New Pathway to a GIS Master’s Degree for Fleming College Graduates

Geomatics-Institute-at-FlemingFleming College graduates now have the option of completing a master’s degree at Vancouver Island University (VIU) – the first pathway of its kind for the college.

VIU and Fleming have signed an agreement that allows eligible graduates of Fleming’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) programs to enter the second year of VIU’s Master of GIS Applications program (MGISA).

“This agreement is ground-breaking for Fleming College. Vancouver Island University has acknowledged our 10-month program as equivalent to one year at the master’s degree level,” said Linda Skilton, Principal of Fleming’s Frost Campus and Dean of the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. “This pathway is extremely attractive to students as it reduces the time required to complete a graduate degree by one year. We believe this will pave the way for other universities to consider pursuing similar agreements with colleges.”

New Pathway to a GIS Master’s Degree for Fleming College Graduates

his agreement is ground-breaking for Fleming CollegeFleming’s GIS – Applications Specialist and GIS – Cartographic Specialist programs are 10-month graduate certificate programs within Fleming’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.

Both programs offer in-class or online delivery options. GIS students who attend Fleming come from all over Ontario and across Canada and have typically completed a four-year honours degree before pursuing graduate studies at the college.

Fleming was the first college in Ontario to offer GIS training more than 20 years ago. Its leadership in the field has been recognized by industry, government and business through their support in establishing the Geomatics Institute at Fleming. These partnerships provide students access to the latest computer hardware, software, data resources and field technology used in the industry as well as unprecedented learning and employment opportunities.

“As the GIS industry grows its base and its software becomes more technical, so too does the requirements in academic research. Through applied learning, those graduating Fleming will have a deep understanding of the GIS data and toolset,” said Shawn Morgan, Coordinator of Fleming’s GIS programs. “The VIU-Fleming agreement gives students an opportunity to fast track into the research portion of their master’s with that unique combination of skills, learned from a unique combination of academic and industry professionals.”

Logo-Vancouver-Island-universityVIU’s Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications (MGISA) is a two-year program divided into two stages. Stage 1, which Fleming students would be able to bypass under this new agreement, focuses on technical skills, while Stage 2 is the self-directed research portion and advanced technical training.

Both stages are available in a fully online or blended format. MGISA graduates can apply for positions other GIS students are not qualified for, such as senior GIS Analyst and GIS Manager positions, as well as research positions at universities and in the industry. Their starting incomes are likely to be higher than students who do not hold a master’s degree.

“In many government career tracks in particular, a master’s degree is often a requirement to qualify for more senior positions, and the MGISA program is therefore attracting students who already have a GIS position but are seeking to move up in their careers,” said Dr. Paul Zandbergen, MGISA Program Coordinator and Professor in the GIS Program. “VIU is excited about the agreement with Fleming’s GIS program since it increases the pool of potential applicants and promotes the program to students in Eastern Canada, who may not have previously looked at VIU for their graduate education.”

Fleming expects 10-15 GIS graduates – out of a total of about 60 – to apply for the competitive MGISA program. Click here for more information on the GIS programs at Fleming College, and click here for more details on VIU’s MGISA program.

About Fleming College
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 5,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 71,000 alumni.

About Vancouver Island University
Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, applied research and learning, Vancouver Island University (VIU) offers programs that include graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational programs and trades, as well as access programs. There are campuses in Nanaimo, Duncan and Powell River and a centre in Parksville-Qualicum. With roots that date back to 1936, today VIU is a dynamic, internationally known university supporting a student population of 18,000 learners, including 1,800 international students and approximately 2,000 Indigenous students.


Python for Everyone – Free Python Training

Python for Everyone – Free Python Training

Python was introduced by Esri in ArcGIS platform version 9, and since then, it has been widely accepted as the scripting language of choice for ArcGIS users everywhere and continues to grow in popularity as more geospatial users start to understand the benefits of python scripting.

Python is an easy to learn, powerful language… (with) high-level data structures and a simple but effective approach to          object oriented programming. Python’s elegant syntax and dynamic typing…make it an ideal language for scripting…in many areas and on most platforms.” –python.org

Python for EveryonePython for Everyone is a free online self paced training course provided by Esri designed to help GIS analysts, GIS technicians, GIS specialists, data processors, and anyone else who is new to python and wants to learn how to write python scripts to automate their ArcGIS tasks.

It introduces users to the fundamental of python concepts while exploring the python scripting environment found in ArcGIS. It provides tips and techniques to help users master proper python syntax, script flow, and error handling.

