Posts Tagged ‘GeoTech Center’

Location, Location, Location

Friday, June 17th, 2011

GPS MapIn the world of real estate, the mantra is “location, location, location.” You might say the same of Geospatial Technology.

Almost every aspect of our daily lives has some kind of location component. As Phillip Davis, director of the National Geospatial Technology Center recently noted in an article in U.S. News & World Report, everything from navigating an unfamiliar neighborhood to locating the world’s most wanted terrorist involves Geospatial Technology.

“They couldn’t have found Osama bin Laden without it,” Davis told U.S. News & World Report, referring to the recent U.S. Navy SEALs raid on bin Laden’s compound hideout in Pakistan. “The world is so interconnected today, and everything is based on spatial relationships. It is one of our nation’s essential core tools.”

The article goes on to note that Geospatial Technology specifically refers to equipment used in visualization, measurement, and analysis of the earth’s features, typically involving such systems as GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing). It is widely used in military applications and homeland security, but is also pervasive in the fields of land use, flood plain mapping and environmental protection.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Geospatial Technology is a high-growth industry in both the public and private sectors (including the telecommunications, utilities and transportation industries as well as federal, state and local governments). There are approximately 600,000 U.S. workers in Geospatial Technology today, a number that is expected to reach more than 850,000 by 2018, according to Davis, a professor of computer science at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the National Geospatial Technology Center is based.

And, as he told U.S. News & World Report, the career possibilities are wide-ranging. “You have people who work in surveying, who map out where a shopping center or street is going to be, and those involved in your local property appraisals. [Geospatial Technology] is also used in law enforcement to locate crimes and for fire response and in disaster management – before, during and after. It is used to locate water resources, or in public health to track the spread of disease. It’s used by the guys who drive around for Google Earth. It’s very high impact.”

You can find more information about Geo Tech careers and educational opportunities at the GeoTech website.

Put Your Geospatial Know-How to the Test

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Are you a Geotech student who is up for a challenge? Want to help boost your resume? And how would you like an all-expenses paid trip to a leading GIS conference this summer?

Intrigued? Well, the first annual National Geospatial Technology Skills Competition could be for you.

The new competition was launched just last month. It’s open exclusively to students over 18 years who are enrolled at two-year community and technical colleges where courses, or degree programs are offered in geospatial technology. There’s no fee to enter and it’s a chance to show off your geospatial skills a to a national audience.

Here’s how it works: The competition is made up of three parts. The first round is a multiple-choice exam to test overall geospatial knowledge. It’s available on the GeoTech website until April 15, 2011.

Participants who score 70 percent or better on the exam advance to the second round. And then the real fun begins.

In this portion of the competition, you really get to show off by creating a software-based project and submitting a short video about the project to YouTube.

Participants choose from one of the following project topics: strategies for environmental sustainability; campus mapping; community demographics; energy; animal habitat; natural disasters; and urban forests.

Entries are submitted by May 1st and a panel of judges selected from the geospatial industry will judge the entries. Six semi-finalists will be selected to move on to the final round – which will be held at the ESRI Education User’s Conference in San Diego, in July. So, if you make it to the Third Round, you not only compete, you get to attend the conference, which is also attended by 14,000 GIS professionals – a great career opportunity.

The six finalists will present their work. First, second and third place winners for the overall national conference will be chosen by the audience.

Check out the GeoTech Center website to register or to learn more about the rules of the competition. Besides being a fun way to hone your skills, the competition could be a great addition to your resume and good preparation for GIS professional certification exams.

Go for it!

GeoTech Center GIS Lesson Plans

Monday, December 7th, 2009

As this week’s episode indicates, GIS — geographic information sciences — is a hot topic right now. But what is all the fuss about — and, more importantly for educators, how do you teach GIS to students?

To answer those questions, we turned to the The National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence; an NSF-funded consortium of academics, government and industry dedicated to growing GIS education. GIS is booming because it has applications across many industries, from green energy and forestry to urban planning and even homeland security. “Any field that needs to know something about what is where, why is it there and how it has changed over time can benefit from using geospatial technology,” explains Ann Johnson, Higher Education Manager for ESRI, a GIS software company and a GeoTech Center partner.

Ann’s company hosts a GIS Education Community online that lets educators share their GIS lesson plans. On the site you’ll find everything you need to prepare a lesson on the real-world applications of GIS technology. Here are three examples of what’s available:

Landslides in Washington – 3D Investigations: Students use GIS software to explore the cause of a massive October 2009 landslide in Washington State.
Scariest Road in the World? Death Road, Bolivia: GIS shows why the notorious “El Camino del Muerte” between La Paz and Coroico, Bolivia is worthy of its name.
Water Use Analysis with GIS: Students learn valuable skills by analyzing actual data from the U.S. Census and other sources.

    You can also visit ESRI’s YouTube channel to see these lesson plans in action. Hopefully these materials will inspire educators reading this to consider adding GIS to their curricula. Thanks again to ESRI’s Ann Johnson and to GeoTech Center Director Phillip Johnson for their help with this post!