Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Student Blogs

2013 has been a great year for student blogs. Check below for a link to all the student blogs for this year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Internship Spotlight

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP

GIS Internships - Let's get to work!


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.  

Anthony Coughlin

About Anthony: Anthony is originally from New England and relocated to the Pensacola area about seven years ago. He loves GIS and has been working with it for over six years.  Anthony really enjoys working with computers and being outside. Because of that, GIS gives him the best of both worlds! When asked if he were to describe himself as a raster or a vector, he that that he feels as though he would be more of a vector guy. He enjoy collecting field data (point, line, polygon), manipulating and editing and ultimately applying that data to aerials and other maps. Anthony's internship is with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. There he splits his him between collecting field data for past and future projects, post processing and analysis f collected data, organizing the current GIS folder filing structure, and creating maps using collected and processed data. Congratulations on the Spotlight, Anthony!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Remote Sensing Student Spotlights

GIS4035 Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing, Mr. Brian Fulfrost

Module 8 Lab: Thermal & Multispectral Analysis 

For this laboratory exercise, students learned to combine layers of satellite data into single images using both ERDAS Imagine and ArcMap. They then examined the image, especially the thermal infrared band, and interpreted various features in it.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Interpret radiant energy using the Stefan Boltzmann constant
  • Create composite multispectral images in both ERDAS and ArcMap
  • Adjust image symbology and band combinations in ArcMap
  • Interpret thermal infrared data


The following students were chosen for their exception work on the Module 8 Lab: Thermal & Multispectral Analysis assignment:

What we like: Both Dave and Steven's maps demonstrate a high level of comprehension of thermal imagery. Their maps  highlight features that have different thermal intensities as well as "hot spots" of thermal activity that might be of very different land cover types. Both Dave and Steve's map are very visually compelling and demonstrate the possibilities of using thermal remote sensing in a range of land over analyses. Both maps also contain  an additional multi-band image and labels  (in both cases using the "visual" spectrum) that help to demonstrate how different land cover features might actually have similar thermal energy signatures. In addition, the map descriptions attached to both maps, provide clearly written background material to assist the reader with understanding the image processing and data utilized to produce the final map output

Dave Hunt

About Dave: Dave lives in Seattle and runs a small software services company.  He has been studying archaeology for the last few years, along with Maritime Studies. Dave is considering entering the graduate program at the University of Washington next year.  His main focus in learning GIS is to enhance his skill set for archaeology.

Steve Kieffer

About Steve: Steven is an undergrad in the anthropology/archaeology department with a minor in geography and of course, pursuing the undergrad GIS Cert Program. He is still new to archaeology, but is a forensic digger at heart. After a few years on the corporate ladder making big paychecks without enough time to spend it and see his family, Steven would prefer digging, cataloging, mapping, and being happy with much less. Welcome to the spotlight again, Steve!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Special Topics in GIS Student Sotlight

GIS4930 Special Topics in GIS, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Project 4 Forestry Analysis

This week students calculated summary area statistics and frequency distributions, reclassified using locational attributes, calculated a viewshed , and utilized the raster calculator to determine clearcut visibility. Deliverables included a frequency distribution of boundary lengths shared by clearcuts and main roads, a tally count and map of clearcut visibility , a basemap of the study area, with an appropriate legend and all other essential map elements , a completed written summary (summary and article search) , a completed Process Summary and a blog post including a basemap along with project description.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Calculate summary area statistics and frequency distributions 
  • Reclassifying using locational attributes 
  • Calculating a viewshed 
  • Utilizing the raster calculator to determine clearcut visibility


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Network Analyst Report Week assignment:

Scott Crosby

About Scott: Scott has over 20 years of experience in traditional silviculture. He gained his BS degree in Forestry from the University of Florida in 1988 and has been working in the industry ever since. Scott in a Florida Certified Prescribed Burner and has held numerous leadership positions within the Florida Society of American Foresters. Project 4 is a great one and its no wonder that Scott earned the spotlight this week. Congratulations Scott!

What we like: Scott followed all of the deliverable directions to the T. His basemap was simple yet contained all of the data one would need to fully asses the study area at a glance, including an inset map for geographic reference, a detailed title, and a layer displaying the various cover types in the area. His visibility map also displayed excellence in that he included and easy to interpret chart and text explaining his results. Way to go, Scott!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and keep an eye out for our next spotlight!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Special Topics in Archaeology Student Spotlight

GIS4990/5990 Special Topics in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Biscayne Shipwrecks - Analyze Week

In the previous week, students added and compiled the essential ingredients that they would need to create a study of the Biscayne National Park Maritime Heritage Trail shipwrecks. This la focused on investigating the environment in which the shipwrecks lie. This can be done using available environmental data to compile and run processes to generate weighted overlays that indicate areas with attributes similar to those where the shipwrecks are located. This can be a valuable guide and/or tool for conducting marine surveys, as it can indicate areas where potential for shipwrecks is higher. There are many factors that cab be visualized in GIS with relation to shipwrecks such as oceanographic data on tides and currents and marine energy, as well as water chemistry, temperature, and prevailing winds and weather patterns. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Convert vector data to raster
  • Quantify raster information
  • Classify bathymetric data
  • Generate a weighted overlay
  • Familiarize yourself with shipwreck location modeling in the archaeological literature


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Biscayne Shipwrecks - Analyze Week assignment:

Steven Kieffer

About Steven: Steven is an undergrad in the anthropology/archaeology department with a minor in geography and of course, pursuing the undergrad GIS Cert Program. He is still new to archaeology, but is a forensic digger at heart. After a few years on the corporate ladder making big paychecks without enough time to spend it and see his family, Steven would prefer digging, cataloging, mapping, and being happy with much less. Welcome back to the spotlight, Steven!

