Category Archives: Education

Happy Earth Observation Day!

Gregg Hadish gave a great presentation about the Iowa Geographic Map Server to celebrate Earth Observation Day.  It was a hands-on demonstration of the Iowa Geographic Map Server ArcGIS App which meant participants could follow along as he explained the various features and functions of the map server. Gregg also showed participants how to leverage map server layers within their own ArcGIS Online organizational accounts and basics for creating their own apps. 

Thank you, Gregg for a great demo! 

Here are some pictures from our Earth Observation Day event.

Checking out the new statewide 1 ft color infrared imagery in the web app.

Gregg giving an introduction to the Iowa Geographic Map Server.

Showing a historical layer – 1880s Andreas Atlas.



ITAG 2018 :: June 12-15, 2018 :: West Des Moines, IA

This week we are highlighting a number of upcoming geospatial conferences and the organizations that they representing.  Conferences are a moment to learn something new, hear about great work that our colleagues are doing, find opportunities for collaboration, share knowledge, and have fun.

ITAG is the Iowa Technology And Geospatial Conference.  The ITAG conference is a joint effort between the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) and the Iowa Counties Information Technology (ICIT) organizations.  This conference is unique, in that it offers two GIS tracks and two information technology (IT) tracks. This is helpful as many GIS professionals are also involved with IT as part of their job.  This is the second year of the joint conference.

ITAG is June 13-15, 2018 at the West Des Moines Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines, Iowa.  There are pre-conference workshops on June 12.  For registration information, click here.  For a detailed agenda, click here.     

UMGEOCON 2018 :: May 23-24, 2018 :: LaCrosse, Wisconsin

This week we are highlighting a number of upcoming geospatial conferences and the organizations that they representing.  Conferences are a moment to learn something new, hear about great work that our colleagues are doing, find opportunities for collaboration, share knowledge, and have fun.

The Upper Midwest Geospatial Conference 2018 (UMGEOCON 2018) has been touted as being the only geospatial conference in the nation to be hosted by multiple state and regional associations. Those organizations (click on an organization to learn more) include: the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing – Western Great Lakes RegionGeospatial Information & Technology AssociationIowa Geographic Information CouncilIllinois GIS AssociationMinnesota GIS/LIS ConsortiumSharedGeo, and Wisconsin Land Information Association.  This conference is an opportunity to meet with people from different states and discuss what is working well and what could be improved.  LaCrosse, Wisconsin is also a beautiful conference location, nestled in the Driftless Region of the Upper Midwest along the Mississippi River. One of our own AmericaView members, Dr. Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, will providing a keynote address entitled, Into the Future We Go.

UMGEOCON 2018 will be held on May 23-24, 2018 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin at the UW-LaCrosse campus. Registration is $195 for regular registration and $50 for students.

For more information about the conference agenda, click here. Register here!

FOSS4G NA :: May 13-17, 2018 :: St. Louis, Missouri

This week we are highlighting a number of upcoming geospatial conferences and the organizations that they representing.  Conferences are a moment to learn something new, hear about great work that our colleagues are doing, find opportunities for collaboration, share knowledge, and have fun.

FOSS4G NA stands for Free and Open Source Software for(4) Geospatial North America 

FOSS4G is hosted by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) which is a non-profit non-governmental organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. It brings together all the members of the open source community – developers, contributors, extenders, users, teachers, service providers, consumers, and business and research organizations to learn from, collaborate, and communicate with each other.  This is a great opportunity to learn something new, ask questions, and make new connections.

This year FOSS4G NA is being held in St. Louis, Missouri, from May 13-16, 2018 with a fourth optional day May 17 devoted to Workshops and a Code Sprint.  To view the schedule, click here.  If you are interested in register, click here.

The FOSS4G community is global, there will be the world-wide conference this year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in August 2018.

MAGIC Conference :: April 23-26 :: Omaha, NE

This week we will be highlighting a number of upcoming geospatial conferences and the organizations that they representing.  Conferences are a moment to learn something new, hear about great work that our colleagues are doing, find opportunities for collaboration, share knowledge, and have fun.