Python for Everyone Will Teach You How to:

  • Choose the Python scripting environment that meets your needs
  • Choose appropriate data types and apply Python syntax rules when writing a script
  • Quickly create a script to automate a geoprocessing task using a Python snippet
  • Label map features using a Python expression
  • Understand common types of errors that can occur in a script and how to correct them

The courses assumes that you have either completed the ArcGIS Introduction to GIS course (also online and free) or have equivalent GIS & ArcGIS knowledge. To complete the course exercises, you also need to have ArcGIS for Desktop and PythonWin 2.7.  PythonWin is available as a free download and Esri offers a free 60 day ArcGIS trial if you do not already have acces to it.

Click here for more details and to register: http://training.esri.com/gateway/index.cfm?fa=catalog.webCourseDetail&courseid=2520

Here are some other python resources you may be interested in:

Bring Spatial Skills to Canadian Children: Become a GIS Ambassador

Do you have a passion for geographic education and recognize the importance of understanding maps, GIS and spatial thinking? Then you should consider becoming a GIS Ambassador

“Spatial thinking involves understanding the relationships between objects based on location and learning the importance of answering the question “where” to understand “why” things occur. GIS technology helps develop spatial thinking by enabling people to visualize information as maps and see patterns and trends from within the data. To help bring spatial skills to children in K-12 schools across Canada, Esri Canada invites professional GIS users, educators and university and college students to volunteer their skills and knowledge through the Program.” [Esri Canada]

Bring Spatial Skills to Canadian Children, Become a GIS AmbassadorEsri Canada’s GIS Ambassador program was designed to inspire geospatial minded people to work together with educators and youth organizations to help them better encourage young people to understand, use and do more with geographic information.

As of April 2016, more than 930 schools have registered into the GIS Ambassador program and more than 125 volunteers have signed up to become GIS Ambassadors (including Esri Canada staff, university & college students, geospatial professionals and many more) – see the map below …

Who can become a GIS Ambassador?

Anyone who recognizes the significance of geography and has an interest in helping young people can join. As a GIS Ambassador you volunteer to work with a school, classroom or a club / organization and provide support that can help educators and youth develop geographic thinking skills.

The program is always looking for new people, so consider volunteering some of your time to help engage the next generation of GIS specialists allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. For more details visit http://esri.ca/en/content/gis-ambassador-program or contact k12@esri.ca

Get involved in your community by supporting schools and local youth groups as they explore their world using GIS.

Geomatics Acronyms and Abbreviations

[List updated May 2016] Geomatics has become a pretty common term in Canada lately and includes many different disciplines such as  geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, cartography, land surveying, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), photogrammetry, geography and other related forms of spatial mapping.

Using acronyms and abbreviations is commonly practiced in the Geomatics industry and most of the time people just assume that everybody else knows what every acronyms and abbreviation stands for. Well that is obviously not the case most of the time and over the years I have created myself a little digital cheat-sheet of geomatics acronyms and abbreviations that I use with my work in my writing.

Here is a large collection of common acronyms and abbreviations that you may when working in the Canadian Geomatics industry.

Canadian GIS Education Programs Map

Are you looking for GIS education programs in Canada? Check out some of these College and Universities across Canada that are offering GIS programs or Geography programs with GIS disciplines. You can reveal the schools contact info by clicking on any of the points. A small window will open up, click the small right arrow in the window to reveal the info (clicking the down arrow will bring you back to the map).


View Larger Map

The Amazing MapMan coloring book

The Amazing Map Man coloring book

To help encourage kids to get more involved in GIS Day, Esri has provided a free digital coloring book featuring The Amazing MapMan. He shows kids, teens, and adults how GIS can be used to save the day.

Download your free digital copy of the Amazing MapMan today …

 

[originally published: Sept 2015]

ArcMap Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

ArcGIS tips and shortcuts

The following video is a recording of a technical workshop presented at the 2013 Esri International User Conference featuring Jack Horton & Jorge Ruiz-Valdepena from Esri, that provides some great tips and tricks for working with ArcMap.

It is great little presentation that provides great information for almost all levels of users from beginners to experienced, with topics including: map navigation tips and tricks, keyboard shortcuts, customization, magnifier window, creating symbols, modifying existing symbols, working with map layers, layer files, python scripting and much more.