What we like: Besides being technically sound and accomplishing everything the assignment asked for, what helped Steve stand out was simply good presentation. So many students do the technical side well, but rush through aspects of map layout and specific. Steve used his data frames to effectively "chunk up" his presentation and no one map is particularly overwhelmed with text or detail. By applying a wide or shaded background to particular map elements, he ensured that these stand out and communicate to the reader.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remote Sensing Student Spotlight

GIS4035 Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing, Mr. Brian Fulfrost

Unsupervised Image Classification

In this week’s lab, students learned to perform unsupervised classification using both ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine. Along with running the classification process, students were asked to determine what feature the new image classes represent (reclassification) and then simplify many classes into a few types of features (recoding). The map submitted was a reclassified and recoded image of the UWF property including text identifying impermeable and permeable surfaces as percentages.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Perform an unsupervised classification in both ArcMap and ERDAS 
  • Accurately classify images of different spatial and spectral resolutions 
  • Manually reclassify and recode images to simplify the data 


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Unsupervised Image Classification assignment:

Justin Coryell

About Justin: Justin is originally from Arizona, but currently lives in Mississippi with his wonderful family. He is an Aerographer's Mate Chief in the Navy and has been in for 15 years. An Aerographer's Mate is a name applied for Weatherman, Chief is the rank. Besides Mississippi, Justin's duty stations have been all over the world; Yokosuka, Japan, Naples, Italy, and San Diego, California, along with deployments to South Carolina, Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. He received his bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University in Broadcast/Operational Meteorology in 2007 and wanted to do more with GIS. So, Justin joined the UWF GIS program in January 2013, and has since loved every minute of it. Welcome to the spotlight, Justin!

What we like: In this week’s lab, Justin’s reclassification and recoding was exceptional.The combination of both Justin's (a) description of the process and technique of unsupervised classification, and his (b) map, which was well designed and clear,  demonstrated his high level of comprehension of the week's material on automated image classification methods. Justin also provided a brief critique of unsupervised classifications  including (1) the limitations of unsupervised classification of spectral values to distinguish every pixel as pervious or impervious cover classes, and (2) issues with the pixel values of the imagery (e,.g. shadows). Although the vast majority of students did very well on this week's lab, Justin's map and description provide the best overall blog posting.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Internship Student Spotlight

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP

GIS Internships - Let's get to work!


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.  

Ritza Anitsakis 

About Ritza: Ritza (which rhymes with pizza) graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Spatial Science in May 2011. She now works as a GIS Analyst for Surveying and Mapping, Inc. (SAM, Inc.) Ritza spends most of her time researching and interpreting source records and documents along with producing special graphic layouts that combine various data from sources to produce complex plots using GIS software. In addition to this, her works also requires her to plan and sequence processing steps for database creation, application, display, and document production along with preforming a variety of analytical studies related to the development and implementation of the GIS system. She finds GIS interesting because there is no limit in what it can be used for. She learns about new ways that GIS can be applied everyday and those discoveries keep the profession exciting! When asked if she would describe herself as a vector or a raster, Ritza says that she would say vector because she's a small yet intricate person and she tries to appear smooth no matter how big or small a situation she is in. Welcome to the spotlight, Ritza!

Tune in next week for a spotlight on a lucky Remote Sensing student!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Special Topics in GIS Student Spotlight

GIS4930 Special Topics in GIS, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Network Analyst Report Week

This week we produced a range of final deliverables all centered around emergency preparedness in the event of a hurricane in Tampa, FL. The scenario deliverables are as follows:
Scenario 1 - Evacuation of patients from Tampa General Hospital on Davis Islands. Information to be printed on pamphlets to be distributed to patients and their families.
Scenario 2 - Distribution of emergency supplies by U.S. Army National Guard to three storm shelters. Crude maps to be issued to delivery crew & emergency workers
Scenario 3 - (Graduate Students Only)- Creation of multiple evacuation routes for downtown Tampa. Informational map for distribution by television and newspaper (designed in Adobe Illustrator)
Scenario 4- Presentation of shelter locations to public. Informational map for distribution by television and newspaper (designed in Adobe Illustrator)
Finally, two maps of our choice (Scenario 1-4) posted to our personal course blog  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Design pamphlet for general public audience for patient evacuation routes/information 
  • Design delivery route maps for supply delivery 
  • Design informational maps for television/newspaper audience for evacuation routes 


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Network Analyst Report Week assignment:

Michael Collins

About Michael: Mike graduated in 2010  from Southern Illinois University, with a B.S. in Geography. He just spent the last two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA, serving in Wyoming and Illinois.  What interests him the most about GIS is the variety of industries that it can be used in, and the limitless possibilities that come with it. He describes himself as a raster because he am a complex person, and it takes a lot of pixels to make him! Welcome to the spotlight, Michael!

What we like: Michael's final products were just what we were looking or this week! He followed the content and design requirements well and made the extra push to go above and beyond. His news media map is an excellent example of a map that one would typically see during such a weather event. Keep up the good work, Michael!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

GIS Internship Student Spotlight

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP

GIS Internships - Let's get to work!


