Google Gets Thousands Of Girls To Program The White House Christmas Tree Lights  by


The 92nd annual White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony is getting a tech twist this year. Over 300,000 people, mostly young girls, participated in Google’s Made with Code campaign to program the way the lights will dance on the 56 official White House Christmas trees during this evening’s lighting ceremony.

We don’t know what exactly 300,000 different lighting programs will look like until the actual event tonight. You can watch it live on the official White House YouTube channel at 5 pm EST.

Brittany Wenger, 20, is one of 10 chosen to go and participate in the ceremony tonight. Those in the program range in age from 4 to 20, but most are in their teens or tweens.

Wenger says each girls’ code has a very specific time, down to the “exact second.” She tried to describe how her code will look when it’s time to shine. “Mine kind of starts out blue and turns into a greenish thing and goes like a funnel,” she explained.

Wenger is a student at Duke University and an ambassador for Made with Code. Her skills were first recognized by Google after creating an app to detect breast cancer. She mentioned the White House Christmas tree lights could be programmed by anyone who has access to a computer, but that the program is geared towards and mostly made up of young women.

“Made with Code is more of an introductory learning platform to get girls interested in coding so it makes it super easy,” she said.

Wenger and the other chosen girls are at the White House waiting to see their programmed lights tonight. She seemed pretty excited to be in the same area as the president and his wife. She mentioned that she was also going to get to sit down with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson to discuss the Made with Code program and encourage young women to go into computer science.

When asked if the president’s teen daughters Natasha and Malia participated in the program, she said, “I’m not sure, but I hope they do after this. I want to see a lot more women coding in the future.”

Any girl who wants to program something for one of the trees is encouraged to participate through Made with Code. The White House trees will continue to add more programs from anyone who submits something throughout the holiday season.

GIS Job Opening (New York City)

Gro Intelligence is an agricultural supercomputing platform. We gather, aggregate and process data using proprietary algorithms and in-depth analysis to unlock crucial insights into weather patterns, trade flows, pricing dynamics and production. We provide our clients actionable agricultural data and analysis to drive higher productivity and greater access to capital.
Gro Intelligence is at an exciting time of hyper-growth with US headquarters in New York City and international headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Our global team is diverse, hardworking, ambitious—and growing!
We’re looking for an outstanding, collaborative, detail-oriented self-starter to join us as a Geospatial/GIS analyst. The candidate, who will work both independently and under the guidance of another Geospatial Analyst, must be comfortable working in a fast-paced and demanding environment. The candidate must also have the ability to communicate GIS concepts clearly to non-GIS users.
Interested candidates can send resumes to
We are hiring a Geospatial/GIS Analyst to join the Gro Intelligence US headquarters in New York City to:
• Research and test the accuracy and quality of new geospatial data sources for inclusion in an agricultural monitoring web platform and ad hoc geospatial analysis products;
• Produce high quality maps using various mapping tools;
• Conduct geospatial analysis (raster and vector) in support of agricultural monitoring;
• Create and update metadata;
• Translate analysis results to reports, slides and developer workflows;
• Follow and establish new workflows based on data, analysis, developer and end-user requirements;
• Become/remain active in the GIS community to stay up-to-day with the latest tools and technologies.

Educational Requirements:
• Masters Degree in Geography, GIS, Environmental/Natural Sciences or related field AND 1 year GIS experience OR
• Bachelor Degree in Geography, GIS, Environmental/Natural Sciences or related field AND 2 to 4 years GIS experience
Technical Skills and Experience
• ESRI ArcGIS Suite (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcToolbox), ArcInfo/Advanced Level License (10.0, 10.1, 10.2), Spatial Analyst Extension, Editor, ModelBuilder.
• Metadata creation, data management of geodatabases
• Basic cartography
• Familiarity with MODIS, Landsat, other satellite imagery products
• Experience pre-processing and classifying satellite imagery
• Knowledge of LULC data and classifications
• Experience with NDVI, weather, soils data
• Knowledge of FGDC/OGC standards
• Spatial Statistics
• USGS EarthExplorer
• GDAL knowledge a plus
• Python knowledge a plus
• Ability to research and develop datasets and identify use cases
• Comfortable working with large volumes of data

What is GEOINT? (Check out the Penn State MOOC!)  Visit the site to enroll

Note: Earn a Statement of Accomplishment upon course completion

Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution

Learn how the revolution in geospatial technology combined with the tradecraft of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) have changed how we develop insights about how humans use geography, and discover the power of GEOINT.

About the Course

Join us for the exciting journey to learn about GEOINT’s application in business, law enforcement, and defense. Advances in satellites, GPS, unmanned aerial systems, wireless communications, handheld computing, and the ability to automate laborious map analysis processes has transformed what used to be called geographic intelligence, or GEOINT, and the nature of the insights provided to managers and leaders. GEOINT is more than just analysts working with GIS in a secure intelligence facility. We have gone from mountains of hardcopy maps to amazing automated systems that provide previously unavailable understanding. GEOINT helps us daily with real-time apps to guide decision making. GEOINT combines geographic information science and technologies with an analytic tradecraft. In this course you will experience the value of GEOINT. You will learn how to design and execute a geospatial analysis project using GEOINT tools and tradecraft. The course is designed for the individual who wants to learn the basics of GEOINT and it is not designed for the geospatial intelligence professional. We’re eager to welcome you to the Revolution.

Course Syllabus

Week One: What is GEOINT?
Learn what GEOINT is and how it provides a powerful way of thinking about and finding solutions to complex humanitarian, military, economic, and cultural problems. We’ll discuss the role of secrecy and its challenges.

Week Two:  GEOINT Data.
Examine the types and nature of data used to create GEOINT, including textual information, imagery, and geospatial data. Discuss how location-based data is changing conceptions of privacy.

Week Three: GEOINT Data Sources.
Understand how GEOINT data is collected by a variety of methods including satellites, drones, crowdsourcing, and through social media.

Week Four: The GEOINT Tradecraft.
Apply the art and science of extracting meaning from GEOINT data to uncover and investigate relationships and patterns.

Week Five: Applying GEOINT Principles.
Use GEOINT principles to evaluate and transform raw data into descriptions, explanations, or judgments about a place.

Credential Creep in the GIS Field

Go to the original article by hitting the link above.  Some of the comments at the bottom are rather interesting!

Credential Creep in the GIS Field—For Good or for Ill?

A new generation of credentials herald better times ahead for adult education and workforce development.

Have you noticed the proliferation of GIS credentials?

Hundreds of GIS certificate programs, dozens of specialized master’s degrees, and even a few bachelor’s degree programs have sprung up at colleges and universities at an accelerating rate since the 1990s. The absence of standards and accountability for academic certification contributed in part to the rise of GIS professional certification programs. These credentials are conferred by a few professional societies rather than many individual academic institutions.

ASPRS launched its Certified Mapping Scientist program in 1988. This was followed by the launch of the GISP program by the GIS Certification Institute in 2004. Now a third professional certification for GIS analysts is in the works from the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. On top of all this, Esri launched its Technical Certification program in 2010.

What’s driving all of these credentialing schemes?

Who wants these credentials, and why?

Credential Creep

Certainly the maturation of GIS technology and the professionalization of the GIS workforce accounts for part of the interest in affirming academic achievement and professional and technical competence. However, the phenomenon is also consistent with a broader trend variously called up-credentialing, credential inflation, or—most colorfully—credential creep.

The trend is evident in the number of academic degrees awarded per capita in the US, which has increased at a much higher rate than population growth since the 1980s. One commentator has proclaimed that master’s degrees are the new bachelor’s degree. Similar trends are evident elsewhere in the developed and developing worlds, to varying extents. Furthermore, a recent study by Burning Glass Technologies demonstrates that many occupations that didn’t require bachelor’s degrees in the past—such as Surveying and Mapping Technician, for instance—now often do require such degrees. The reason, analysts suggest, is that employers use credentials to pre-screen applicants and streamline the hiring process.

The proliferation of academic, professional, and technical credentials in the GIS field implies that many employers as well as job seekers value credentials. However, the trend raises a concern about whether credentialing programs are converging toward the worthy goal of fostering competence and strengthening the GIS profession, or whether they are diverging toward a jumble of meaningless but costly tokens.

Two educational innovations are encouraging.

One is the creation of a free market for credentialing through “micro-credentials” like badges. You know about badges if you were a Boy or Girl Scout who earned merit badges to demonstrate personal advancement. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla has developed an Open Badges framework, which enables any organization to confer digital badges and individuals to display badges via “digital backpacks” linked to social media. Earlier this year, Elmhurst College awarded badges to students who completed its massive open online course (MOOC) “Skills for the Digital Earth.” Esri plans to begin awarding badges to learners who complete its various training offerings as part of its forthcoming “Esri U” interface. We believe that badges and other micro-credentials have the potential to enrich education and training by providing finer-grained evidence of accomplishment that advances the positive trend toward volunteered geographic education.

A second innovation is the emergence of competency-based credentialing, which represents the legitimization of experience as valid mode of learning. In the US, Western Governors University was perhaps the first public higher education institution founded on a commitment to award credentials based on demonstrated achievement, rather than on “seat-time” in classrooms. Precedents for the competency-based approach abound, including the tutorial system at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. However, the establishment of an entire institution predicated on the notion that adult learners should receive credit for what they know, regardless of how they learned it, was a watershed event.

More recently, the University of Wisconsin became the first major US university system to embrace competency-based learning with its “flexible option” program. A flexible option master’s degree in geodesign that is currently in the planning stage at UW Stevens Point could become the first competency-based academic program directly related to GIS. We believe that even more innovative academic programs in GIS will adopt competency-based credentialing in the coming years.


Credential creep is happening in the GIS field. Labor market analysts warn that the phenomenon may worsen the runaway costs of higher education, and cut off career opportunities for those who can’t afford advanced training. However, a new generation of credentials that recognize experience and competence rather than seat-time herald better times ahead for adult education and workforce development.

Continue reading Credential Creep in the GIS Field

The last unmapped places on Earth

Rachel Nuwer in  28 Nov 2014

In 1504, an anonymous mapmaker – most likely an Italian – carved a meticulous depiction of the known world into two halves of conjoined ostrich eggs. The grapefruit-sized globe included recent breaking discoveries of mysterious distant lands, including Japan, Brazil and the Arabic peninsula. But blanks remained. In a patch of ocean near Southeast Asia, that long-forgotten mapmaker carefully etched the Latin phrase Hic Sunt Dracones – “Here are the dragons.”

Today it is safe to say there are no unknown territories with dragons. However, it’s not quite true to say that every corner of the planet is charted. We may seem to have a map for everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they are complete, accurate or even trustworthy.

For starters, all maps are biased toward their creator’s subjective view of the world. As Lewis Carroll famously pointed out, a perfectly objective and faithful 1:1 representation of the world would literally have to be the same size as the place it depicted. Therefore, mapmakers must make sensible design decisions in order to compress the physical world into a much smaller, flatter depiction. Those decisions inevitably introduce personal biases, however, such as our tendency to place ourselves at the centre of the world. “We always want to put ourselves on the map,” says Jerry Brotton, a professor of renaissance studies at Queen Mary University London, and author of A History of the World in 12 Maps. “Maps address an existential question as much as one that’s about orientation and coordinates.

“We want to find ourselves on the map, but at the same time, we are also outside of the map, rising above the world and looking down as if we were god,” he continues. “It’s a transcendental experience.”  Click here to continue reading.