Thursday, February 25, 2016

GIS6555 - GIS Management - Student Spotlight

GIS 6555 - GIS Management, Instructor, Dr. Derek Morgan

GIS Management (GIS 6555) is one of the first courses to be offered from the M.S.A. with a specialization in Geographic Information Science (GIS) degree plan. This course provides practical information on the development, implementation, and operation of GIS programs and projects intended for seasoned, new and GIS aspiring managers. Studying the concepts of managerial theory within the context GIS should prove useful to their geospatial careers. 

We would like to recognize all of our current graduate students for blazing a trail in the maiden voyage of this course. They are all doing a great job embracing material that isn’t traditionally taught in a GIS program, but is increasingly relevant as the industry matures. Below we highlight one student’s work that is illustrative of the content of this course.  

Module 1 had the students creating flow charts. Why flowcharts? Well, flowcharts can help GIS managers define and analyze processes to identify bottlenecks or troubleshoot a problems within the current GIS program. One technique to operationalize efforts to align business processes with organization mission, business needs and users is to utilize flow charts. Organizations expend enormous time and resources to document and “map” current processes and workflows with the logical justification that a detailed picture of the current state is a necessary starting point for business process improvement (Crosswell 2009). 

During this module students were given a real-word case study from ArcNews, “GIS Speeds Water Service Restoration” (Esri 2015), that illustrates a process improvement. From this case study students were asked to create before and after improvement flowcharts.

And the STUDENT SPOTLIGHT AWARD goes to...Stuart Fricke! 

Stuart did a great job separating the organizational roles (e.g. customer service and customer along the vertical axis of the chart) within a broader depiction of the business processes themselves. Stuart effectively utilized the standard flowchart symbols to create a visualization of business process improvements.  Stuart’s passion for maps (and GIS) shows through his work in this class, and we are thrilled to have him in the program.
Old Process
New Process

Follow Stuart's progress through the program at his student blog.

Welcome to the Spotlight, Stuart!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

GIS4043/L - Introduction to GIS - Student Spotlight

Intro to GIS: Our "Top 10"

Instructor: Amber Bloechle, TA: Deidra Krolikowski

Lab 4: Sharing GIS Maps and Data

In this lab students created a Top 10 location-based list. Students acquired their own location data, created a map in ArcMap and shared that map publically in ArcGIS Online. 
Attention is shifted to designing for web maps vs paper maps. Specifically, students learned how to share GIS maps and data with others as a kmz file accessible through Google Earth and as a map package viewable on ArcGIS Online or Desktop. 

In this week's lab students learned to:
  • Add ArcGIS Online basemaps and data from ArcMap
  • Use the Search tool in ArcMap to locate data and tools
  • Create a custom map package
  • Troubleshoot map package errors
  • Share a map package, ArcGIS Online map, and a Google Earth kmz on the web


Our "Top 10" of the Top 10 webmaps (in no particular order). Welcome to the spotlight, everyone! We are glad you are here

Bradley Husemann - Blue Grass Festivals We really liked the images Bradley used on his map. Follow Bradley's progress in the Certificate program at his student blog

Sofia Nickloy - Redneck Cities in Pennsylvania - Who knew there were Redneck cities in Pennsylvania? Now we do! The image selection was very complementary to this interesting map topic. Follow Sofia's progress in the Certificate program at her student blog.

Sarah Rehrer - Dog Friendly Wineries in Maryland and Virginia - This webmap was "Pawsome!" Getting to enjoy wine and our dogs at the same time... sounds like a great road trip to us! Follow Sarah's progress in the Certificate program at her student blog.

Edwin Rios - Micro Breweries in Florida - Cheers! This is a great topic for a webmap. We really liked the images Edwin chose as well. Follow Edwin's progress in the Certificate program at his student blog.

Margaret Roth - Favorite Places - This webmap made us hungry! Follow Margaret's progress in the Certificate program at her student blog.

Jordan Sienko - Seattle Destinations - Jordan did a great job sourcing her images. They are beautiful, relevant and really added a professional look to the project. Seattle here we come!Follow Jordan's progress in the Certificate program at her student blog.

Samuel Song - Healthiest Cities in America - We really enjoyed this map. Samuel added the use of labels to really set him apart from the rest. Follow Samuel's progress in the Certificate program at his student blog.