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.  

Jody Steffel

About Jody: Jody works for the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative. She work with the GIS needs of the cooperative and is taking the GIS Certification course of help fill in the blanks for those areas that she is unfamiliar with. She enjoys the challenge of finding ways to use GIS at work and to "think outside the box" to build projects that others in Agriculture have not done. Jody would consider myself a vector as she is coordinating and connecting points to keep things rolling in the Agricultural Department with working alongside with 13 men and 525 shareholders. As part of her job, Jody creates continuous surface maps from yeild data, soil test information and growing season precipitation using Geostatisitical Analyst for the shareholder database book. She also uses Landsat and Deimos imagery to estimate crop yield and utilizes Rapid Eye imagety for estimating final Tons/Acre during harvest. This is only a small bit of what Jody does, there is still so much more! Who would have thought beets would provide such a great use of GIS? Congratulations, Jody, for making the spotlight!

Just for fun, some facts about beets:

  • Beets are a "good mood food". Beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. It also contains trytophan which is also found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well being.
  • You can use beet juice to measure acidity. When added to an acidic solution it turns pink, but when it is added to an alkali it turns yellow.
  • In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beet soup) in zero gravity.

Special Topics in Archaeology: Student Spotlight

GIS4990/5990 Special Topics in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Scythian Burial Mounds: Modeling Ritual Landscapes of the Eurasian Steppes

One of the most useful skill sets for archaeologists to have is to know how to combine information about a past culture and location in order to model the spatial relationship between archaeological sites and their surrounding landscape. In order to be able to effectively utilize these tools, it is important for the archaeologist to know how to apply them to a variety of situations and subjects of archaeological study. These processes should be well-ingrained for seamless and efficient use under tight time and budget constraints. In addition, it is important for the archaeologist to fully understand how to utilize these tools and their many possibilities. In this module, students revisited data compilation and modeling in order to explain the relationship between Scythian burial mounds and their landscape. It is important to recognize that archaeological sites may have ritual significance (or other hidden relationships) to their surroundings, and that modeling landscapes can have other applications than simplify identifying areas of likely habitation based on resources and topography.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify and collect data necessary for modeling spatial relationships of archaeological sites 
  • Identify possible symbolic and/or ritual applications of modeling tools to archaeological sites 
  • Reference and implement predictive modeling tools 
  • Gain familiarity with international sources of elevation and remote sensing data for use in GIS modeling. 


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Modeling Scythian Landscapes assignment:

Steven Kieffer

About Steven: Steven is an undergrad in the anthropology/archaeology department with a minor in geography and of course, pursuing the undergrad GIS Cert Program. He is still new to archaeology, but is a forensic digger at heart. After a few years on the corporate ladder making big paychecks without enough time to spend it and see his family, Steven would prefer digging, cataloging, mapping, and being happy with much less. Welcome to the spotlight, Steven!

What we like: This week was a relatively simple module, but Steve exceled by classifying a DEM by elevation so we can eventually analyze the relationship between archaeological remains and topographic features. He has a nice map presentation. Besides splitting the different images around the map and taking advantage of his space, he was one of the few to actually label elevation (in this case in meters) in the legend. Great work Steven!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Remote Sensing Student Spotlight

GIS4035 Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing, Mr. Brian Fulfrost

Intro to Erdas Imagine & Digital Data 1

In this week’s lab, students learned some calculations of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Students also learned some basic tools of ERDAS Imagine 2011, including how to use and navigate around the Viewer with two different types of satellite images (AVHRR and Landsat TM). The map created in this week’s lab assignment was a subset of an image that was preprocessed in ERDAS Imagine.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Calculate wavelength, frequency, and energy of EMR 
  • Locate about and use basic tools in ERDAS Imagine 
  • Learn about and use the Viewer to view data in ERDAS Imagine 
  • Subset data in ERDAS Imagine as a preprocessing step for making a map (in ArcGIS)


The following students were chosen for their exception work on the Intro to ERDAS Imagine and Digital Data 1 assignment:

Nick Toscano 

About Nick: Nick lives in Virginia and is excited to be a part of this program. He feels that all information is connects and that GIS will help him better understand and make decisions about this information. Nick is a big advocate of Virginia's wine country, and seeks to educate other about this region through various GIS applications. Welcome to the Spotlight, Nick!

What we like: Best overall attempt at displaying classification(s), acreage, and other layers (topo, photo, inset map). Nick thought "out of the box" by creating a map that provides not only context but also provides the viewer the ability to evaluate the classification results using aerial photography and topography. Although the maps are not perfect, his BLOG posting this week demonstrates the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the course.

Jessica Williams 

About Jessica: Jessica started working in GIS in 2008. She decided to go after her certification in hope of becoming a GIS specialist. Jessica loves to play softball, but she is actually taking the year off to pursue her GIS Certification. She recently started running 5K races with a group of co-workers. They call themselves Team Nerdy Birds, because they are all a little nerdy and birds are pretty. Her family takes up all of her other free time. Welcome to the Spotlight!

What we like: Jessica did a good job in presenting her map. The layout is neatly deigned, and her subset is of a good size: zoomed far enough in where the image does not become too pixelated and unidentifiable and is a unique area on the map. Laurie also did a good job including a good reference inset map that gives context to this areas location.

