Monday, December 10, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Open Registration for Spring classes at AB Tech

Several GIS classes are being offered at AB Tech this spring and open registration is now! Classed begin Monday, January 14th, 2008.

GIS 111 - Introduction to GIS is being offered in 4 sections.

  • GIS111 YD1 - Meets M/W from 10 - 11:20. This class is a hybrid format meaning students will have 1 hour of online work per week in addition to outside time spent on homework assignments.
  • GIS111 LD1 - Meets M/W from 2:10-4:00pm. Late start class. Class begins January 23rd.
  • GIS 111 O1 - Online section. If you know you like online learning this one is for you. If you don't know if you like it or not ... a couple words of advice - it is MORE WORK than taking a traditional seated class, but it is more flexible.
  • GIS 111 WN1 - Meets Thursday nights 6:00pm -9:50pm. Web supplement accompanies course.
GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping - one section
  • GIS 121 D1 - (prerequisite - GIS 111 or equivalent) - Meets Friday from 8:00am-11:50am.
GIS 215 - GIS Data Models - one section
  • GIS 215 N1 - (prerequisite - GIS 111 or equivalent) - Meets Tuesday nights from 6:00pm - 9:50pm
If you have any questions or would like to sign up for one or more of these classes, contact Pete Kennedy at 828.254.1921 x289 or email pkennedy(at)

You can learn more about the GIS Certificate and ABTech by following

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Haywood County GIS Coordinator Job

This one is definitely for the more experienced. Great location ...

Position: GIS Coordinator
Salary Range: $43,721 - $65,581
Salary Grade: 73
Closing Date: Open Until Filled

General Description of Duties
Work is performed under the general leadership of the InformationTechnology Director with considerable amount of independent judgmentnecessary. Incumbent is responsible for coordination andimplementationof County wide GIS needs.

Incumbent will work with others to coordinate and oversee forthcomingdata conversion projects. Tasks will include training, data anddatabasemanagement, as well as development and recommendations of mappingsoftware and products. Incumbent will also be responsible for projectcoordination and related communication with County Departments andoutside entities in order to produce effective relational data reportsto coincide with map surfaces with associated charts and graphs asneeded; Participates in compiling and presenting survey and researchfindings in graphic, pictorial, cartographic and technical drawingformat;

Incumbent will serve as system administrator for GIS by resolvinghardware and software problems related to GIS. A working knowledge ofprinciples and practices associated with ESRI Software is required.Incumbent will work with ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop suite of applications,aswell as ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server application; ArcSDE software in aMicrosoft SQL Server environment.

Duties directly related to 911
Maintain and update the geo-database and associated layers for all maplayers utilized by the 9-1-1 CAD and other emergency servicesdepartments;
Implement map conversions and updates of all mapping data to eachPublicSafety Answering Point within the county;
Participate in activities and duties related to emergency managementduring a local state of disaster, as well as during disasterpreparedness training exercises.

Minimum Qualifications for Education and Experience
Bachelor or Associate degree in GIS, Geography, Cartography, CAD orrelated field supplemented by a minimum of three years maintainingcomputerized land records using GIS/CAD or an equivalent combinationofeducation, training and experience that provides the requiredknowledge,skills and abilities. Extensive work experience using Microsoftdesktopoperating systems and applications is required. A combination ofEducation and experience may be considered.

Buncombe County GIS job - GIS Analyst

  • $39,616 - $43,792
  • 4 year degree in related field
doesn't look like you need any experience but a lot of skills

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

collaborate with GoogleMaps

New today (on the heels of yesterday's addition of terrain data) is the ability to collaborate you maps (MyMaps) in GoogleMaps with anyone who has a Google account. I think I'll give it a try with my students in class tonight.

Madison County GIS Day Postponed

The Madison County GIS Day WILL NOT BE HELD THIS SATURDAY. It will be rescheduled for sometime in January. Check back for details.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cell phones and GIS

There's been a lot of buzz around Asheville lately wondering what the best cell phone solution is for those of us who are geospatially addicted. We've been wondering how we can use our phones to help us gather information about the world around us and incorporate it into the daily work we do - even if it's not necessarily work related. Who wouldn't love to have a phone they could map my rides via GPS and Google Maps as well as geo-tag photos along the way.

