Track, Revisited: Spatial Accuracy of Field Data | Spatial Reserves 

 

Track on track

Track from 2014 (left) and 2018 (right) gathered from a smartphone and a fitness app.

 

Back in 2014, I tested the accuracy of smartphone positional accuracy in a small tight area by walking around a track.  During a recent visit to teach GIS workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, I decided to re-test, again on a running track.  My hypothesis was that triangulation off of wi-fi hotspots, cell phone towers, and the improved GPS constellation would have improved the spatial accuracy of my resulting track over those intervening years.

After an hour of walking, and collecting the track on my smartphone with a fitness app (Runkeeper), I uploaded my track as a GPX file and created a web map showing it in ArcGIS Online.  Open this map > use bookmarks > navigate to the Atlanta and Pittsburgh (Carnegie Mellon University) locations (also shown on the graphic below on the left and right, respectively).   Once I mapped my data, my hypothesis was confirmed:  I kept to the same lane on the running track, and the width of the resulting lines averaged about 5 meters, as opposed to 15 meters on the track from four years ago.  True, the 2014 track variability was no doubt in part because I was surrounded by tall buildings on three sides (as you can see in my video that I recorded at the same time) , while the building heights on the Carnegie Mellon campus were much lower.  However, you can measure for yourself on the ArcGIS Online map linked above and see the improvement over those two tracks taken just 4 years apart.

I did another test while at Carnegie Mellon University–during my last lap on the track, I moved to the inside lane.   This was 5 meters inside the next-to-outer lane where I completed my other laps.  I wanted to see whether this shift would be visible on the resulting map.  It is!  The lane is clearly visible on the map and on the right side of the graphic below, marked as “inside lane.”

To explore further, on the map above, go to > Contents, to the left of the map, and turn on the World Imagery Clarity layer.   Then use the Measure tool to determine how close the track is to the satellite imagery (which isn’t perfect either, but see teachable moments link below).  You will find that at times the track was 0.5 meters from the image underneath Lane 1, and at other times 3.5 meters away.

Both tracks featured “zingers” – lines stretching away from the actual walking tracks, resulting from points dropped as I exited the nearby buildings and walked outside, as my location based service first got its bearing.  But again, an improvement was seen:  The initial point was 114 meters off in 2014, but in 2018, only 21.5 meters.  In both cases, as I remained outside, the points became more accurate.  When you collect data, the more time you spend on the point you are collecting, typically the more spatially accurate that point is.

 

To dig deeper into issues of GPS track accuracy and precision, see my related essay on errors and teachable moments in collecting data, and on comparing the accuracy of GPS receivers and smartphones and mapping field collected data in ArcGIS Online here and here.

Location based services on the smartphone still do not yet deliver the spatial accuracy for laying fiber optic cable or determining differences in closely-spaced headstones in cemeteries (unless a device such as Bad Elf or a survey-grade GPS is used).  Article are appearing that predict spatial accuracy improvements in smartphones.  Even today, though, I was quite pleased with my track’s spatial accuracy, particularly in 2018.  I was even more pleased considering that I had the phone in my pocket most of the time I was walking.  I did this in part because it was cold, and cold temperatures tend to rapidly deplete my cell phone’s battery (which is unfortunate, and the subject of other posts, many of which sport numerous adds, so they are not listed here).   Happy field data collection and mapping!

--Joseph Kerski

Greetings everyone:

 

I would like to announce an online course that I am teaching:  

 

 **Telling Your Story using Esri Story Maps** - This course led by Joseph Kerski will enable you to understand and incorporate interactive web-based story maps to include sound, video, photographs and other multi-media in your teaching about ecoregions, natural hazards, river systems, urban change, demographics, and much more. 

 

This course is aimed at:  The educator who is just starting out with web mapping and story maps.  So, if you know an educator that fits this description, this course would be particularly relevant to them.

This course is 5 weeks in length and includes hands-on activities, discussion, assessments, and readings.  You will learn through hand-on activities using the ArcGIS maps to enhance your curriculum for your students.  To register, click here. 

 

Here is the link:

https://www.enetlearning.org/register-for-courses/telling-your-story-with-esri-story-maps-2/

Here is the link to all of eNet’s February courses:

http://www.enetlearning.org/course-catalog-and-descriptions/

There is a small fee for the course to support the good folks at eNet Learning and the work they do to offer courses for educators.  There is an option for university credit as well.