Melissa Thrush - Swimming Holes in Florida - It is always swimming hole season in Florida! This map included some new swimming holes we didn't know about but are excited to check out. Follow Melissa's progress in the Certificate program at her student blog.

Zachary Tucker - Gainsville Night life Destinations Is there a trend here? Unlike other webmaps in this list, Zachary chose to focus on a relatively small geographic region. As such, this webmap could be used on a smartphone for a guided walking tour or even a pub-crawl! Follow Zachary's progress in the Certificate program at his student blog.

Justin Turner Vegetarian Restaurants in the Florida Panhandle - We really liked the topic of this webmap. A couple of Justin's choices are right here in Pensacola and Pensacola Beach! Follow Justin's progress in the Certificate program at his student blog.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Celebrate Valentine's Day the Geographer's way! Here is a list of great "mappy" resources to make your Valentine's day memorable.

Where Can Love Be Found? Mapping Valentine’s Day with GIS - See more at:
Where Can Love Be Found? Mapping Valentine’s Day with GIS - See more at:
Where Can Love Be Found? Mapping Valentine’s Day with GIS - See more at:
Where Can Love Be Found? Mapping Valentine’s Day with GIS - See more at:
Where Can Love Be Found? Mapping Valentine’s Day with GIS - See more at:

Friday, February 12, 2016

GIS3015 - Cartographic Skills - Student Spotlight

Instructor: Penelope Bishop Mitchell, TA: Brandon Deusenberry

 Module 4: Cartographic Design

Module 4 leads into the merging of form and function in mapping, with the Gestalt Principles of perceptual organization. The assignment this week was to create a map of all schools in Washington D.C.'s Ward 7 district. Secondary information, such as roads and a basemap, were also included.

The module Learning Outcomes were:
  • Conceptualize and create maps according to need of end user
  • Establish and implement visual hierarchy to emphasize important map features
  • Apply contrast to map features to imply their relative importance
  • Employ figure ground to make important map features appear closer to the end user
  • Achieve map balance with the harmonious organization of map elements and empty space
  • Symbolize layers by category
  • Create an inset map and establish an extent indicator
  • Summarize and present lab activities and objectives


Taylor currently works as an Environmental and GIS Technician for a small company in Wilmington, NC. He comes to us with some GIS experience, but wants to expand his expertise. Based on his map, he has a great eye for design and detail! His natural basemap and background colours add nicely to the overall presentation, and the use of graduated symbols for the schools is a nice touch. In Ward 7, he included finer detail with the DC Streets layer, moving out to the greater D.C. area, only primary transportation routes are included so as not to pull the eye away from Ward 7 and overcrowd the map with superfluous information.

Follow Taylor's exploits here at:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

GIS4043/L - Introduction to GIS - Student Spotlight

Intro to GIS: The Start of a Geographic Adventure!

Instructor: Amber Bloechle, TA: Deidra Krolikowski

Lab 2: Own Your Map!

The "Own Your Map" Lab works with students to have them think creatively when designing their maps. Setting all the essential map elements are key, but creating a map that looks nice and is geared toward your specific audience (the public, customers, etc.) can be challenging.

In this week's lab, "Own Your Map" students learned to:

  • Summarize the essential elements of map making
  • Create a professional looking map using ArcGIS
  • Locate commonly used tools in ArcGIS such as Definition Queries and Attribute Queries
  • Locate & reference GIS metadata
  • Understand difference between relative paths and absolute paths in map files
  • Determine the most effective cartographic choices (color, labels, line weights, etc.)


Samuel Song! Samuel is a Facility Management Specialist for General Services Administration (GSA) in Auburn, Washington. Samuel comes to the program with a CAD, GPS Surveying and GIS background. He served 8 years in the US Air Force! 

Samuel's map is both attractive and informative. Important data is made relevant with smart use of map symbology and scale. Map elements and images are placed with care, making the map easy to read. Aside from his map, he keeps his blog posts real and I like that. Hey, we don't enjoy looking for metadata either :) 

Follow Samuel's progress at his student blog:

Samuel, welcome to the spotlight! We are glad you are here and thank you for your service to our country!