Monday, November 26, 2007

NASA’s DEVELOP Summer 2008

November 26, 2007

Dr. Matthew Clark
Sonoma State University

Dear Dr. Clark,

We are pleased to announce NASA’s DEVELOP Summer 2008
Internship Program for undergraduate and graduate students
with an interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
or Remote Sensing. This is a paid 10-week internship
program located at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain
View, California that begins June 9, 2008 (for semester
system) or June 16 (for quarter system).

DEVELOP is a NASA Science Mission Directorate Applied
Sciences Program that fosters human capital development to
extend science research to local communities. Student
teams research NASA science capabilities relevant to
community concerns, create and complete projects using
remote sensing and GIS techniques, and create advanced
computer generated visualizations demonstrating research
results. The activities are student-led, with mentors from
NASA and partner organizations.

A stipend will be provided for selected students. Housing
for students coming from outside the area will be provided
and is located near the DEVELOP facilities, with
accessible public transportation. The Program also covers
per diem and other travel costs for fieldwork conducted
during the Program.

Attached is a flyer to post in your department (note:
please be sure the “Scale to fit paper” box is checked in
the printer dialog). Applications must be postmarked by
February 4, 2008. Telephone interviews will be conducted
shortly after applications are received. Students selected
for a summer 2007 DEVELOP internship will be notified by
March 15, 2007.

For further information on the DEVELOP Internship Program
at NASA Ames Research Center, please access the National
Program website at: Please
don’t hesitate to phone or email me for more information
or clarification.


Cindy Schmidt
DEVELOP Program Coordinator
Tel: (650) 604-0021

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Personalize Google Maps

Here is a video that shows you how to easily create and share personalized, annotated maps in Google Maps. You can also load your custom maps in Google Earth.

Here is an example of a custom map of the San Francisco Bay oil spill.

View Larger Map

Flight Patterns

Data from the U.S. Federal aviation administration is used to create animations of flight traffic patterns and density. The Flight Patterns visualizations are the result of experiments leading to the project Celestial Mechanics by Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne. FAA data was parsed and plotted using the Processing programming environment. The frames were composited with Adobe After Effects and/or Maya.

This was not done with ArcGIS, but it is a great example of geospatial data visualization!

Better resolution and other movies at:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Obama for America GIS Intern

Posted Nov. 6, 2007

The Northern California HQ of the Barack Obama camapaign for President
is looking for some hardworking, dedicated GIS interns. Mapping plays
a very important role in our volunteer field operation (and more) so
we can use all the good help we can get. No money, lots of
responsibility and all of the intensity that a great presidential
campaign can offer. ArcGIS skills needed. Please contact Patrick
DeTemple, Obama for America California Data and Systems Manager.

Contact Information:


436 14th St. suite 305
Oakland CA 94216



Phone: 510-268-1008


Monday, August 20, 2007

Technology Reveals New Worlds to Map

August 12, 2007
Fresh Starts
Technology Reveals New Worlds to Map
MORE than a decade ago, when Michelle Boivin told her father she had decided to major in geography, he was not impressed. “What are you going to do with a geography degree?” she recalled him saying. “All you can do with geography is teach.”

Ms. Boivin proved her father wrong. She started her career in Charlotte, N.C., working with the city’s transportation department, tracking growth and helping to decide where to place new roads. Then, in Orange County in California, she used her skills with the fire authority to coordinate efforts of regional fire departments.

In her current job, Ms. Boivin, 30, does do some teaching, but not at a school. As a geographic information systems analyst with Technology Associates, she works with the military to gather and assess data to help manage military facilities on the West Coast, including Camp Pendleton in California, where she is based. At times she also teaches marines and contractors how to use mapping technology.

Where maps were once confined to paper and ink, G.I.S., or geographic information systems, now use computers and software to link maps and databases. The programs have many uses.

For example, a military base might use G.I.S. to layer information about flight zones, firing ranges and utility lines on a map when deciding where to put a new building, Ms. Boivin said.

Consider the days when the police used push pins to show where a murder had occurred. Today, that information is held on a computerized map that can easily be combined with other data and sent to officers and agencies.

Many jobs are with the government, but technological advances have also helped drive private-sector jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists G.I.S.-related jobs as among the fastest-growing new or emerging fields.

More companies see the value of G.I.S. services, and there are not enough people to fill all the available jobs, said Richard Serby, a founder of GeoSearch, which recruits people for jobs in mapping sciences.

There are jobs for entry-level technicians who input data, programmers who create ways to process it, analysts who make sense of it, and project managers who set goals and oversee work. Scott A. Grams, executive director of the G.I.S. Certification Institute in Park Ridge, Ill., says salaries have jumped in the last four to five years as the number and types of jobs have grown.

A 2006 survey by the group shows annual salaries starting at about $38,000 for a G.I.S. technician and rising to about $85,000 for a director. G.I.S. analysts make an average of about $50,000; those who work on contract average nearly $100,000, the survey found. But these are only reference points; experience and level of training are also factors.

The field is unregulated, Mr. Grams said, and the institute has created a voluntary accreditation program that establishes minimum criteria.

While several colleges have degree programs in G.I.S. professions, many people receive training on the job. Rob Glazier, a G.I.S. manager at the Walgreen Company in Deerfield, Ill., has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to seek a master’s in physical therapy, but then became interested in market research. While on the job with a health care company, he learned to use mapping software.

In 2005, he joined Walgreen as a G.I.S. manager and has been promoted to lead a team that focuses on health care. Among its responsibilities is analyzing data geographically to see where the company should put pharmacies in clinics. “G.I.S. is our primary tool for analyzing complicated business questions,” he said. “If there’s a geographic component to information, we can pull it out.”

Two other people are on his team. One, a medical geographer, has a master’s in G.I.S. The other has a background in strategic planning, and learned G.I.S. skills on the job. “I look for problem solvers,” Mr. Glazier said, “people who have creative ways of answering questions.”

Looking to put skills to work for the greater good, a group of professionals started the G.I.S. Corps, which is much like a Peace Corps for mapping professionals. Shoreh Elhami, a co-founder, says some projects take workers far from home, while other projects can be done from a volunteer’s living room.

THE corps is working with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which wanted five volunteers to help track accounts of atrocities in Darfur. Working from home, the volunteers use computers to mine databases and look for accounts of attacks, which are then mapped electronically.

One volunteer will leave soon for Afghanistan to work with Engineers Without Borders International, which requested a professional to train about 30 faculty members at Kabul Polytechnic University in G.I.S.

While she lived in Charlotte, Ms. Boivin volunteered in the gulf coast states after Hurricane Katrina, providing maps to groups like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross.

“This was something I always had dreamed of doing,” she said. “I loved it.” And she proved again that her geography skills could take her far beyond the university.

Fresh Starts is a monthly column about emerging jobs and job trends.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

November 14, 2007 is GIS Day

November 14, 2007 is GIS Day. The Santa Rosa ArcGIS Users Group is sponsoring an event in this area. This event will have a map gallery, presentations, and demonstrations. We would be interested in having student projects or projects you might have worked on being displayed/presented during this event.

Kevin Lacefield, GIS Programmer Analyst
County of Sonoma
Information Systems Department - GIS Central
phone: (707) 565-2109