I currently use Verizon and can get a service call VZNavigator for $9.99 a month or $2.99 for a day. I have to say it's pretty cool. It has local search, voice activated turn by turn directions, I can see my lat/long and a map. It doesn't fully integrate with the rest of the computer world I live in though and it certainly doesn't geo-tag the photos I can take. I probably won't keep paying for it - I just wanted to check it out and show my classes however if I get lost I'll certainly pay the $2.99. Maybe I'll keep the service til I get back from

Nokia is obviously taking a big jump towards this with things like the Wireless GPS Module LD-3W and their purchasing of a major GIS data company . Today, I learned about the Helio Ocean that has a full qwerty keyboard and GPS enabled GoogleMaps and geotagging of photos. Pretty cool. This guy runs on it's own network and carrier. You sign up with Helio and they rent space from Sprint towers. I guess this will work on the new WiMax network Sprint and Google are dumping $3 billion dollars into.

This just get's me thinking about the future of it all. If you want to here it summed up in 23 minutes... check out the NPR segment last week - Phones of the future and Google's cell phone debut. Now these guys have the right idea.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


HAPPY GIS DAY to all! Our GIS Day event last Friday was a HUGE success. We estimate 300 people came to the event throughout the day. A BIG thanks goes to everyone who helped out...

Hopefully we'll do something similar next year...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Other GIS Day events ...

If you haven't seen all the great GIS Day events going on in the mountains, Greg Dobson did a great job of summarizing them all on Check it out - see you Friday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

GIS Day event this week

We are a few days away from the 'Celebration of all things GIS in and around Asheville' GIS day event hosted here at AB Tech. Please come join us for this Open House highlighting GIS activities in and around our area. Come for a little while or stay all day.


WHEN: Friday, November 9th, 2007 / 9:00am - 2:00pm
WHERE: AB Tech Main Campus / Balsam Computer Technology Center

Thanks to all our sponsors and presenters:

  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College – GIS Certificate Program
  • City of Asheville – GIS Department
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (Charlotte Office)
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
  • GeoMaxim
  • Madison County
  • National Climatic Data Center
  • NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NC CGIA)
  • Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
  • Resource Data, Inc.
  • UNC-Asheville / National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)
Questions? Contact Pete Kennedy at 828.251.1921 x289 or pkennedy (at)

Monday, November 5, 2007

ESRI Web-based help

The ESRI site has some of the best web-based help around. Over the past several years I've gotten so used to using it that I never really open the desktop help any more. I guess my never ending ramblings to my students has been getting through to them because today a student point out the ArcGIS 9.3 Help online. What? you say... That's what I said too but it's there. Luckily it doesn't go anywhere except to a coming soon page. Coming soon but how soon?

nice eye adam...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

This American Life does mapping

One of my favorite shows ever, This American Life does mapping on this week's show. This weeks show has 5 parts and looks at mapping the world by the 5 senses. North Carolina artist, cartographer and author Denis Wood joins Ira Glass in Act I. Ira gives an interesting perspective to mapping from a non-mapping person (if there is such a person these days). I'm not sure I agree with everything he says but interesting none-the-less.

Denis is author of The Power of Maps and co-author of Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS (occasionally used in our GIS curriculum).

The following link will take you directly to this weeks podcast - Mapping.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

GIS Day 2007

We'll be celebrating GIS Day on Friday, November 9th from 9:00am til 2:00pm right here at the AB Tech main campus. Drop in any time and to see all the exciting GIS going on in and around Asheville. The list of organizations putting this event on can be seen below:
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College – GIS Certificate Program
  • Buncombe County – GIS Department
  • City of Asheville – GIS Department
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (Charlotte Office)
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
  • GeoMaxim
  • National Climatic Data Center
  • NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NC CGIA)
  • Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
  • Resource Data, Inc.
  • UNC-Asheville / National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)
We'll have demonstrations, hands on activities, a map gallery and more. You can get more information by going to our event at or by downloading our flyer here (refresh the page if you are not taken to the download page). Please pass around the brochure and/or put it up at work if you like.

If you'd like to talk to a live person about the event ... you can call or email me or Greg Dobson.

Pete Kennedy - pkennedy(at) - 828.254.1921 x289
Greg Dobson - gdobson(at) - 828.251.6973

If you are planning on bringing a large group ... let us know so we can plan accordingly! Thanks and hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

GIS internship in the Smokies

This internship is based out of Gatlinburg, TN. The primary goal is created FGDC compliant metadata for the existing park GIS datasets. Great opportunity to get some real-world experience and learn about metadata.

Follow this link for more information

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

RSS in plain english

In most of my classes, my students are required to maintain blogs to journal about their work in my classes. They also use their blogs to upload course work for me to review. Work like maps and data. In addition to the student blogs, I have a blog for each of my classes where you can find links to student blogs. My course blogs serve as a source of information for my students about the class. All of these blogs, I have just mentioned are only a start to the blogs and other websites we all try to keep up with every day. How do you keep up with all the new stuff put on blogs (and other websites) on a daily basis??? RSS of course.