Monday, October 7, 2013

GIS Internship Student Spotlight

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP

GIS Internships - Let's get to work!


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.  

Dennis Davis

About Dennis: Do you know what time it is?  Internship Spotlight time - that's right!  This week Online GIS has chosen Dennis Davis.  Dennis is a student here at the University of West Florida and working towards a career in environmental law.  Dennis chose to learn more about GIS in his quest to be the best!

Dennis secured an internship at the West Florida Regional Planning Council under the direction of Mrs. Jessica Paul, GISP (an Online GIS alumni).  During his time at the WFRPC, Dennis will be working on 2010 Census growth maps, transportation project update maps, congestion management plans, GIS Day planning as well as some pretty detailed spatial analysis and database record maintenance.  It sounds like Dennis is going to be one busy guy this semester.

Welcome to the spotlight Dennis - we hope you enjoy your visit!

If you would like to learn more about the WFPRC, check out their website - http://www.wfrpc.org/.  Also, Online GIS would to congratulate Jessica for winning best story map award at the 2013 Southeast User Conference in Jacksonville.  Check out her work here - http://wfrpc.org/gis/CI_StoryMap/Index.html

Stay tuned! Next week the spotlight will fall on a student from Remote Sensing!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Special Topics in GIS Student Spotlights

GIS4930 Special Topics in GIS, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Statistical Analysis Prepare Week

In Statistical Analyst Prepare week we prepared census data for geostatistical analysis, created and calculated attribute fields with Python scripts, applied the Spatial Join function to join shapefiles, wrote the introduction and background sections of the written report (following specific guidelines), and created a basemap of the study area. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Prepare US census data and other relevant data for geostatistical analysis in ArcGIS. 
  • Automate creation of new fields and calculations within attribute fields using Python scripts.
  • Self-assess comprehension of key concepts with regards to spatial analysis techniques presented and methods utilized in this module.

The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Statistical Analysis Prepare Week assignment:

James Tennyson 

About James:  James is originally from Mississippi and has also lived in Pensacola very near the UWF campus. Currently, he has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2000 and doesn't want to be anywhere else. He took his first GIS class in 2004 as part of a training course, and has been hooked on GIS ever since. James has used GIS in his past three jobs. The past five years were spent working on a research project as a fish biologist and GIS analyst for Oregon State Univ. in Corvallis, OR. Before that as a Water Resources Environmental Specialist for the Washington Dept. of Ecology, both in Spokane and Yakima, WA, in two very different capacities. In his spare time (when he can get some), he loves to mountain bike and road bike, any biking! Being in the Pacific Northwest affords so many outdoor activities but his favorite is poking around the woods in the Fall when the Chanterelles start fruiting.

What we like: James did an excellent job with his map. He included an inset map for geographic reference, he identified Charleston (the city referenced in his title), and he implemented other basemap layer such as roads and counties to give his map more meaning. We would also like to commend him on his color and symbology choices a swell as his overall organization. He also did a great job of finding outside documents to support his paper. Way to go, James!

Statistical Analysis Analyze Week

This week we reviewed regression analysis basics, ordinary least squares and geographic weighted regression. We also defined dependent and independent variables for regression analysis, ran the ordinary least squares model, and completed the 6 checks for OLS results to determine which variables were significant and non-significant. Deliverables this week included a map showing StdResidual results from the final OLS model and the Methods section the final report including the OLS Results table and the map.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Apply regression analysis basics, ordinary least squares and geographic weighted regression analyses to locational data in ArcGIS. 
  • Define dependent and independent socio-economic variables (derived from US Census and research) for use in regression analysis.
  • Run an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model in ArcGIS as basis of analysis.
  • Complete 6 checks as provided by ESRI Help for OLS results to determine which variables are significant or non-significant.
  • Self-assess comprehension of key concepts with regards to spatial analysis techniques presented and methods utilized in this module.

The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Statistical Analysis Analyze Week assignment:

Kala Knapp 

Kala Knapp
About Kala: Kala is an Environmental Ecologist living in Deerfield Beach, FL. She studied Ecology and Geology as an undergraduate at Florida Atlantic University. She initially started this program with the hopes of more job opportunities and has since gotten her current job as an Arborist with FPL on the Vegetation Management team and she utilizes GIS daily. Kala has found a passion for GIS and the many applications. She still between graduate degrees but GIS is in the top 3 choices!

What we like: Kala provided a clear understanding and description of the project. She detailed her process and also provided detailed explanations regarding her OLS table and map. We also liked that her map includes an inset map and basemap layers such as counties for geographic reference as well as her color choice and organization. This was a very tough project for everyone but her presentation simplified its complexity. Great job, Kala!

Check back next week for next week's spotlight on an Internship student!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Special Topics in Archaeology: Student Spotlight

GIS4990/5990 Special Topics in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Finding Maya Pyramids: Report and Publication

This week, students completed their study of the classified Maya Pyramids Landsat imagery. So far, they have learned the significance of the different bands in Landsat imagery, as well as their applications to archaeological data, and they have learned how to generate composite band images and create a training sample for supervised classification. Now that they have a classified image that indicates where additional archaeological resources may be located, students will transform that information into a tool that can be accessed by either our colleagues, a client, or the general public. The final portion of each of the modules will deal with presenting information in a format that is accessible to a wider public, as this is a key component of GIS archaeological studies. We may be the best GIS technicians in the world, but that does us little good if we can’t get our information to a wider audience! 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Edit a raster image to display select information
  • Export raster data to .kml or .kmz formats
  • View and share this data in Google Earth
  • Compare our Maya perspective to Southeast Asia (undergrads)
  • Begin a comparative analysis in Southeast Asia (grads)


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Finding Maya Pyramids: Report and Publication assignment:

Andrea McCarthy

About Andrea: Andrea is an archaeologist living in Baton Rouge, LA.  She went to LSU for her undergrad in Anthropology and got her Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of New Orleans.  She currently uses GIS in the field and in the office.  Andrea is about to start a new job in Historic Preservation, which is her passion, and will be the GIS specialist for the State of Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation.  

