Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Maps and Bing Maps head-to-head

In the past when I have talked with students about mapping API's by the big guys like Google and Microsoft I have always told the Google Maps has some functionality I like and Bing does as well. Last week, Bing introduced it's version of Google's StreetView (one of the things I liked about Google that Bing did not have) closing the gap on the differences. This week Google started offering oblique imagery similar to Microsoft's Bing Maps 'Bird's Eye View'. The two products are feeding off each other and really making a place for themselves in the geospatial world.

These two products are going head-to-head and the competition means good things for us!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spring 2010 course regristration

Registration is on for Spring 2010. Please email me if you'd like to be signed up. GIS 215 - GIS Data Models - Tuesday Nights 6-9:50pm GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping - M/W 8am - 9:50am. Thanks and spread the word.

Bing Maps beta - streetview and tons of new apps ...

local apps like traffic and twitter - pretty cool. Works only with Silverlight ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

December MRGAC meeting followed by training

The next MRGAC meeting will be held on Friday, December 18th at A-B Tech. The meeting will run from 9:00am - 10:15am (earlier and shorter than usual) and will be followed by a CURISA sponsored training event.

The training information is below:

Date: Friday, December 18, 2009 (following an abbreviated MRGAC meeting)

Time: 10:30 to 4:30 pm Following MRGAC Meeting

(Lunch provided)

Location: AB-Tech Computer Lab / Main Campus - Balsam 108

Instructor: Kent Rothrock from Highland Mapping

Cost: $95 for member $145 for non-members (registration fee will support the Carol Paxton BCT Student Scholarship Fund)

This course will be a one day mix of lecture, presentation, and hands-on exercises in the creation and basic management of SQL Server-based ArcSDE Geodatabases. An introduction to SQL Server databases will be provided, focusing on the SQL Server 2008 model. ArcSDE Technology will be introduced and basic concepts explored.

Additional lecture and exercises will cover the following topics:

  • How to create ArcSDE geodatabases.
  • The ArcSDE Repository “Under the Hood” - how SQL and SDE work together to manage geographic data sets.
  • Creating and Loading Data (vector and raster).
  • Managing users – how to create logins and grant access to data sets.
  • Versioning – how it works and how to manage correctly.
  • Replication – how it works and how to use correctly.
  • Managing spatial and attribute indexes.
  • Tuning the geodatabase.
  • Best practices for managing ArcSDE databases.
  • Advanced topics (time permitting).

Student questions will be welcomed and other related topics can be explored as time permits. As designed, the workshop will be conducted using SQL Server Express and Personal SDE licensing. While these types of databases do differ from full-blown Enterprise databases, most of the underlying concepts related to ArcSDE are the same. During the lecture, the instructor will make note of critical differences and demo accordingly (Instructor will have Enterprise SQL and SQL Express on their PC).

Registration: Contact Kathryn Brewer via email at to have a registration form sent to you. Reserve your spot early as space in this workshop is limited.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Essential Skills to Succeed in a GIS career

The list is long and diverse ... just like GIS. Thanks to Michalis Avraam for this great list!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mapping for Everyone - the ESRI way

Make a map the ESRI way ...

Much like the world of easy mapping Google has been dominating for years except the ESRI option allows turning on specific data sets like census information.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Geoprocessing with Python using Open Source GIS

Looks like a great class from Utah State University ... I hope to work through it soon ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

GIS Job Listing sites

GIS Lounge has a list of great sites for GIS related jobs. Check them out here:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fall classes 2009

Fall classes at A-B Tech start on Wednesday, August 19th - just a couple weeks away.

This semester we are offering the following classes:

GIS 111 Introduction to GIS - the following sections are available:
  • Section WN1 - Thursday nights from 6pm - 9:50pm
  • Section WD1 - Friday mornings from 8am - 11:50am
  • Section O1 - online - no meeting times
GIS 121 - Georeferencing and Mapping - offer on Tuesday nights from 6pm - 9:50pm (prereq of GIS 111)

GIS 215 - GIS Data Models - offered on M/W 8am - 9:50am (prereq of GIS 111)
Get started with GIS 111 this semester and you can finish the certificate in the spring semster.

Please share this information with anyone that may be interested and have them contact me with questions or to sign up.



Pete Kennedy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cartography as a career

A UK based paper did an article profiling cartography as a career. They highlight some of the skills needed and what to expect from a career in cartography. Of course, all people who study GIS are not necessarily going to be cartographers but every GIS person could use some skills in appropriately visualizing large amounts of GIS data so that other people can understand the data.