 

--Joseph Kerski

 

Story map

We on the Esri education outreach team receive regular inquiries from instructors who want to see examples of the use web maps and applications as instruments for students to communicate the results of their learning and their research.  They also want to see maps that at the same time serve as assessment instruments for the instructor to gauge student learning.  One of the best examples I have seen lately is the work that Dr Karen R. Lips at the University of Maryland's Department of Biology has been doing.  I was even more impressed because this was her first use of story maps, and yet the resulting maps and her approach were extremely innovative!  I also liked the fact that in her assessment rubric, she placed weight on the content, but also in the students' effective means of communication.  And in her story map instructions, she provided what I thought was just the right amount of information--she didn't bury the students with too much, but gave them enough to get started and become confident, with links for them to keep learning and growing. 

 

I asked Dr Lips to share her work so that the entire GIS education community could benefit, and she has graciously done so, including the attached instructions and rubrics, selected examples that follow, and her instructional reflections below.  Selected examples from the students include the life and death of coral reefs, Biodiversity:  A Cure for Going Bananas, the Unsung Utility of Oysters, the Path from Monoculture to Sustainability, Of Mice and Men:  How Habitat Fragmentation Facilitates the Spread of Lyme DiseaseHaiti's environmental chaos, biodiversity and poverty in the nation's capital, Biodiversity Hotspots:  Nigeria, and Getting Ticked off by Deforestation.   

 

Dr Lips said, "At the University of Maryland College Park, I teach a non-majors Honors course called Biodiversity Matters, in which we do a variety of readings and activities to show how dependent humans are on biodiversity in every aspect of their lives, from food, to medicine and bioengineering, to clothing and housing, to large scale coastal protection, national security, and international relations. Essentially the course demonstrates the many kinds of goods and services provide by nature (“Natural Capital”) and how those goods and services contribute to human health and well-being. My goal was to show that biodiversity is not a special interest dependent on philanthropy, but should be viewed as the foundation of life on earth that provides sustaining resources to human society. I directly link course topics to the majors of the students to show them how biodiversity intersects their lives and how they have a role in
conserving biodiversity. 


The secondary theme of the course is communication. We learn about using the Compass MessageBox to articulate our
message and describe the “So What”, and we compare writing styles of scientific papers to the media coverage of the same studies. We met with a science writer from a major publication to understand the publishing process and how to write for science news, and we compared the differences in the approaches and techniques to science communication in scientific articles, popular articles, and in videos. I designed three major assignments to assess students’ abilities to communicate the importance of biodiversity: (a) in writing through an initial Op-Ed piece, (b) in using visuals and audio by producing an end-of-semester video, and (c) at the midway point, through a combination of writing and visuals with an Esri Story Map. My goals were to demonstrate a continuum of communication styles, show how images can often make a point better than words, and encourage students to think about data visualization.


Developing a Story Map Assignment: This summer I learned that the UMD library has a GIS lab, with full time staff that are available to offer training to faculty and students in the use of ArcGIS. Before the semester began, I met with Dr. Kelly O’Neal and together we identified Story Maps as an easy-to-use platform for students without any GIS experience. This would allow them to make maps, import them into a Story Map, and add images and text to produce an attractive project. I searched the web for examples of how other faculty had used Story Maps in classes, but found few examples (but see https://oceansolutions.stanford.edu/education-and-teaching-resources), and even fewer teaching resources for faculty (i.e., syllabi, lesson plans, project descriptions, grading rubrics). I wrote to Dr. Dawn Wright to see if Esri might
have teaching materials that I had missed. She introduced me to Dr. Joseph Kerski who suggested sharing my resources in a blog post.


Once the semester began I met with students individually to identify topics of interest to them that related to the course theme and which were likely to have available data layers, and introduced them to the Story Map platform. The UMD GIS lab taught ArcGIS basics to my class during a one hour workshop. This was followed by a final one-on-one meeting between each student and the GIS lab staff to identify data that would illustrate their report. I met with students on an as-needed basis while they completed their Story Map. 


Assessment: Students really enjoyed this assignment. Students were very creative in their choice of topics and in how they presented data visually. They thought it was a very useful way of producing an illustrated report, and could see how to apply it in some of their other courses. None of them had ever used GIS before, and only a few had ever heard of GIS before they did this assignment. They thought that it was relatively easy to use and most had no major problems with the system. As the instructor, I thought that this format was much more interesting than the traditional format of a written report, and thought it allowed a much greater immersion into the topic. I encouraged several students to submit their Story Map to the annual student competition. I think that with additional time working with ArcGIS, and learning how to import and manipulate data students of any background or in any major could produce high quality Story Map projects.

 

Resources: I include the Lesson Plan with Instructions for the assignment. I incorporated some of the introductory material from information found on the Stanford website (see above), but the majority of instructions are adapted from previous assignments in my earlier Honors Courses. My grading rubric is based on the text of the instructions, and language adopted from various online grading rubrics. A huge thanks to Dr. Kelly O’Neal and her staff at UMD Libraries
for their assistance and guidance – I definitely plan to do this again in my other classes.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: