Spring Workshops at the Skidmore Data Visualization and Mapping Center announced!

Spring Workshops at the Skidmore Data Visualization and Mapping Center announced!

  It’s that time of year! The birds are flying north, the grass is getting greener, and the our Spring workshops are in full bloom! All workshops are held in the GIS Center on the second floor of the library, room 227. If you see a workshop you like, please sign up here and let us know. If that workshop hasn’t been posted as an event yet, like the page and you will see the event announcement as the date gets closer. Mappy...
Which Story Mapping Platform is Right For You?

Which Story Mapping Platform is Right For You?

I’ve been working on comparing varying story mapping platforms over the past few weeks on my blog, with the end goal being to create a guide for folks who need a story map but aren’t sure which platform will work best. Four of the most popular story mapping platforms available–Esri Storymaps, StoryMap JS, Neatline, and Odyssey.js–can all give your narrative a geographical context, and each one has perks and features that can further elevate the story you want to tell. StoryMap JS If your project simply needs a generic map with a narrative, then StoryMap JS is hands down the easiest option. There is little in the way of customization (the only real choice is the base map), but the authoring tool is very easy to use. One possible complaint about StoryMap JS is that there is no way to change the color of pins that are used, but to be honest, the color palette that StoryMap JS comes with is really attractive. If you don’t need complex functionality, this will probably be the best looking option. It also scales well on small screens, so it can be embedded on sites that are intended to be used on mobile devices. Odyssey.js Odyssey.js is another option if your project is simple; like StoryMap JS, it doesn’t allow much in the way of customization. The difference is that Odyssey.js uses a markdown language, which can be a real turn off if you don’t like working with anything resembling code. However, you can add multiple points and images for a single portion of the narrative, so if HTML and CSS don’t seem...
Building a better trail map…

Building a better trail map…

  For a long time, the trail map for the old Skidmore College North Woods Trail Map has been not up to my personal cartographic standards. Originally developed by Bob Jones and Alex Chaucer a few years ago, multiple versions had been edited and what was the North Woods map had lost it’s original lustre and shine. But today, we have a new map that we all can be proud of. Working the North Woods Steward, Katie Cuthbert, we took on the challenge of updating the old map. Features we have added: consistent fonts, iconography for kiosks and parking, stakeholder logos, simplified layout, clean trail marker numbers for on trail location, and trail length estimates. We hope you find the map useful. Can you think of anything else you would like to see on the map? Feel free to add a comment or send a suggestions to achaucer AT skidmore.edu. I’ll also post a copy of the map on our GIS Center Facebook page if you want to comment there. Happy Trails!...

Summer Progress Update June 15, 2015

As of June 15, 2015, the summer is off to a good start in the GIS Center. We have completed the first module in the Data Science Toolkit from Johns Hopkins, and are set up for utilizing R and Github. There has been numerous GIS requests for summer research projects which are keeping the daily flow of traffic moving in the GIS Center. Additionally, we have begun some collaborations with the Sustainability Office and the MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute, supporting their mapping needs, as well as assisting with the Urban Forestry project website redesign. Physically in the GIS Center, we have a new full size wall map and a new flat file map cabinet in our printer room (Thank you to the great facilities folks, George Sperow and Michael Wicks, who assisted with the install). Alex Jackson, the Lab Assistant for Summer 2015, has completed 6 ESRI Virtual Training courses, including Python for Everybody and a rigorous course in spatial analysis, and earned certificates in expanding his geospatial knowledge. GIS Center Wall Map Installation Photos by Alex Chaucer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://academics.skidmore.edu/blogs/onlocation/files/2015/06/MapUp.jpg and https://academics.skidmore.edu/blogs/onlocation/files/2015/06/mapgoingup.jpg Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing achaucer AT...
Researching Data Analytics for GIS

Researching Data Analytics for GIS

This summer in the GIS Center we are expanding the center’s capacity as we research data analytics in the context of GIS and data science related programming languages. To this end, we are focusing on two emerging geospatial tools, ArcGIS Online and CartoDB for web based mapping applications, as well as adopting R, Python, and SQL for more in depth data analysis. In order to accomplish our goals, we currently have one main project that will be a collaboration with another summer student researcher that focuses on CartoDB and applying SQL queries for a local community project called the Sustainable Saratoga Urban Forestry Project. We will also be learning about database design through an online textbook and tutorials. Additionally, we will be utilizing online ESRI training to explore the Python capabilities in ArcGIS Desktop, while also utilizing CodeAcademy for Python training, and an online course through the University of Michigan called Programming for Everybody (Python). For R training, we are focusing on a series of courses through Johns Hopkins called the data science specialization, which introduces a data science toolkit, and quickly focuses on R for working with large datasets. We may also supplement with a course offered through codeschool as an introduction to R. By the end of the summer, our hopes are that we are able to have an understanding of more advanced GIS storytelling and visualization, while also having a broad understanding of industry-standard data science tools and how they apply to geospatial data sets for analysis. If you are interested in following along on our summer progress, please visit our Facebook page.   Image attribution:...

JOB POSTINGS – Now hiring people who want to change the world.