Many of the shortcuts they mention in the presentation can also be found in this helpful summary document: http://www.esri.com/library/brochures/pdfs/arcgis-desktop-tips.pdf

 

Canadian Cartographic Association Student Mapping Competition

Canadian Cartographic Association Student Mapping Competition

Canadian Cartographic Association Student Mapping CompetitionAre you a University or College student passionate about mapping? Then you will want to participate in the 2015-16 Canadian Cartographic Association Student Mapping Competition. Chances are you have already made some great maps for your projects or course work, so why not submit a copy to the CCA Student Mapping Competition and get recognized for creating your spatial master piece while earning some cash at the same time.

CCA President’s Prize

The CCA President’s Prize recognizes excellence in student map design and production and is open to all post-secondary students who have completed and produced a cartographic project in the preceding school year. The year’s President’s Prize Competition will consist of two prizes of $250, one for entries from college-level or CEGEP students, and one for entries from university-level students in the thematic map category:

A thematic map is a map that is meant to communicate a specific single subject matter within a particular geographic area. They are often defined as special purpose maps and can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature. The International Cartographic Association (ICA) defines the thematic map this way: “A map designed to demonstrate particular features or concepts. In conventional use this term excludes topographic maps” (Dent 1999, 8).

The cartographic project will consist of a single map. There are no restrictions on size but the project must have been completed and produced during the school year preceding the competition. Cartographic projects will consist of a map or a map series forming a coherent whole and may be submitted in any finished form (on paper or other medium). Entries submitted in electronic media, whether GIS or internet mapping applications, should not require specialized software for viewing.

Each entry must be accompanied by a clCanadian Cartographic Association Student Mapping Competitionear and succinct statement of design objectives that will weigh heavily in the judges’ decision. In addition, entries will be judged on the basis of creativity and overall effectiveness in communication as well as excellence in compilation, design, and layout. Students must be enrolled at a Canadian University or College to be eligible to submit their maps made in the 2014/15 academic year. Deadline for submission is May 20, 2016.

Carto-Québec Prize

The Carto-Quebec prize is a special annual competition for the best student-authored cartographic product created in French. Theaward has been established through a gift from the former Association Carto-Québec to promote and recognize excellence in map design.

The competition is open to all post-secondary students in Canada who have completed and produced a cartographic project in the preceding school year. The Carto-Québec Prize will consist of two awards of $500, one for entries from college-level or CEGEP students, and one for entries from university-level students. The Carto-Quebec prize must be in French. Deadline for submission is May 20, 2016.

Carte soumissions pour ce concours suivent les mêmes lignes directrices que le Prix du Président, mais sont nécessaire pour être en français. Remarque: Pour les deux concours, tous les étudiants inscrits dans une université ou un collège canadien sont admissibles à soumettre leurs cartes faites dans l’année scolaire 2014/15. Date limite de soumission est le 20 mai 2016.

Download the Student Mapping Competition entry form here 

the Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)

Over the past few years the term GISP (geographic information systems professional) has become pretty popular as more and more geospatial professionals look for a way to demonstrate that they have become more established in their geomatics careers. We originally published this article after applying for GISP certification ( after several years of putting it off and procrastinating) so we could document the process involved as a way to help others who have considered but not yet applied for certification.

Since then I have received my GISP certificate and there has been some major changes made to the GISP certification process by the GIS Certification Institute, so we have included details about the changes below the original article.

[We are always interested to hear from those that have applied for GISP so if you want to share anything about it then let us know. It is always a debatable topic in GIS themed social networking groups].GISP

A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional who has met the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice as established by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). Thousands of professionals in GIS & Geomatics (mostly in the US) have obtained certification and are currently making the most of it to help achieve career aspirations.

There are many benefits to obtaining a GISP

Employers have started recognizing GISP certification and some are starting to prefer (and sometimes require) professionals with GISP certification when they have a GIS position that needs to be filed. A recent survey done showed that employees who have certification on the average earn more than their counterparts who do not. Still, the geomatics sector needs to emphasis the importance of GIS certification much more before the real value of having a GISP becomes recognized by the geospatial community.

It is not just in the area of earnings and wages that having a GISP certification is beneficial. A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional Many certified professionals say that the process of getting themselves certified was extremely helpful. Some have even said that the certification helped them to not only advance their careers but to redefine it as well. They are rightfully proud of their accomplishment and feel that the certification will only continue to become more valuable as time goes by, as it is the most recognized certification for a person in the GIS field.

To qualify for the GISP certification, you must meet certain benchmarks in your education and professional experience set forth by the GISCI, as well as various contributions to the profession.

