Celebrating the First Set of Google Geo Education Awardees and Announcing Round Two

Posted by Dave Thau, Senior Developer Advocate

Google’s GeoEDU Outreach program is excited to announce the opening of the second round of our Geo Education Awards, aimed at supporting qualifying educational institutions who are creating content and curricula for their mapping, remote sensing, or GIS initiatives.

If you are an educator in these areas, we encourage you to apply for an award. To celebrate the first round of awardees, and give a sense of the kind of work we have supported in the past, here are brief descriptions of some of our previous awards.

Nicholas Clinton, Tsinghua University
Development of online remote sensing course content using Google Earth Engine

Nick is building 10 labs for an introductory remote sensing class. Topics include studying electromagnetic radiation, image processing, time series analysis, and change detection. The labs are being taught currently, and materials will be made available when the course has been completed. From Lab 6:

Let’s look at some imagery in Earth Engine.  Search for the place ‘Mountain View, CA, USA.’  What the heck is all that stuff!?  We are looking at this scene because of the diverse mix of things on the Earth surface.
Add the Landsat 8 32-day EVI composite.  What do you observe?  Recall that the more vegetative cover the higher the index.  It looks like the “greenest” targets in this scene are golf courses.
Let’s say we don’t really care about vegetation (not true, of course!), but we do care about water.  Let’s see if the water indices can help us decipher our Mountain View mystery scene.

Dana Tomlin, University of Pennsylvania
Geospatial Programming: Child’s Play

Dana is creating documentation, lesson plans, sample scripts, and homework assignments for each week in a 13-week, university-level course on geospatial programming. The course uses the Python computer programming language to utilize, customize, and extend the capabilities of three geographic information systems: Google’s Earth Engine, ESRI’s ArcGIS, and the open-source QGIS.

Declan G. De Paor, Old Dominion University
A Modular Approach to Introducing Google Mapping Technologies into Geoscience Curricula Worldwide

Declan’s award supports senior student Chloe Constants who is helping design Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Engine modules for existing geoscience coursework, primarily focused on volcanic and tectonic hazards, and digital mapping. Declan and Chloe will present the modules at faculty development workshops in person and online. They see GME/GEE as a terrific way to offer authentic undergraduate research experiences to non-traditional geoscience students.

Mary Elizabeth Killilea, New York University
Google Geospatial Tools in a Global Classroom: “Where the City Meets the Sea: Studies in Coastal Urban Environments”

Mary and the Global Technology Services team at NYU are developing a land­ cover change lab using Google Earth Engine. NYU has campuses around the world, so their labs are written to be used globally. In fact, students in four campuses around the globe are currently collecting and sharing data for the lab. Students at their sites analyze their local cities, but do so in a global context.

One group of students used Android mobile devices to collect land use data in New York’s Battery Park.
While others in the same course collected these points in Abu Dhabi. Upon collection, the observations were automatically uploaded, mapped, and shared.

Scott Nowicki and Chris Edwards, University of Nevada at Las Vegas
Advanced Manipulation and Visualization of Remote Sensing Datasets with Google Earth Engine

Scott and Chris are taking biology, geoscience, and social science students on a field trip to collect geological data, and are generating screencast tutorials to show how these data can be queried, downloaded, calibrated, manipulated and interpreted using free tools including Google Earth Engine. These tutorials may be freely incorporated into any geospatial course, and all the field site data and analyses will be publicly released and published, giving a full description of what features are available to investigate, and how best to interpret both the remote sensing datasets and ground truth activities.

Steven Whitmeyer and Shelley Whitmeyer, James Madison University
Using Google Earth to Model Geologic Change Through Time

Steven and Shelley are building exercises for introductory geoscience courses focusing on coastal change, and glacial landform change. These exercises incorporate targets and goals of the Next Generation Science Standards. They are also developing tools to create new tectonic reconstructions of how continents and tectonic plates have moved since Pangaea breakup. Some of the current animations are available here and here.

We hope this overview of previous award recipients gives you a sense for the range of educational activities our GeoEDU awards are supporting. If you are working on innovative geospatial education projects, we invite you to apply for a GeoEDU award.