Why is this important to GIS? RSS is important to GIS because it is one of the powerful ways we now get information and GIS is all about information. There are even specifications about how this is being used to pass around geographically referenced information through the web. This is called GeoRSS and more about it later.

First, I found this great video describing RSS and why it is so important on the web today. Check it out.

A big fat thanks goes to the guys at The Common Craft Show for doing such great work. Check out their site for a lot more!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bent Creek Trails ... in Google Maps ... in our blog

This past summer as part of our GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping class, I had my students georeference a map of Bent Creek and then heads-up digitize the trails. I won't deny this class exercise was somewhat self-serving and selfish as I wanted some digital data of one of my favorite places to mountain-bike and trail run but it was a great learning exercise for the students as well.

Now that you can embed GoogleMaps in a website or blog, I thought I'd share the data here. I used the KML Companion to create a KML file from the trails in ArcMap and then passed the KML file to GoogleMaps in the URL.

Special thanks to 2 students for their help. Christy Caudill shared her trail data with me from last summer and Josh O'Conner showed me the easiest way to pass the KML to GoogleMaps.

View Larger Map

soooo.... i can't figure out how to imbed the Gmap with my KML on it yet. Hey, today is the first day they've made Gmaps easily embedable so i'll wrestle with it later but for now - here's a screen shot and you can get the KML file here too if you want to see it in GoogleEarth yourself!

See the Bent Creek Trails in Gmaps here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Embed Google Maps in your website or blog

New today from Google Maps. You can embed a map in your website or blog just like a YouTube video. Check out this aerial of our campus with our building indicated by the blue icon. Zoom in to see it!

View Larger Map

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ready, Set ... GO

Fall 2007 semester at AB Tech starts tomorrow morning at 8am. Are you ready? I'm excited and I hope you are. If you are having any problems getting books, getting registered, finding classes, or anything at all ... don't hesitate to call, email or come by and let me help! Let's get a good start to the semester!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

GIS Workshop for Planners

The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association's Summer Planning Institute and Leadership Conference was held August 8-10, 2007, on the campus of Western Carolina University. The conference attracted over 100 attendees from all over NC but mostly the western part of the state. I was there to put on a short GIS workshop for 10 participants. After looking over some basics of GIS and ArcGIS specifically, we jumped into some spatial analysis and looked at a fictious analysis of property damage resulting from a tornado. We also covered several resources for learning GIS as well as an exhaustive search of local and regional GIS data sources.

More on the conference can be see here ==>

And the wiki pages from the GIS workshop can be accessed here ==>

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Calender

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Advanced Smoky Mountains Science Teacher Institute GIS/GPS Workshop

11 high school teachers are participating this week in the Advanced Smoky Mountains Science Teacher Institute that is being held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. This is a wonderful opportunity for high school teachers to learn about the great diversity of flora and fauna in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the threats they face on a daily basis as well as learn about scientific inquiry and how to incorporate more in their classrooms.

The week started with millipedes surveys, identification and workshops on threats to millipede habitat like invasive earth worms introduced in the park. Bruce Snyder from the University of Georgia led this part of the class detailing his work and research in the Smokys with millipedes. The millipedes survey was coupled with a technology session on Global Positioning Systems and how they can be used as a scientific inquiry and data collection tool. This session was led by Mark Ethridge (Tuscola High School), Pete Kennedy (AB Tech) and Haven Hanford (NC DNR) - the 'GIS/GPS Team'. Following the millipedes survey (GPS) and identification, the class began an introductory session in Geographic Information Systems using the free GIS tool from ESRI, ArcExplorer. Students learned basic GIS skills and concepts related to map navigation, layers, attributes, selecting features by querying, tables and data management skills.

Day 2 of the GIS portion of the class, students took their own data collected in the field and integrated it into the GIS. Tables were generated and points were established on the map corresponding with the locations of millipedes surveys. Teachers incorporated this with aerial photographs and topographic maps of the area. The map above shows survey locations shown as graduated symbols. The larger red circles are plots where more millipedes were found and the smaller yellow circles indicate plots were fewer millipedes were found.

The Geospatial Technology Program from AB Tech was happy to be involved with such a wonderful organization as Tremont and a great class! A big thanks go out to Jason Love, Citizen Science Director from Tremont and Susan Sachs, Park Ranger from GSMNP!