The application itself is point-based; you will be given points for different and specific activities in the three categories under consideration. After you have gotten to the minimum point requirement and you have worked for at least four years in the GIS industry, you can then submit you application and start on the process to become a certified GIS Professional.

At first glance the Application may seem Intimidating

The first thing to do is download the application form from the GISCI website. my GISP ApplicationYour first glance at the application may be intimidating (as the GISCI application process can be rather lengthy and often confusing), however if you have any problems along the way, the GISCI are willing to help. Downloading the form is the simple part. You can either fill it electronically (with PDF version) or you can print it out and fill it out.  I imported the application into a word document and typed all my information into it so that it looked more professional when it came time to print it.

Next, read through the GISCI Code of Ethics & Rules of Conduct Acknowledgment Form, a document that explains the organization (and you as its certified professional) code of ethics and rules of conduct. It is mandatory to sign an acknowledgement form and include it with your application.

GISP certificate and GISP pinThe GISCI Procedures Manual should be your next stop, it takes you through the preparation for the application process systematically. There are great tips on the first couple of pages that will benefit you throughout the process. The rest of the document takes you through each component of the application. It is advisable to have your application on hand at the same time so that you can review both documents.

The bulk of the work involved in filling out your application is gathering the necessary data. You will need to not just be able to answer, in detail, questions about your education, professional experience, and professional contributions but also to provide documentation that supports the information you included in the application. This was a challenging task for myself as I moved several times over my career and lost documents along the way.

I would recommend that people start scanning and saving copies of certificates, receipts, badge tags, etc. that can be used in the application as you get them and not wait till it comes time to apply. After sending in the application, we received digital confirmation that the application was received, and then about 4 to 5 months latter a GISP certificate and pin arrived in the mail.

After your certification as a GISP, you are required to re-certify every five years. All you need for the re-certification is too prove that you continued working in or participating in the field of GIS. The components are also similar to the original certification application component. They are; Course and Conference (the educational), Contributions to the Profession and Work Experience. Renewing your certification should be a walk in the park provided you have remained active in the geomatics industry.

GISP certification now requires a Technical Exam

Apply for your GISPAs of July 1, 2015, people applying for the GISP certification will be required to take and pass a GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam, as well as meet all the current standards for certification via a portfolio based review based on ethics agreement, education, experience, and professional contributions.

The new GISP certification process will incur a $ 100 application fee, $ 250 exam fee, and a $ 100 portfolio review fee and individuals will be certified for a 3 year period instead of 5 years. Annual renewal fees of $ 95 will be due on the anniversary of an individuals initial certification and be required to be paid in full prior to re-certification. All professionals that were GISP certified or recertified before July 1, 2015 will remain certified under the current 5 year policy and then begin the new 3-year renewal process after that. See GISCI.org for exact details on fees and procedures.

There are 342 registered GISPs in Canada

According to the GISP Registry on the GISCI website there are now 8110 people who have qualified for GISP certification and 94% of those are from the USA.  In Canada there are 342 GISPs registered (119 Ontario, 111 Alberta, 78 British Columbia, 9 Saskatchewan, 7 Manitoba, 7 Nova Scotia, 4 Quebec, 4 New Brunswick, 1 Newfoundland, 1 PEI & 1 Nunavut).


[A GISP is not the only recognized certification program in the GIS industry, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics & Esri both have certification programs as well].

New Survey Training Program for GIS Grads

New Survey Training Program for GIS Grads

Survey Training Program for GIS Grads

This year, GoGeomatics is launching a brand new geomatics training program in Canada with some great benefits for both graduates and industry in the Canadian geospatial sector.

The 4-6 week entry level Survey Training Program will help retrain qualified GIS and geography graduates to work in the highly lucrative, in-demand field of surveying.

Best of all the new GoGeomatics survey training program will be free for all participants, and will also guarantee students a geomatics job when they have successfully completed the program.

More details about the program including how to apply can be found here

Benefits to GIS graduates:Survey Training Program for GIS Grads

  • Sponsored tuition
  • Sponsored room-and-board
  • Guarantee of a job when you graduate
  • Exciting, lucrative career path in Canada’s geospatial industry

Benefits to Geomatics Industry:

  • A curriculum tailored to your needs
  • Two positions: Field and Office Technician
  • Highly motivated recruits
  • Commitment of a fixed work term (minimum 1 year)
  • Take the uncertainty out of your HR costs