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No Western Fort is complete without the Red Indians. Ever wonder why they are called that?

continued from previous post

Wild West forts weren’t built to withstand sieges, simply because the Natives had no opportunity to use artillery or even massed assaults (except for very rare situations). The Army had no need to prepare for any sort of large scale battle, and instead needed to construct something that could at least keep the Natives out as well as to secure an area and give a location that soldiers and civilians could retreat to if necessary.

Besides the fort itself and soldiers, Playmobil 5245 Western: Fort Brave set also came with two Native Americans and their horse, plus weapons. The horse is different from that of the United States Cavalry and both American Indians are not identical.

Indigenous peoples of the United States are commonly known as Native Americans or American Indians, and Alaskan Natives. The European colonization of the Americas forever changed the lives and cultures of the peoples of the continents. Although the exact pre-contact population of the Americas is unknown, scholars estimate that Native American populations diminished by between 80 and 90% within the first centuries of contact with Europeans. Native Americans suffered high mortality rates due to their lack of prior exposure to these diseases. The loss of lives was exacerbated by violence on the part of colonists who frequently perpetrated massacres on the indigenous groups and enslaved them. (source: wiki)

Red Indians are now known as Native American or American Indians. The origin of the term “Red Man” is not clear. Native Americans are known to have a copperish or brownish hue although some Native Americans can get sunburn and turn redish. Many tribes did paint themselves for war and red may have been the most popular color to indicate tribes intention for combat. Other sources say red referred to the bloody scalps of victims.
Playmobil Red Indians also came with flaming arrows. In reality, flaming arrows aren’t as simple as just lighting the end of an arrow on fire and shooting it. It requires covering the end in cloth and oil before dipping it in fire and lighting it up.
Extra accessories include flames and additional plant / shrub.

Related posts:
September 14, 2007 – Wild Wild West 3: Indians posted HERE
August 17, 2008 – Dragon Models Limited DML “Windtalkers (2002)” movie 1/6 scale USMC Code Talker Private Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach) 12-inch figure reviewed HERE
August 19, 2008 – G.I. Joe 1/6 scale Navajo Code Talker 12-inch figure (pictures HERE)

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Last day for enjoying early bird discount for our 3rd GraphLab Conference!

GraphLab Conference 2014
We have just started to organize our 3rd user conference on Monday July 21, 2014 at the Nikko Hotel, SF. This is a very preliminary notice to attract companies and universities who like to be involved. We are planning a mega event this year with around 800-900 data scientists attending, with the topic of graph analytics and large scale machine learning.
The conference is a non-profit event held by GraphLab.org to promote applications of large scale graph analytics in industry. We invite talks from all major state-of-the-art systems for graph processing, graph databases and large scale data analytics and machine learning. We are looking for sponsors who would like to contribute to the event organization.
Preliminary talks:
Preliminary demos:
Dr. Ari Tuchman: Beyond Sentiment and Buzz: Extracting the Answers that Matter Though Predictive Correlations from Unstructured Chatter
Paul Hoffman: Large Scale Machine Learning on Sparse Graphs
Dr. Jans Aasman, CEO, Franz Inc. Drag and Drop Graph Query Generator
Dr. Zhisong FuMike Personick, and Bryan Thompson: Ultra fast graph mining on GPUs.
Tristan Zajonc and Anand PatilSense
Dr. David Talby: Beyond ML basics: Localized, evolving, hybrid & automated modeling at scale
Simon Chan: An Open Source Machine Learning Server for Developers
Adam Fuchs, CTO Sqrrl: How To Build Secure, Massively Scalable Graphs with Sqrrl
Dr. Steven Hillion, Alpine Data Labs:
Fast classification algorithms on Hadoop
Jacob Nelson: Grappa graph engine
Prof. Joshua Bloom, wiso.io: Machine-learning Driven Automated Insight Workflows
Dr. Matthias BroechelerTitan – Scalable Graph Computing in Real-time and Offline
Prof. Eric Xing: Petuum – a new distributed machine learning framework
Corey Lanum, General Manager of North America, Cambridge Intelligence: How to make useful interactive graph visualizations
Dr. Ira Cohen, HP Software: Scaling the data scientist
Brendan Madden, Tom Sawyer Software: TBA
Dr. Jason Riedy, Georgia Tech: STING: High-Performance Analysis for Streaming Graph Data
Dr. Hassan Chafi, Oracle: Graph Analytics Research at Oracle Labs
Dr. Achim Rettinger, EPPICS: Cross-lingual Cross-modal Analytics of Dynamic Graphs
Corinna Bahr, Continuum.io: Agile Data Exploration & Visualization with Blaze and Bokeh
Graphistry Leo Meyerovich, Graphistry: Scaling Visualization with Design and GPUs
Domino Data Labs Nick Elprin: Domino Data Labs
Dr. Fernando Perez, Berkeley: IPython: from interactive computing to computational narratives
Dr. Linas Baltrunas and Dr. Dionysos Logothetis:, Telefonica Research:Grafos.ml: Tools for large scale ML and graph analysis
Ms. Raquel PauSparsity Technologies: Tweeticer, Social Network Analysis with graphs using Sparksee.
SriSatish Ambati, co-founder and CEO: TBA
Jonathan Dinu, CTO Zipfian Academy: TBA
Demian Bellumio, COO Senzari: MusicGraph
Sutanay Choudhury, Pacific Northwest National Lab: M&Ms4Graphs: Multi-scale, Multi-dimensional Graph Analytics Tools for Cyber-Security
Michael Zeller, CEO Zementis: Accelerate predictive analytics with massively parallel scoring
Sébastien Heymann CEO and Jean Villedieu Co-founder, Linkurious: How can graph visualization help understand graphs faster?
Richard Socher, Stanford: etcML project
MongoDB: TBA
Amit MoranCrosswise: TBA