If you like maps, geography, have good design sense and are really sharp with computers ... consider taking our GIS classes and maybe one day becoming a cartographer.

OpenGeo Suite now has installer

Now in addition to the Live Bootable disk, OpenGeo Suite now has an installer that installs and configures the suite on your system. This is a great way to evaluate a great set of mapping tools. Currently included in the installer:

GeoServer (plus documentation)
GeoServer Data Importer (an automated shapefile importer)
GeoExplorer (plus documentation)
Getting Started Guide

Currently the installer is only for Windows but they have a lot of future plans for expanding this program.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summary of ESRI UC Response to questions

thanks to James Fee at Spatially Adjusted. He highlights some of the neat things coming in the future for ESRI and their GIS products...
  • support for the iPhone
  • connecting to spatial data types in RDBMS's without ArcSDE
  • continuing to support the world of desktop GIS
see the whole blog post here:


GIS Specialist

Reply to:
Date: 2009-06-25, 5:42PM

I.M. Systems Group, Inc. (IMSG) is currently looking to hire a GIS Specialist to perform a variety of GIS related duties for the NOAA National Climate Data Center (NCDC) located in Asheville, North Carolina. All work will be performed onsite at NCDC under the technical supervision of the NCDC GIS Services team leader and technical leader. This contract is funded by NCDC and through the NOS Coastal Services Center. This position is classified as a term position (12 months from date of hire) with renewal contingent upon availability of funds.
• Improve performance and enhance existing GIS map services.
• Management of production and development ArcSDE and ArcGIS servers.
• Development and maintenance of geospatial databases on an Oracle database server.
• System design and map service additions, such as:
1. Support and development for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) services
2. Support and development for the NOAA Climate Services Portal
3. Development for NCDC Climate Monitoring Branch products
4. Add GIS services for satellite and climate model data
5. Add GIS services for new in-situ based datasets and products
• Support development and production instances of GIS Portal Toolkit and other GIS metadata portal systems.
• Implement time components to OGC services as functionally supported. Ensure that NCDC datasets are presented in OGC formats.
• Enhance and extend existing and new GIS products, such as:
1. Develop interactive maps which support climate assessment goals, e.g., color-coded maps based on observations from monthly and daily summary data
2. Selection of station locations to be displayed based on inventory of the data (or color-coded based on data availability)—e.g, min of 5, 10, 20, etc years of data; only display stations with data for the current year; etc.
3. Color coding of station locations based on data sources available (e.g., daily-only vs. daily and hourly vs. daily, hourly, and upper air data).
4. Set filters such as elevation--e.g., stations above xx elevation or below xx elevation; or filter based on query of data--e.g., precipitation above xx value.
• Integration of additional dynamic display features, such as display 2D or 3D contour maps of data, display 2D or 3D plots of data, overlays of data from two or more data sets and flex and Flash-based software utilization.
• ESRI ArcGIS and related software experience required
• Geospatial database experience required, with Oracle experience desired
• Javascript experience required, with Java being a “plus” but not required
• GIS Services development experience in a World Wide Web environment, required
• Unix and/or Linux experience required
• ESRI Geoportal Toolkit experience desired
• Flex software experience desired
• Flash software experience would be a plus
(Please Note: Required experience indicates a minimum of 3 years experience in that area, with greater than 5 years being desired).

To Apply:
Please send your resume, contact information for three (3) references and a cover letter explaining how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position to with the following subject heading: NCDC09001 – GIS Specialist.
IMSG is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

  • Location: Asheville
  • Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Original URL:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Google adding trails to streetview

Apparently they are having people on bikes collecting streetview data ... how do I get that job?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Human Skin Map

Location-based attendance in college

Wow... using iPhones, GPS, router locations to take student attendance and ensure they are not logging into the class from home.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just in ... GIS summer STEP position

It's a little late since our students just finished up but check it out ...

Position Announcement: Due to available funds, student applicants are
invited to apply for the following 10-12 week summer position at Cape Cod
National Seashore, start date based on soonest availability.

Cartographic Technician (GIS)  -- Applicants must be continuing students
with proof of enrollment for Fall 2009 (STEP program)
SALARY RANGE: 16.06 USD Hourly
SERIES & GRADE: GS-1371-05/05
Applications will be accepted from United States citizens and nationals. A
background check will be required.

