Thursday, September 17, 2015

GIS Online Student Spotlight - 9/18/15

Congratulations to Jim Galliart on being named GIS Online Student Spotlight for his outstanding work in Special Topics in GIS (GIS 4930)

Welcome to the spotlight, Jim! Jim lives in Story City, Iowa with his wife of 18 years, Nicole. They have two cats, Gandalf and Loki. Jim works in the Iowa Department of Transportation as a Design Technician Specialist, and is studying GIS to bridge the gap between his CAD knowledge and his department's GIS source data.

To follow Jim's work within the program, visit his blog at Adventures in GIS.

Project 1 - Network Analyst (Week 1 and 2)

In this project, students work with Network Analyst for a Hurricane Evacuation Scenario in Tampa, FL USA. What makes this project interesting (especially this year) is that UWF GIS Online student, Nicole Gusack, is currently interning with the Tampa Bay National Weather Service Office where she actively helped prepare for recent hurricane/tropical storm events using the same methods we employed in this project - specifically, by applying the "Project Pheonix - The Tampa Bay Catastrophic Plan" to prepare.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Organize and prepare project data in a geodatabase and feature dataset for use in Network Analyst.
  • Utilize a customized tool to clip and reproject multiple features, provide justification for its use, and review how it is scripted with Python.
  • Classify a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) dataset based on researched methods and convert it from a raster to polygon feature in order to identify low lying areas in Tampa, FL.
  • Summarize key processes completed for Prepare week, including any issues encountered along the way.
  • Identify shelters by travel time.
  • Analyze routes for evacuation and delivery of emergency supplies.
What we like: Congrats to Jim for submitting one of the only 100% A+ map packages. What we like most is his professionalism and attention to detail. Check out his blog and read about the project and his experience for yourself - it's a good read!  

In the prepare section, we like the way he symbolized flood zones and elevation.  Look at all of those emergency service labels! All accounted for and easy to read.    

Basemap of the Tampa, Florida area showing classified DEM, flood zone, and emergency services.

In the analyze section we like the map layout, fonts, and organization of information. There was a lot of information required on the analysis map this week, but he did a great job of making sure everything was present and easy to view.

A map of the Tampa, Florida area showing downtown evacuation routes, patient evacuation routes, emergency supply routes, and nearest shelter locations based on travel time.

Keep up the excellent work Jim, and good luck with the project's conclusion!

Monday, September 14, 2015

GIS Online Student Spotlight - 9/11/15

Congratulations to Brittany Burdelsky on being named GIS Online Student Spotlight for her outstanding work in Remote Sensing (GIS 4035)


Welcome to the spotlight, Brittany! Brittany lives in Aurora, CO with her husband Greg and cat, Howl. She is a graduate of FSU and FAU, with degrees in biology and anthropology, respectively. Her other areas of interest are dental anthropology, bioarchaeology, and paleopathology. When she saw that GIS knowledge was increasing in demand, Brittany decided GIS certification was the career move for her.

To follow Brittany's work within the program, visit her blog at There and Back with GIS.

Module 2 - Interpreting Aerial Photography

Instructor Brian Fulfrost

This module introduces aerial imagery interpretation. There are several elements of interpretation that help in determining what features are in aerial imagery. Tone, texture, size, and shape are among the basic elements while pattern, shadow, and association are more complex methods of interpretation. Independently and in concert these elements help in the analysis of an image.


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

What we like: A number of students in Remote Sensing demonstrated a high level of comprehension of how to use recognition elements (also called image elements) to interpret different types of geographic features from aerial photos. However, we thought Brittany's blog posting was especially good. Brittany's maps and blog postings demonstrate a high level of comprehension of how recognition elements are utilized to interpret aerial photography. Her maps are well organized and also demonstrate a good design sense. For each exercise, Brittany provided easy to understand and concise description and overview of each recognition type. In addition, her explanations of how she utilized these recognition elements to identify features are clear and well illustrated in her maps. The features on her first map are well labeled, and combined with her descriptions, provide good examples of how various types of features can have different tone and texture. Her map also contain a small amount of additional of text that makes it easy for the reader to understand the map.

Her second map also provides distinct descriptions of each of the 4 additional recognition elements (shape/size, pattern, association, and shadow) and how each recognition element was used to derive different types of geographic features (peg pier, beach, residential area, sign, etc.). Brittany also provides a good introduction to image interpretation (with links) as well as an excellent discussion of the differences between true vs false color imagery (an exercise that didn't require a map output).
This map shows various regions highlighted and classified by tone and texture

This map displays features identified by shape/size, shadow, pattern, and association

 Thanks again for your excellent submissions Brittany!

Friday, September 4, 2015

GIS Online Spotlight - GIS Internship

This week we will focus on GIS Internship - GIS 4944, GIS5945, GIS6905 as a whole. 

Experiential learning is imperative to begin a career in GIS. Our internship program is designed to help students gain real-world work experience so they are marketable for full-time, post-certificate careers.The course itself has two major goals; 

1. to monitor the progress of students in their selected internships or projects and 
2. to prepare students for the GIS workforce through focused seminar topics.

We currently have a diverse group of 16 students enrolled in the 3 sections of GIS Internship/Directed Study this semester. The majority are in their last semester with the certificate. 

One of the assignments this week is for students to join a user group. User groups are organizations for GIS users to network with other GIS users, share GIS technology and to learn about new developments in the field. Belonging to a GIS user group can help you get involved and stay connected with the GIS industry.

One student that already caught my eye is Lindsay Golden who is now a member of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) group. OFI is a nonprofit organization "dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat." The organization created a GIS program that is supported by ESRI and maps intact forests and prime orangutan habitats. This program has also been the impetus for land protection efforts like their online “Sponsor Acres” forest protection campaign.

GIS is such a broad industry and this just shows that the possibilities are endless with GIS!

We are excited to see what this semester has in store for our students and plan to highlight all the students at various times throughout the semester. 


Salina Randall