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BIPV Boom or Bust?

Who still out there believes in building integrated photovoltaics? (BIPV) I follow a few people on twitter who are still loyal to the cause and I know several companies who are confident that their product will be the one that hits it big.  The reason I bring this up is that this past week I saw a news report that Heliatek reached a new world record in efficiency with its transparent solar cells.  I chuckled because back in my past life I was involved with a product, not too different than the Heliatek one that I believed and still believe could have been the game changer.  So the effort is still ongoing yet here we are 5 or 6 years later and BIPV is not near the mainstream yet.  Will it get there?  I still believe that here’s too many parts of the building not active and that with the push for net zero and net positive, BIPV is a must.  The question is when will the right product, with the right efficiency and at the right price of course, come to fruition?


–  Meanwhile the numbers for traditional solar installations have hit some interesting strides.  In 2013 solar generating capacity beat wind-generating capacity for the first time.  By 2023 solar is expected to dwarf wind- almost doubling its output.  What’s the reason?  Major utilities are jumping on board and pushing it.  Clean energy is undoubtedly something that has not seen anywhere near its potential yet.

–  Congrats to my good friend Mike Dishmon of Virginia Glass Products on his recent appointment of VP of Sales and Marketing.  Mike’s a great and talented person who will do tremendous things there.

–  Last week I wrote on VUCA and all week I heard from various people their thoughts and opinions on it.  The main theme was no one had heard of VUCA before and now that they’ve heard of it, they are fascinated by it.  I have to admit I am too… really interesting mindset to have.

–  Speaking of mindsets, I have to laugh every time the NFRC has meeting now.  Their meetings have blogs, reports and now even video reviews.  My laughter comes from a great memory of being at an NFRC meeting and hearing a board member say in front of the entire audience to “be careful what you say as it may end up on a blog somewhere” and trust me she didn’t say it in a nice way… anyway, years later, its pretty wild to see them trying to communicate in all of these ways they once demonized.  Then again they are smart enough now to realize that doing their own blogs and videos means they control the message…. Man that Tom Herron is a smart one. 

–  The Architectural Billings Index was a little flat last month, but given how insanely bad the weather has been and pretty much across the board complaints on the effect the weather has had on building, its not a surprise.  I believe good things are still to come.

–  Spring however will not be coming.  I’m convinced of that. I just think we’ll go right from winter into next winter.


–  What happens when you are reported dead but not really dead?
–  Not sure why parents want to party with their teen children. 
–  This is the dumbest thing ever.

If you have dogs you have been there when they get spooked by the oddest things.  Here’s one that is thrown by a leaf… and oh this video… more than a million views!  People love dogs… and dog videos!!

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Noi emigranti dimenticati

Son passati cento anni da quando i nostri bisnonni sono emigrati in tutte le parti del mondo e pare che nessuno più lo ricordi. Anzi. Oggi che gli emigranti sono altri, si sfodera tutto il repertorio del “miglior” razzismo. 

La memoria di quell… Continua a leggere

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