To apply send resume, qualifications and a statement of interest via email
or regular mail to be received by May 21, 2009 to 

Mark Adams
GIS Program
Cape Cod National Seashore
99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet MA 02667

Applicants will be required to provide a letter from their college or
university confirming enrollment for Fall 2009 term. A background
investigation is required which will take a minimum of 10 days.


The cartographic technician operates GIS software and hardware (ArcGIS 9.2
or equivalent) and GPS receivers to record, document and retrieve resource
information necessary for management of Cape Cod National Seashore. The
technician is supervised by the GIS specialist. Training is available as
needed and many tasks will be performed independently after training is
complete. Inputs spatial digital data to GIS and performs necessary
verification procedures. Plots data to meet NPS requirements for various
kinds of presentations. Assists in data management, data input, digitizing,
editing, and plotting. Maintains documentation for digital data and hard
copy files. Visits field sites to gather information with handheld GPS.


Solid computer skills, attention to detail, ability to follow instructions
and ability to carry out tasks independently are essential. Specialized
Experience in cartography or in a related field that has equipped the
applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform
successfully the duties of the position and that is typically related to
the work of the position to be filled.


Education – Substantial completion of a 4-year course of study leading to a
bachelor’s degree that included at least 18 semester hours in courses such
as cartography, relevant mathematical and statistical sciences, or related
sciences. e.g. physical geography, field biology, astronomy, geodesy,
photogrammetry, oceanography, computer science, land surveying, geophysics,
remote sensing, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.  Not more than 9 of
the 18 hours should have been in mathematics or statistics. Applicants must
be continuing in a bachelor's degree or graduate level program through

The following factors may also be considered:

1.      Knowledge of the operation and maintenance of GIS computers and
software, including scanners and plotters. Experience and/or training in
ESRI software (including ArcGIS version 9 or equivalent software)
preferred. Knowledge of methods for displaying geographic data, performing
basic spatial analyses and designing and producing final maps.

2.      Knowledge of the operation and use of mapping-grade GPS receivers,
and field data collection tools (e.g. field computers, total survey station
equipment, tape and compass), standard field mapping techniques, and
recording systems. Experience transferring data collected in the field to
GIS software applications in the lab.

3.      Basic understanding of the basic concepts, objective, and practices
of National Park Service operations including maintenance, resource
management, visitor protection, and interpretation.

Training and supervision will be provided as needed. The summer workplan
may include some or all of the following:

-- Assist with photo interpretation of intertidal areas
-- Search and acquire historical charts; digitize shoals and deltas
around Cape Cod barrier beaches
-- Create elevation data products from LIDAR datasets
-- Map underground utilities and other physical assets with GPS and
location-stamped photography
-- Assist with field surveys of nearshore bathymetry by boat
-- Scan and rectify historical aerial photography
-- GIS data server backups,  map requests from other Divisions, testing and
maintenance of Trimble and Garmin GPS units

Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Mark Adams
GIS Specialist
Cape Cod National Seashore
99 Marconi Site Rd
Wellfleet MA 02667
508-487-3262 x113
508-487-7153 fax

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Summer classes start soon

A-B Tech is offering 2 sections of GIS 111 - Introduction to GIS this summer. One course will be online and one course is seated an meets Tues/Thursday mornings at 8am - 10:50am.

The online course will, as always, require a very motivated and self-directed type learner. Is online right for you? Check out the A-B Tech Distance Education FAQ to answer your questions.

Classes begin May 26th and end August 4th.

This is a great opportunity to get started with the GIS Certificate at A-B Tech this summer. Once you get the Introduction to GIS class you'll be ready for the next 2 in the certificate.

Registration starts May 4th. Call or email to get signed up.

Pete Kennedy
pkennedy ( at)
828.254.1921 x289

Monday, April 27, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

North Carolina Arc User Group (NCAUG) Student Scholarships

The North Carolina Arc Users Group (NCAUG) is pleased to offer two student scholarships for
the 2009/2010 academic year.

Two awards will be made, each in the amount of $250.00.

Applications are due by May 31st, 2009.

More information here:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Workshop: Social Networking, Web 2.0 technologies and your business

It is too late to register online for this class however those interested can come to the class tomorrow and register at the time of the class. If anyone would like to come that has not registered, please email me ( so I can keep a count and know what to expect as far as attendance goes. The workshop is FREE.

