Posts Tagged ‘mapping’

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!

ATETV Episode 41: Passionate About Their Careers

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This week, we look at three technological careers that enable students to also draw on their artistic and creative sides — and fulfill some of their life’s passions.

In our first segment, we talk with Andrew Godek, an Architectural Technology student at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston. Currently studying Architectural Design Studio, a free-hand drawing class in which students design their own houses, Andrew is pleased to have had the opportunity to express his creativity. His advice for future students? “If someone is thinking of going into the Architectural Technology field, I recommend [being in] the city, where there are always great job opportunities.” His second piece of advice: “Definitely have the passion for drawing and be good in math. That’s all I can say.”

And while Andrew is looking forward to influencing the landscape of the city, our second segment introduces us to Chris Eckert, a student who is influencing the design of new products through the Rapid Prototype Technologies program at Saddleback Community College.

“I kind of grew up in hardware store so….the idea of taking things apart and putting them back together [is natural]” explains Chris. “I’m a real mechanical person and seeing a product come out of nothing is pretty amazing to me.”

Technicians skilled in rapid prototying are in tremendous demand in today’s manufacturing marketplace. This type of modeling enables companies to test functionality on a low-cost model before going into actual production — saving time and money. And for students like Chris, the field is also a chance to create his own inventions. “[Inventing] – that’s where my passion is,” he tells us.

Finally, in our third segment, we visit Central Piedmont Community College, where the Geospatial Technology Program is helping students move directly into the workforce as soon as they finish their degrees.

“Every one of our students [from the past two years] is employed in the Geospatial Technology field,” says Central Piedmont’s Chris Paynter. “They’re working for county government, city government and private engineering firms.” And they, too, are being creative, whether out in the field mapping and conducting GPS data collection, or working in an ofice on quality control and quality assurance.

Community college programs like these are helping students set out on the paths that are right for them. You might say they’re literal roadmaps to the future.

ATETV Episode 30: Looking at the Future from a New Angle

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

This week, we look at the ways that ATE programs are helping community college students to see themselves in new roles, and the way that one program is looking at the future from a 3-D perspective!

In our first segment, we talk with Julia Mitchell, a student at Central Piedmont Community College, who has used her interest in maps as a jumping-off point toward a new career.

“I had always worked in administrative office management, and I was looking for a change in jobs,” explains Julia.”Being able to work with maps is something I’d always found interesting.”

And through the Geographical Information Systems [GIS] program at Central Piedmont, Julia is transitioning from a one-dimensional office position to a three-dimensional career perspective. “I’ve taken a variety of other college classes but never completed a full degree program. Now, I’m doing 3-D work with mapping and it’s very interesting.” Julia is currently working as a trainee in the field, and can look ahead to other fields where 3-D mapping is used, including architecture, engineering, drafting and design.

All of these fields emphasize CAD. So, what, exactly, is CAD? In our second segment, we answer that question.

“CAD stands for Computer Aided Design,” explains Laura Lemire of the Community College of Baltimore County. And through CAD, technicians are able to create three-dimensional models to build the likeness of a product, enabling them to look at the model from all angles.

“With CAD, companies benefit from lower product development costs and a shortened design cycle,” adds Laura. CAD is just one example of a high-tech application that’s in demand and that is being taught at community colleges.

In our third segment, we visit with Mike Poitras, a student at Bristol Community College. Like Julia, Mike decided that it was time for a career change.

“I drove trucks,” says Mike. “I thought that’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life.” But then, at age 38, Mike decided that he was looking for more than a job — he wanted to pursue a career that he would truly enjoy.

So, he entered the Environmental Sciences program at Bristol Community College, where he discovered that studying Water Treatment Technology offered him a world of career opportunities. “Water is depleting all over the world and we just have more and more need for fresh drinking water,” says Mike. And although it had been 20 years since Mike studied math and chemistry, he found that with the tutoring and other support provided through Bristol, he was able to quickly get up to speed.

Fast forward four years, and today Mike is working at a desalination plant, an opportunity that emerged through Bristol’s internship program. And, as Mike told us, he was expecting to get his water treatment license within a couple of weeks of our meeting.

“My father always used to tell me that if you like what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Well [since switching careers], I haven’t worked a day yet.”

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!