To some more info about the GIS/GPS portion of the workshop, check out the wiki here ==>

Also, if you have GoogleEarth, you can view our Millipede survey data here!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

local GIS job posting

Organization: City of Asheville
Title: GIS Technician
Location: Asheville, NC
Application Deadline: Posted: 2007-07-17

Position Description:
Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding GIS position in a beautiful part of the world? The City of Asheville, in the mountains of western North Carolina, is now accepting applications for a GIS Technician.

This is an excellent opportunity for a motivated individual with entry- to mid-level GIS skills and experience. Familiarity with street and address data editing will be considered advantageous yet a qualified candidate will possess the ability to apply her or his GIS skills to a variety of municipal functions.

The position will reside in the GIS & Application Services division of the Information Technology Services department and will bolster existing city-wide GIS service offerings.

Please visit for details on how to apply.

Associate's degree in computer science, geography, cartography, or related field, and 0 to 2years of related experience, to include demonstrable familiarity with desktop PCworkstations, local area networks, and Internet utilization; and/or any equivalent combinationof training and experience required to perform the essential position functions.

Salary: $30,870.12 - $37,044.19
Weekly Hours: 37.5

original post from GIS Jobs Clearinghouse:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Visitors from Valladolid Mexico

This summer, AB Tech was lucky to have visitors from one of Asheville's Sister Cities, Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico. There were 8 delegates from a technical school similar to AB Tech called the Instituto Technologico Superior de Valladolid. There were also 2 visitors from University De Valladolid. This trip followed a trip taken by Dr. Sharon Morrissey to Valladolid to begin a dialogue on how our schools can work together in the future with faculty and student exchanges.

Below - Raul Mendoza Alcocer the Director (like our President) of Instituto Technologico Superior de Valladolid with our own Vice President Dr. Sharon Morrissey pointing at a map of Asheville and Valladolid made by our Geospatial Technology Instructor Pete Kennedy.

Students and Faculty visited the Business Computer Technology Division one morning and learned about all our programs. Below is a slide show of their visit to our deparment. The group visited a Web Technologies class and of course visitied the GIS lab where we showed them maps of places they were visiting during their trip and gave them a short demonstration of some of the Geospatial Technologies we teach here in our certificate program.

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Dr. Morrissey and some others outlined the following as potential future partnership opportunities we will continue to explore with our friends from Valladolid.

(1) A return visit to Valladolid in February 2008 (AB Tech faculty and
students, Sister Cities members), staying with home hosts.
(2) ITSVA exchange students to spend 6 months or 1 year at AB Tech,
studying ESL and/or a curriculum program (hospitality, culinary, engineering,
management/business administration, networking, computer technologies,
(3) ITSVA faculty members to spend 2-4 weeks at AB Tech, shadowing our
faculty members in networking, culinary, hotel & restaurant management, mechanical
engineering, electrical engineering, HVAC.
(4) Mentor ITSVA in development of a Small Business Incubator/Student
Incubator program. (Raul plans to return to learn more about incubator
programs in the US.)
(5) Establish a CISCO Networking Academy at ITSVA.
(6) AB Tech humanities & foreign language students to study abroad in
Valladolid, staying with home hosts.
(7) AB Tech faculty to study the culture, cuisine, tourism industry,
history of Valladolid, staying with home hosts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tech Connect finds their way with the help of GPS

Last Friday, the chairperson of Business Computer Technologies, Pam Silvers worked with 10 high school students again this summer through the Tech Connect Program. Building from basic GPS skills the students learned while at AB Tech last summer - the group used GPS to navigate through a frisbee golf course set-up on campus. Geospatial Technologies Instructor Pete Kennedy and Digital Media Technologies Instructor Jonathan Ross were on hand to support with GPS, photography and of course playing a little frisbee golf!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Proposed Fall 2007 GIS course schedule

Check the schedule below and contact me to sign up for classes.

Pete Kennedy
828.254.1921 x289 or email: pkennedy (at)

Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College offers GIS Certificate

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College currently has a GIS Certificate offered through it's Business Computer Technology Department. This is a 4-course certificate including the following courses:

GIS 111 - Introduction to GIS
GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping
GIS 215 - GIS Data Models
and one of the following other courses:
CIS 110 - Computer concepts
CIS 115 - Introduction to Programming and logic or
DBA 110 - Database Concepts

AB Tech is taking a unique approach to teaching Geospatial Technology by offering classes in the Computer Information Technology Department. This approach will allow GIS, GPS and other related technologies to be taught in the broader context of information systems while capitalizing on existing programs and certificates already at the college in Web Technologies, Database Technologies, and Interactive Multimedia. This certificate provides a strong foundation in Geospatial Technologies with more classes planned in the Database, Web and Multimedia programs.