Information is as follows:

1:00-3:00pm Wednesday February, 25th
A-B Tech Enka Campus, Haynes Building room 140

Social networking? What does it mean? How do you make sure you are connecting with your customers no matter where they are located? This workshop will provide information on creating a blog, issues to consider when you have an interactive site available to the world, and how to use different technologies to your advantage. (2 hrs)

Please help spread the work.

More information: 


Friday, February 13, 2009

thoughts on teaching geospatial ...

from ... not me but interesting none the less.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural 'magic map'

Being hailed as the fastest turn around of a non military satellite image ever - CNN shows the Washington DC mall with the crowd on a satellite image the same day as the inauguration

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How to get ArcGIS

One year evaluation version comes with this book for $33
Various student versions 
  • Students are eligible to purchase educational/research software licenses from ESRI upon our receipt of official documentation proving one of the following: (a) current enrollment in at least 6 units, (b) current membership in a graduate program, or (c) current enrollment in a GIS Certificate program. Acceptable documentation includes either a class schedule indicating the school's name, student's name, current term, and (a) number of credits / (b) graduate status / (c) GIS certificate program; or a letter from an advisor or department head, on school letterhead.  Using a schedule as verification, students may purchase anytime between two weeks before the start of the current term and two weeks before the end of the current term.  Graduate students may purchase anytime they are enrolled as long as they send in a letter instead of a class schedule.

    ArcView 3.3, ArcView 8.3, ArcView 9.2, ArcView 9.3 permanent license is available to educational users meeting the above requirements at $250 per license. Their extensions are also available at $150 each.  An alternative to the permanent license is a one-year time out license at $100. The ArcView one-year time out license includes Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst and Network Analyst; it does not include data disks or hard-copy documentation.  Students proving enrollment in just one GIS class worth at least 3 units can qualify for the time-out license.

    Please note that students are licensed to use this software for educational research purposes only. Internships and work performed for not-for-profit entities are NOT covered under the terms of this license. 

    Additionally, students can receive a 40% discount on Virtual Campus courses. For further information on the courses that are offered, please visit

    Students may fax or e-mail your proof of status to 909-307-3049 Attn: Educational Sales or or .  Please make sure a callback phone number and e-mail address are included!

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need more information.


    Sandra Lee Evich

    ESRI Education Telesales Representative

    (800) 447-9778 ext. 1720

    Fax: (909) 307-3049

Monday, January 5, 2009

Google map showing Balsam Computer Technology Center at A-B Tech

View Larger Map

Thoughts on your career in GIS: Do you want to be a GIS Professional or a Professional using GIS?

It seems to me, the GIS professional has split into 2 tracks and maybe more. When considering what you may do with your life and with GIS in your job, consider this.

In the workplace, there are GIS Professionals and there are Professionals who use GIS.

GIS Professionals are those people who work with GIS all day, every day (for the most part). They have job titles like GIS Technician, GIS Analyst or GIS Programmer. These type jobs are computer intensive and involve creating and maintaining datasets, updating of data, analysis, database design and implementation, integration of GIS with other information systems and more. People in these jobs will need a background in computer science as much as GIS so should consider other classes like programming and database design. Most people start as a technician and are promoted through the ranks to higher level GIS positions.

Professionals who use GIS are people who get a degree in something like Environmental Science, Forestry or Planning and will get a job in one of those fields but will most likely get the job (over someone else) because they can demonstrate a knowledge and proficiency in Geospatial Technologies. These are jobs like Environmental Technician for a consulting firm or Planner for a county or city.

There is a considerable amount of overlap and often someone might get a job with a consulting firm because of their GIS knowledge and paired with a scientist. Other jobs like E-911 Technician might not sound like a GIS job but many 911 Technicians spend a considerable amount of time updating the county street centerline GIS layer. Whatever you do, experience is key if you can volunteer at a conservation organization or consulting firm because there is no replacement for real-world experience. I may have some ideas on places you can volunteer and maybe even get a little money possibly.

Spring 2009 GIS classes start next week

Here's what we got ...

GIS 111 WD1 - Introduction to GIS - 8:00-11:50 am Friday mornings
GIS 111 WN1 - Introduction to GIS - 6:00-9:50pm Thursday nights
GIS 111 LO1 - Introduction to GIS -online section (only for self directed students that like online classes)
GIS 121 WD1 - Georeferencing and Mapping - 8:00-9:50am M/W
GIS 215 WN1 - GIS Data Models - 6:00-9:50pm Tuesday nights

** GIS 111 is a prerequesite for the other classes.

call or email to get signed up.