Congratulations on being this week's student spotlight!

What we like: One of the things we particularly liked about Andrea's project was her ability to use the skills practiced for the classification of satellite imagery in Guatemala and translate them to Cambodia. Both Cambodia and Guatemala have roughly similar environments and the archaeological sites in each both contain stone architecture. Andrea was able to critically assess the utility of different classification types in each area and, in Cambodia, come to a rough estimate of the spatial distribution of stone architecture and canal features

Tune in next week on the same bat channel to see our spotlight on Special Topics in GIS!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Remote Sensing: Student Spotlight

GIS4035 Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing, Mr. Brian Fulfrost

Visual Interpretation

In this laboratory exercise, students learned some basic principles of interpreting features found on aerial
photographs. These principles range from concepts so basic that they might never have considered them, to
quite obvious ideas, and finally some more advanced techniques.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Interpret the tone and texture of aerial photographs 
  • Identify land features in an aerial photograph based on several visual attributes 
  • Compare similar land features in true color and false color infrared (IR) photographs project name


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Visual Interpretation assignment:

Lynne Johnson

About Lynne: Lynne started her schooling in Maine at the University of New England as a marine bio major but transferred to Suffolk University in Boston after one year.  From there she got her B.S. in Communication & Journalism.  After a few years of being out of school and wanting to change her direction, she found GIS. She hopes that GIS will be her foot in the door to marine conservation - specifically focusing on plastic pollution in the oceans. When asked if she would describe herself as a raster or vector, she replied "I would describe myself as a raster I think.  I like to be very organized and have things well structured."  Welcome to the spotlight Lynne - bask in the glow!

What we like: Many of the students found success in accomplishing this week’s laboratory tasks. However, Lynne’s map stood out for being neatly designed. She did an excellent job creating clear and legible labels, and making the most of the layout space. Furthermore, her process summary explanation was very detailed, specifically her reasoning for choosing her features (Shape & Size, Shadows, Pattern, and Association) in the exercise 2 map.

Keep your eyes open for next week's spotlight which will feature a student from Special Topics in Archaeology!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

GIS Internships - Let's get to work!

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs.Leah Lewis, GISP


The following students were chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.  

Jack Gibson 

About Jack: Congratulations are in order to Mr. Jack Gibson, our first internship spotlight.  Jack has secured an internship with Orange County Public works in sunny Orlando, Florida.  Jack is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.  During his internship, Jack will be working a variety of tasks.  These include creating python scripts to update stormwater models and also for tasks in the traffic division.
He will also be creating training tutorials and teaching at least one of the courses.  It sounds Jack is going to have a very busy semester! Congratulations on being the first Fall Spotlight.  Keep up the good work!

Jay Johnson 

About Jay: Our second internship spotlight is Jay Johnson.  In May 2006, Jay earned my AA from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College then moved to Liberty County, Georgia where his wife was serving in the Army. He spent the next year and a half as an Army husband before he started working for the Liberty County Board of Assessors as a Mapping/GIS Technician. Jay is responsible for creating, correcting and maintaining tax parcel data from real estate deeds and plats using a GIS. He also provides technical mapping assistance and support to department personnel. During the past 5 years, he has played a key role in developing Liberty County's public facing web application for tax parcel information. Currently, Jay is working on creating an address point feature class that can be linked directly to each residential and commercial improvement in the County's Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system. Upon completion of the GIS certificate program, Jay plans on submitting my application for GISP. The Online GIS team had the pleasure of meeting Jay at the ESRI's Southeast User's Conference in Jacksonville, FL.  Way to stay involved in the community and welcome to the club!

Stay tuned for next week's spotlight!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wanted: Graduate Student

The Department of Environmental Studies and the Online GIS Certificate Program at The University of West Florida invite applications for a twelve-month Graduate Assistantship (20-25 hours per week) to begin as early as August 26, 2013. Compensation includes in-state tuition (up to 36 credits) towards M.S. Environmental Science and salary ($12,000 per year for up to two years).  The successful candidate will be expected to assist in online GIS Certificate Program courses such as Introduction to GIS, Cartography, Remote Sensing + Photo Interpretation, and GIS Programming.  Requirements include a B.S. or B.A. in Geography, Environmental Studies, or related degree, 3.2 GPA, 1000 on GRE, acceptance to graduate program, and eligibility to work in the United States.  The ideal candidate must demonstrate theoretical and practical experience with GIS, communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and be organized, productive and ethical. Applicants are encouraged to visit http://uwf.edu/environmental/graduate/ and http://www.uwf.edu/gis/gisonline/  

Inquiries regarding this position should be directed to Amber Bloechle abloechle@uwf.edu or 850-857-6121

Closing date: September 20, 2013 for graduate students already admitted to UWF.

