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 -  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 -

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