Can Curiousity be a Pathway to GIS/ESRI

Blog Post created by BBSutton on Apr 23, 2017

When I first heard of GIS, it did not mean a lot to me. I was in an NGS Institute. I got what GIS was, but did not personalize it. They gave powerful ideas and examples . I listened. But I did not do much but to learn to understand the state of GIS at that moment.  Later while working in Super-Computing workshops for NCSI a GIS workshop was offered and I selected it. It was in San DIego and was to last a week. I have been a pioneer in trying to get broadening engagement in Supercomputing. I thought I knew a lot about GIS. GIS had changed and was full of new things to learn.


The people in the course were all high school teachers or professors. I had to think a little to get their attention with lessons. I created a pizza lesson. That is with locational geography and a map I wanted to locate the businesses that served pizza near the school and to run time trials using software to see how long it should probably take to get to our location. It was a mock lesson. I wanted to define the businesses that sold pizza , learn how long it would take to put in an order and then get delivery. I mapped the places and made the determinations. It was not a story map, it was an information map of places, with food, and a delivery method.


 While I was playing around with this model. We actually decided to order some pizza from several places and while I did this I found that ESRI was doing a conference in San Diego, CA.  At the time I don't think there was a connection between the work of NCSI  ( Dr Robert Panoff) and those promoting Supercomputing at the National Center for Supercomputing. We were learning visualizations and modeling. I was fascinated by the wall, and a project that was

virtual reality. It was called the Cave.

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is a hub of transdisciplinary research and digital scholarship where University of Illinois faculty, staff, and students, and collaborators from around the globe, unite to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. Current research focus areas are Bioinformatics and Health Sciences, Computing and Data Sciences, Culture and Society, Earth and Environment, Materials and Manufacturing, and Physics and Astronomy.



I don't remember much about our day at the ESRI conference, but that we visited the Map Gallery. Think of it, a K-12 teacher led some researchers and some professors to ESRI. We were fascinated. I remember from that ESRI a tile set of maps(some maps that were executed on tiles. I don't remember from what country, say Brazil or Portugal. We were mesmerized by the map gallery. I think we paid to visit for a day. Two of us decided to go back one more day. The class was then exciting. We had visited the conference and picked up new ideas and interest.




When we got back to the lab , we had new enthusiam for our work. We all completed special projects. But our attention and interest had been heightened by the visit to the ESRI Conference. San Diego is fun, but we had

a new introduction to all that could be maps.


It is interesting that we were so much more interested in our GIS work that we were walking late ( they have coyotes on the campus).  We were also waking up early. We thought if we finished our work early we might get to go back to the ESRI Conference.

That did not happen. I don't know what it would have been like if we had attended the first day.


I remember when some one told me about the first day of the conference. They seemed to indicate that the session was all day. I laughed. I could not think of anything that would glue me to a seat all day. Well . I was wrong. Working with the President of the US and attending many, many, many conferences i think I said , yeah sure.


It was later when I finally went to my first ESRI Conference. The first day is gold. The imagery , the stories, the ideas ... there is nothing like an ESRI Conference.Here is my album that with vignettes of the conference to give you a small sense of the magic.


So at the top of this blog you see a picture from the Negro League Exhibit at Havre De Grace in Maryland. I have primitive skills in ESRI, GIS, I did take Joseph Kerski's course so I was able to make a simplistic story map . I shared it. I am going to be on the board , of the project based on my story map and how I blended the story of Havre De Grace and the Negro Leagues and the canals. I am still working on it. I learned how to make a story with pictures and maps a draw toward an audience. The Negro League will be my draw. Our audience is baseball lovers of all kinds.



the 15 minute map: creating a basic map in arcmap ( I used that)

#local history

cultural geography

#synergistic learning

beginner gis programming