Apply for the position at https://jobs.uwf.edu

Monday, July 8, 2013

GIS 4048/5100 Applications in GIS - Natural Hazards Student Spotlights.

Natural Hazards
For this series of projects students enrolled in Application in GIS used their GIS skills to explore three different natural hazards; lahars, tsunamis, and hurricanes. In each lesson, students learned how GIS is used to identify and plan, mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from a natural hazard. Each exercise demonstrated GIS being used in real-world hazard scenarios.

Week 1: Lahar - Hazard Preparation and Planning, Mt. Hood, Oregon
Scenario: Students approached this project with the mindset that they had been hired as a private consultant to identify potential inundation zones for the Mt. Hood, Oregon area.  
Their goal was to use 2011 USGS 30M Digital Elevation Models (topography) and the Hydrology Tools found within ESRI’s Spatial Analyst Extension to determine drainage flow in a potential crisis situation. After determining the streams, students used newly released 2010 US Census Data to create a population analysis for the areas in proximity to the drainage areas.These findings were created to aid local and state officials in hazard planning and response time.

Student Learning Outcomes: 
  • Defined Default Geodatabase and Map Document Properties
  • Created data using the Go to XY tool and Convert Graphics Feature
  • Explored Spatial Analyst (SA) extension
  • Prepared data for processing in a geodatabase including, but not limited to, proper nomenclature.
  • Performed a raster mosaic using ArcToolbox
  • Conducted analysis using the Hydrology Toolset in the SA extension
Melyssa Hunter
About Melyssa: Melyssa is pursuing the undergraduate GIS certificate. Melyssa graduated from The University of Georgia in May 2012 with a B.S. in Geography and an emphasis in Atmospheric Sciences. She has participated in research focusing on tornado debris information gathered from social media, and has interned with my local emergency management agency. With your background in emergency management, you were a natural for the first spotlight. Way to go!
What we like: Melyssa's maps were great from a cartographic standpoint. Her symbology choices were top notch, as well as, her ability to display the information without clutter. The Hazard Planning Map was at the top of the class this week. We are pleased to share this with you all.
"This week I worked on a map showcasing the possible inundation areas surrounding Mt. Hood from lahar events. I worked with many new tools throughout this lab, starting out with a couple of raster images and a little information, and eventually turning it into a map of possible inundation streams. I produced two maps. The first shows the elevation around Mt. Hood, as well as the inundation streams.

"The second is more detailed, displaying a half mile buffer surrounding the inundation area, as well as schools and population blocks in the areas. I really enjoyed starting out with little, separate bits of data, and analyzing it to create a map of importance."

Week 2: Disaster Evacuation for the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Scenario: A massive earthquake of magnitude of 9.0 occurred Friday 11 March, off the Pacific coast of the northeastern part of the Japanese main land (Tohoku Region), causing devastating damages. For this lab students adopted the mindset that they were a GIS professional helping assist with disaster relief.  Their focus for the study was on the Fukushima coast and area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant.

Student Learning Outcomes:
  • Work with GIS data and information relevant to response and recovery efforts of the Japan Tsunami
  • Compile important information from provided Japan Tsunami background materials
  • Understand, create, and work from a file geodatabase, feature datasets, and mosaic raster dataset within ArcCatalog
  • Review basics of digital elevation models
  • Recall how to create a shapefile by importing XY excel data.
  • Apply GIS query and selection operations to calculate estimates of evacuation populations.
  • Use ArcGIS multi-ring buffer and clip tools to create evacuation zones surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Create a VB expression to label features by two fields from the same data layer.
  • Create and work from a file geodatabase in ArcCatalog
  • Analyze runup on Fukushima coast 10 km inland for 3 zones using conditional raster analysis
  • Intersect roads, nuclear powerplants, and cities with runup results to aid in evacuation decisions
  • Determine the at risk population locations within each zones\
Lucinda Hall

About Lucinda: Lucinda has the very cool occupation of being a map librarian at Dartmouth College. She has a BA in History and a Master's in Library and Information Science. She is in her second semester of the Graduate Certificate Program. Lucinda is a frequenter of the weekly Elluminate Sessions and is always coming up with interesting and detailed questions!Congratulations Lucinda! Welcome to the spotlight! 

What we like: Lucinda displayed the needed information very clearly. The map is symbolized and labeled with a cartographic style that is easy to understand and does not leave you searching for geographic reference. The data frames and legend are zoomed to a user friendly scale and size, and her scale bars are set to quantifiable distances. 

Week 3: Hurricane Sandy - Post Storm Damage Assessment, Ocean Springs, NJ
Scenario: In this exercise, you will first track Sandy, then create and design attribute geodatabases for editing purposes.You will explore the imagery effects tools to visualize pre/post Sandy imagery. As a final task, you will take parcel data, the imagery, and the newly created damage assessment files to catalog a street on the New Jersey coastline.  

