GeoSpatial Students visit ESRI Federal Users Conference


Centreville High School's JMU GeoSpatial Semester Students at FEDU

Ten students from NOVA’s GeoSpatial Technology (GST) program attended the ESRI Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Federal User’s Conference held 22-24 February 2012 at the Washington, D.C. convention center.  NOVA students were joined by 9 Centreville High School seniors enrolled in James Madison’s GeoSpatial Semester program.  Students attended technical workshops on GIS applications and learned about the exciting developments in geospatial technology.  Students got to see first-hand the many applications of geospatial technology across the federal government.  Examples ranged from modeling the loss of sea ice in Polar Regions, to forecasts of crop yields, to homeland defense.  NOVA students also staffed the college’s booth on the trade-show flow, discussing NOVA’s GST program with more than 100 interested individuals.  The conference proved a great opportunity for students to practice networking skills, and get resumes out to potential employers.

From left to right: Gustavo Zastrow Ruiz, Mark Smith, Melanie Feliciano, Charlotte FritzCentreville High School JMU GeoSpatial Semester Students at FEDUC


CIA Meet and Greet

Letter to NOVA:

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in collaboration with Great Minds in STEM, an educational non-profit, invite your students to attend a two day networking and mentoring session.  This event is kicked off with a Meet and Greet networking seminar on Thursday, March 15, 2012, followed by a paid mentorship opportunity to work with younger students and guide them through science and math related hands-on activities on Friday, March 16, 2012.
Continue reading CIA Meet and Greet

Are We There Yet?

The universal question asked by child travelers, we can pose this same question of software as a service/web-mapping/cloud computing (take your pick of euphemisms).  The impetus to re-examine this question was ESRI’s Federal Users Conference (Feb 22-24, 2012) and ESRI’s continuation of its 2011 efforts to move (more) geospatial technology to the Internet.  With (and ArcGIS Explorer, perhaps) ESRI is promoting “Maps and Apps for Everyone; Easy online discovery, access, visualization, and dissemination of geospatial information.”  Is geospatial technology “there” yet?

Students of geospatial information can easily track the development of the field, chronicling its development paced by the realization of Moore’s Law leading to the availability of relatively cheap, extremely powerful computers.  The Internet is another factor in the explosion of geospatial information technologies.  A graphical user interface further democratized access to geospatial technologies.  GPS put geospatial technology into the hands of millions of consumers via automotive navigation systems (whether built in or aftermarket) (and reducing one source of marital conflict!).   If a single event were to be identified in awakening the geospatial consciousness of the “typical person,” I would point to the June 2005 unveiling of Google Earth (to which greatly expanded capabilities have since been added).  With a single mouse click (or now a tap on a tablet), Google Earth makes it possible for anyone to take advantage of the fusion of all the technologies (and many others) just elicited.  Community participation and geospatial for everyone, indeed!

Seven years on from the release of Google Earth, we still face the same questions as we did in June 2005.  Is geospatial an information technology anyone can use, requiring little more than an Internet connection?  Is spatial data free, available, and extensive in scale? In contemporary terms, is geospatial software as “intuitive” as Apple’s iOS on your iPhone?  (Yes, I know the iPhone was released in June 2007, but you get my point.)

So, what of this effort by ESRI?  Can a company, even a company with tremendous intellectual resources, key partnerships with government, industry and non-profits, and (I assume) significant fiscal resources, deliver on its (perhaps brash) vision of “Maps and Apps for Everyone?”  To pose the question in terms of the past, is ArcGIS Online the next Google Earth?

GEOINT Community Week June 4 – 8 2012

GEOINT Community Week
June 4-8
Registration Coming Soon!
Mark your calendars for the return of GEOINT Community Week. Taking place in the Northern Virginia area, this event brings together defense, intelligence and homeland security communities for a week of classified briefings, learning workshops, technology exhibits and networking opportunities.*888004o-32b497eb