  Image Credit Nathan Stephans on Flickr.  CC BY-SA 2.0. Some Rights Reserved. Link to original. I’m not kidding. In the Data Visualization and Mapping Center (Library 227) we take that seriously. We know that to change the world, we need to make informed decisions. We know that to make good decisions, you need to communicate your data effectively. The best way to communicate your data effectively is to visualize it and present it in a compelling way to your audience. We have three openings currently posted for jobs relating to the Center. 1) Summer position: Summer Instructional Technology Assistant – GIS Hours: This SUMMER 8:30AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Friday Pay: $13/hour Contact: Apply online at the link above Description: The individual in this position will assist with hands on mapping and data visualization related activities, in the field as well as working with web-based mapping platforms, such as ArcGIS Online and CartoDB. They will also be involved with data collection (Fulcrum), backing up data, digitizing instructional materials, and assisting with GIS analysis. The ideal candidate may also have WordPress, Adobe design experience, and some applied web-based programming experience. The ability to communicate with people of varying levels of technical ability is a must. The candidate needs to be organized, reliable,and able to work independently. This position will assist as needed for drop in requests in the Academic Technologies Center or GIS Center. 2) Lab Assistant Hours: 5-10 hours a week for the academic semesters in the 2015/2016 school year Pay: $9.50/hour Contact: email achaucer@skidmore.edu to set up interview Description: The student assistant works to support students and faculty while...
Humanitarian Mapping Workshop this week!

Humanitarian Mapping Workshop this week!

Come learn how to do some remote mapping that makes a difference with Joh and Themba. Here’s the FB event for this student to student workshop and if you want to learn more on your own, check out our site gisforhumanity for some guidance on getting...

Highlight on Student-Faculty Research: Rebuilding a Political World with GIS

Note: Click on map above to view animation in its own window. History Professor Eric Morser and Skidmore student Niki Deininger (Class of ’15) have teamed up to make unique historical maps that recreate the political setting of a New Hampshire county in the 1830s. Some fascinating maps have been produced by this team using ArcMap and a GIF animation program. CartoDB and Geocommons were also evaluated for possible map data visualization opportunities. The maps will be used in Professor Morser’s book, The Fires of New England: A Tale of Power and Protest on an American Frontier. This book focuses on a single document signed by twenty men in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, in 1834. According to these men, lawyers had seized control of the state government, taken advantage of the state constitution, undermined democracy, and threatened to destroy the revolutionary dreams of America’s founders. In response, the twenty men proposed that universal education and a well-schooled population could thwart the deceitful efforts of the attorneys and judges and revitalize the state’s revolutionary heritage. Professor Morser attempts to locate this single document in its larger historical context and explain why these men produced it when they did. With the help of Niki and Alex Chaucer, the political world of the 1830s was rebuilt through maps containing Cheshire County election data. A map from 1833 was used along with gubernatorial voting data found in local newspapers. These maps visually show a large shift in the county’s politics; preference of the traditionalism of Federalist politicians dwindled as preference of the radical democratic principles of Andrew Jackson Republicans emerged. The resulting map...

Google Glass – Mapping and Educational Technology Applications

Google Glass came into existence in early 2012 and since it’s release to the public in 2014, a number of apps have been made specifically for Glass. In particular, there are several applications available for mapping and educational technology. For mapping technology, there are a number of options that can be overlaid onto the Google Glass screen. There’s Google’s built in maps functionality which allows the wearer to ask for the directions. Glass will then use the built in compass and GPS to provide on screen directions to the wearer. Additionally, there is AR Glass for Wikipedia. AR Glass uses GPS to determine your location and then retrieves online data about your surroundings from Wikipedia, and overlays them on the screen. Another app available is Glasquare, an unofficial Foursquare-like app that allows the wearer to check in and search for nearby locations. Additionally, there is the mapping technology app is Fieldtrip. Fieldtrip uses data from over 100 local publisher partners to display information and tips on history, architecture, and hidden gems. Visual data is captured and then searched for, with information about the area or structure displayed on screen. The last location based app available is PosterBoy. PosterBoy allows the wearer to share pictures anonymously with their location. When other users come into the area where the original wearer took the photo, the photo will be displayed on the other user’s timeline. These mapping technology applications have the potential to deliver location-based information in completely new ways. Not allow can these applications provide on-screen directions so the wearer can avoid staring at their smartphone, GPS unit, or paper map;...

Just a reminder to practice safe mapping

I just came across this and I thought it was brilliant, and a good reminder think about the impacts of your mapping. Found on @twitter from @newmapsplus while following the #NACIS2014 hashtag Posted by Alex...

This summer in the GIS Center

For the Skidmore College GIS Center, the end of the school year signifies an opportunity for examining a plethora of mapping technologies.  This summer, the GIS Center team will be focusing on the capabilities and applicability of a variety of digital and mobile mapping technologies.  Currently we plan to concentrate our focuses on the GIS Center quadcopter-the DJI Phantom 2, GPS technology, and several 3D analysis mapping software.  Overall, we hope to raise awareness about the fun and valuable technologies available in the GIS Center while considering their applicability to a variety of disciplines.  Below are brief descriptions of some of the technologies we will be experimenting with.   Digital 3D Mapping Software This GIS Center will be exploring two 3D analysis tools currently being used in the GIS world.  These software include Target for ArcGIS and Target.  Both of these software provide a medium for analysis of 3D data such as subsurface geological or structural mapping and could be of great use in the geosciences here at Skidmore.  The fundamental difference between the two is that Target for ArcGIS serves as an extension for Esri’s ArcMap, which is currently used in the GIS Center.  Importantly, these technologies are heavily used in the drilling and mining industries.  We hope to compare these Target and Target for ArcGIS to understand their differences, capabilities, and potential worth to the Skidmore GIS Center.  For more information on these technologies, visit the links below:   Target-http://www.geosoft.com/products/target Taget for ArcGIS-http://www.geosoft.com/products/arcgis-extensions/target-arcgis     GPS Tracking  This GIS Center recently acquired a wide variety of GPS units.  GIS Center employee and founder of the Skidmore Bike...

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