Student Learning Outcomes:
  • Add data to a blank map document
  • Analyze data stored in a Microsoft Excel Database
  • Create Data using the Display XY tool.
  • Create data using the Points to Line Feature Tool
  • Explore the Marker Symbol Options
  • Create a VB script for Labeling
  • Prepare data for processing in a geodatabase including, but not limited to, proper nomenclatures
  • Perform a raster mosaic using ArcToolbox
  • Explore the Effects Toolbar using the Flicker and Swipe Tool
  • Prepare Post-Storm Damage Assessment Data using Attribute Domains in a Geodatabase
  • Locate and identify attributes based on storm damage
  • Generate report/table based on damage results for given study area
  • Analyze Parcel Data using the Attribute Transfer Tool (Graduate Students Only)
  • Create multiple deliverables based on findings
Justin Coryell
 About Justin: Justin is in the US Navy stationed in Gulfport,MS and is currently teaching a GIS 101 course on base. Justin is on track to receive his graduate GIS certificate in the fall. Justin has also been very active in the weekly Elluminate Sessions. We always appreciate you stopping by! Welcome to the spotlight Justin! 

What we like: Justin did an awesome job on the Hurricane Sandy Track and Life Cycle Map. He used a number of call out boxes to highlight the storm at certain locations. His use of color as well as design was very complimentary. His Damage Assessment analysis was crisp and precise. If needed, this would be a great product to share with an agency like FEMA.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS Student Spotlight- Vector 2

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS, Instructor, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Vector 2

In this lab we did the following to produce a final map of potential campsite locations:

  • Created a simple buffer around road features
  • Createed a variable distance buffer around water features
  • Created our own scripts to run the buffer tool using ArcPython
  • Ran the overlay tool to combine or exclude multiple features
  • Distinguished and converted between multipart and singlepart layers

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Define and use two of the most common modeling tools in ArcGIS: buffer and overlay
  • Identify available buffer modeling tools in ArcGIS software
  • Use the Dissolve tool to merge overlapping borders of buffer zones
  • Create a script in ArcPy to run the buffer tool
  • Recall when it is beneficial to run an ArcPy script vs. the actual tool
  • Analyze vector data using spatial queries
  • Create a simple buffer around vector features
  • Create a variable distance buffer around polygon features
  • Determine when to implement a compound or variable buffer
  • Identify the 6 overlay operations available and recall when to use each
  • Use the overlay modeling tool to combine or exclude multiple features
  • Distinguish between multipart and singlepart layers and convert between the two
  • Find potential sites using provided criteria for a new campground
  • Create a report that explains data being utilized in the GIS project (metadata), answers important questions, and summarizes the process of creating exercises deliverables from beginning to end
  • Explain the difference between attribute and location queries
  • Quantify and explain the difference between results derived from buffer and overlay operations


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Vector 2 assignment:

Ellen Markin

About Ellen: Returning to the spotlight is Ellen.  She held the coveted title earlier in the semester for Cartography, and is now making waves in Intro 2 GIS.  Ellen lives in Reno, Nevada and works as a GIS Specialist for a cultural resource management firm. Welcome back Ellen - don't forget your shades.  The spotlight can be bright!

What we like: Ellen utilized her resources by overlaying her data onto an ESRI basemap to create an interesting, yet easy to interpret, map. We also liked that she kept her essential map elements simple and user friend and included the area of interest in her title. Great job Ellen!

Possible Campground locations.

"We were given a File Geodatabase containing layers representing hydrography (rivers and lakes), roads, and conservation areas with the goal of locating possible campground sites using specific criteria. The hydrography and roads layers were buffered in the initial step. The areas that overlapped were then chosen using the overlay tools. The conservation areas were then erased from the remaining areas. My map shows the final areas after analysis. For the display of the data (map) I thought a plain map was uninformative. I added the Esri World topographic base map to give the map a more interesting background."

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Isoline Mapping Lab

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Isoline Mapping

In this lab we created an isohyet map illustrating mean annual precipitation for the state of Georgia.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Distinguish between true point vs conceptual point data
  • Compare/Contrast manual vs automated interpolation methods
    • Triangulation
    • Inverse-distance
    • Kriging
  • Examine the different types of symbolization
  • Manually interpolate point data into contour lines
  • Create contour lines in ArcGIS using automated interpolation techniques
  • Draw isolines using Adobe Illustrator


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Isoline Mapping assignment:

Brendan White

About Brendan: Brendan lives in southern NJ and works for a civil engineering/land surveying company.  His company has a strong interests in developing a GIS department and we are sure that Brendan is up for the task.  He spends a lot of time working with government contracts which are starting to have more and more GIS deliverables.  Welcome to the spotlight Brendan, you are in the right place.

What we like: His map was simple and to the point. He did an excellent job with his layout and made a grey scale map look polished and professional. Excellent job Brendan!

"The map was submitted for the week nine lab in the cartographic skills class. This was an exercise in the use of the pen and pencil tool in Illustrator. Moreover the goal was to understand how to interpolate a map of points, turning it into contours."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Proportional Symbols Mapping

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Proportional Symbols Mapping 

This week we used the Query Builder to isolate data in ArcMap  and created proportional symbols in both ArcMap and AI. We also calculated proportional symbol size using mathematical scaling method and used custom symbol templates in ArcMap and AI. Additionally, there was the option to create circular labels in AI.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Complete a base map in ArcGIS
  • Calculate proportional circle diameters utilizing the mathematical scaling method
  • Construct a proportional circle map utilizing proper mapping techniques

The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Proportional Symbols Mapping  assignment:

Lynne Johnson

About Lynne: Lynne joins us from Madison, Wisconsin. She has earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication and Journalism but is currently trying to get into Marine Conservation. She is hoping that this GIS certificate program will give her a little push in the right direction. I think you've come to the right place. Welcome to the spotlight! :)

What we like: Lynne's maps were simple, to the point, and overall visually pleasing. We like the color scheme chosen and the clear, easy to read labels. She provided precisely what we wanted from this lab. Great job!

"In this weeks lab, we explored proportional symbol maps and different ways to portray information.  In the above map, Figure 1, you can see how cluttered it is.  It was a very basic map, almost thrown together.  The main purpose of this map is to show one way of using a proportional symbol.  The circle sizes are directly related to how much wine (by 1000's of liters) was consumed in Europe in 2010.  We had the options of using a solid circle, hollow circle or with a symbol of a wine bottle.  While the bottle itself was neat, it proved to be misleading and confusing.  I decided to go with the hollow circle because I thought it was easiest to understand."

"In Figure 2, we zoomed up to contain mostly western Europe.  This makes it easier to decipher the countries.  As for the symbol that was used, it's a combination of a solid (yet transparent) circle with a wine bottle graphic.  Again, the size of the bottle and circle were proportional to the amount of wine consumed in that country in the year 2010.  I learned a lot during this lab and can see how transparency, proportional symbols and an area specific map can really turn things around!"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS Student Spotlight- Data Search

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS, Instructor, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Data Search

This week we continued on our quest of downloading data from online sources. This lab will require us to download data from from online sources and to create 1-3 maps that best represent the data you are presenting which included county boundaries, cities/towns, major roads, hydrology data, public lands, DEM data, a DOQQ, and 2 environmental layers, all using the same projection.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Review and record metadata for data coming from multiple sources
  • Select GIS data that meets the needs of a defined project (scale, attributes, geographic extent, time sensitive, software being used or required format)
  • Download data from online sources
  • Practice data management of GIS data coming from multiple sources
  • Detect and correct data errors for use in a GIS
  • Intelligently select a geographic projection to be used in a defined project
  • Detect and correct geographic projection issues
  • Reproject data from Albers to UTM 
  • Utilize select by location and clip tools in ArcGIS to isolate a study area
  • View selected records and create a new map layer from selected feature
  • Create easy to interpret maps presenting multiple downloaded data layers using ArcGIS


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Data Search assignment:

 Chris Handly

About Chris: Chris Handly lives in the Tampa Bay area and works for the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) at US Special Operations Command.
He has been with the NGA for over 21 years and has a background that includes geospatial analysis and integration of geospatial methods into traditional imagery and intelligence analysis, especially with the advent in geospatial tools and software.
When away from his desk, Chris enjoys hunting and fishing.  Welcome to the center stage Chris!

What we like: Chris created an easy to read set of maps that clearly portrayed all of the required data. We really liked his color and layering choices as well as the identification of the DOQQ location within the county. Great job!

"This week's assignment was to retrieve several layers for counties in Florida. I was assigned Pinellas county. Finding the data wasn't difficult since most everything we needed is on FGDL and LABINS, although I did explore a few other sites including the Census Bureau, but ultimately downloaded everything from the first two sites. Initially, I downloaded, projected and clipped all my data, but was unsure how I wanted to organize this. I started by playing with a large map (36x36) using multiple data frames, but thought it was too cluttered, so I settled on individual maps showing less information.

I used a hillshade I made for all the maps and set most of the layers to be a little transparent. There isn't much elevation in Pinellas, but there is a little so it gives the map some texture. I also found that raster clip doesn't do a very good job so I used extract by mask to clean up all the rasters as well. I also made a mask to help clean everything up by erasing the boundary of Pinellas from a rectangle polygon. I also briefly considered finishing these in Illustrator, but spent all weekend getting this far and am tired of looking at Pinellas county right now. The maps are 14" x 8", so if they aren't legible open them in another browser window so you can zoom in."

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Choropleth Maps Lab

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Choropleth Maps

In the "Choropleth Mapping" laboratory assignment we produced two separate choropleth  maps, one in color and one in black and white, illustrating population change of the United States with the utilization of  census data. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Choose an appropriate color scheme for your choropleth map
  • Create an appropriate legend for your classification scheme
  • Calculate data from Census tables
  • Implement an appropriate classification method for your data


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Choropleth Maps assignment:

Justin Coryell 

About Justin: Welcome to the spotlight Justin!  Justin is Aerographer's Mate Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy stationed in Gulfport, MS.  He and his wife are the proud parents of two kiddos under two.  Whew. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor's degree in meteorology. Justin is currently teaching a GIS 101 course on base and is on track to receive his graduate GIS certificate in the fall.  Justin - it's late March, where is all the warm weather?!

What we like:  We like the map layout and the fact that he went the extra mile and made the map his own by creating a nifty legend box in the bottom corner. His labels were appropriately sized and legible. He also displayed his data in a very clear, easy to read manner.

Color Choropleth State Population Growth 1990-2000
Black and white State Population Growth by Divisions 1990-2000

"Week 7 – This week’s assignment was to complete two maps and generate the choropleth mapping skills learned throughout chapter 14. We had to build a black and white version and a color map while indicating which way we classified the data. As the first color image shows in Natural breaks, in a yellow to red hue, Nevada was clearly the largest growth populated state. This is the reason for choosing to use the Natural breaks over the others of quantile or standard deviation. The color selection was chosen by using http://colorbrewer2.org to render a more usable color selection in sequential fashion and color blind friendly.
The black and white version was developed to break out the divisions in the nation that had the greatest growth based off of their location. Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, etc... As shown in the map above. "