Today the spotlight is on the MidAmerica GIS Consortium (MAGIC) – which is celebrating their 30th birthday this year.  Their first conference was held in 1988.  MAGIC is a volunteer run organization dedicated map-making, location services, and data development.  The organization officially includes nine states in its region: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.    

The conference will be held April 23 – 26, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska at the Omaha Doubletree Hotel. This conference offers a number of fantastic half day and full day technical workshops on wide variety of topics including unmanned aerial systems (UAS), python, R, ModelBuilder, legal issues in GIS, spatial statistics, and many others.  The conference will include sessions ranging from environmental remediation to city and county GIS to law enforcement to software innovations and tricks. ESRI also brings their Mobile Lab so you can brush up on your ArcGIS skills. To find out more, see the detailed schedule, click here.  Past MAGIC symposiums have included festivities such as fireworks, amazing prizes from vendors, and great food.  Come for the learning, stay for the fun!

  • Full Conference: $425, $525 after March 23
  • Student Registration: $150

Early registration ends March 23, so register today!  REGISTER HERE!!! 

AmericaView Mini-grant: Iowa BMP Mapping Project Handbook and Tutorials Available!

IowaView received a mini-grant from AmericaView to create a handbook and tutorials documenting the Iowa Best Management Practices (BMP) Mapping Project. The handbook and tutorials are now available!



Earth Observation Day – Thursday, October 12, 2017

This year for Earth Observation Day we had a mini mapathon and a speaker.  Our mapathon efforts focused on a project  in Puerto Rico that was mapping features as part of the Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.  Then Daryl Herzmann presented about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM), a storehouse and distribution center for weather, satellite, and transportation data for the US. Daryl gave a brief history of IEM along with highlighting many of its uses. Click here to view Daryl’s powerpoint. 

Coming Soon! Earth Observation Day – Thursday, October 12, 2017

You are invited to the annual Earth Observation Day celebration in Durham 248 from 11am to 1pm on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

From 11am-12pm, we will be having a mapping event focused on humanitarian mapping projects in areas hit by recent natural disasters.  Bring your lunch and stay from 12-12:30, we will have a guest lecture from Daryl Herzmann about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, a website which collects and displays environmental data for Iowa from various sources including Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Department of Transportation, National Weather Service, and Iowa State University – Agronomy. Read more about the Iowa Mesonet here:

Please come and go as you are able. If you are interested in joining us, please fill out the RSVP form ( so we can plan for computer space and chairs. Please spread the word. Thank you, I hope you can join us!  

Start Your Future Here – Part I

Recently, the ISU GIS Facility, in partnership with AmericaView, hosted two workshops as part of the 2017 Iowa 4-H State Conference, “Start Your Future Here.”  This conference is a good opportunity for students to try something new.   This was the third year that IowaView has participated in the 4-H conference. For many 4-Hers, this was their first experience with mapping and GIS. We offered two different workshops this year. One workshop was focused on GIS and mapping using the ESRI platform and the other workshop was focused on learning to use Open Street Map for assisting with humanitarian projects.

The first workshop, “Start Your Mapping Adventure Here,” was an introduction to GIS and mapping.  During the session students were presented with the basics of GIS and creating a map.  Then 4-Hers were able to complete several hands-on project to illustrate various mapping products.  

Examples of Park Map Designs

Students used ArcGIS Online to interact with and make sense of a news article about the migration crisis from Tunisia to the Italian island of Lampedusa. They learned how to use tools in ArcGIS Online to answer question related to the article. Some of the tools they explored included the Find box to quickly navigate to places on the map, map notes to mark locations on the map, and how to change basemap imagery to reveal different facets of a place by examining topography and photography. This exercise was based on an exercise found in an ESRI teacher training: “Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom.”

Next participants were divided into small groups and tasked with using ArcMap desktop to create a map of a new city park which they were asked to design. Through this exercise students learned how to navigate desktop, edit and remove features and then create a map and map properties (legend, north arrow, title.)  See examples of their maps to the right. The idea for this exercise came from materials put out by the National 4-H Council as part of a 2013 National Youth Science Day: Maps and Apps Activities.  The exercise suggested having students manually create layers on paper but we wanted to infuse the activity with technology and introduce 4-Hers to ArcMap.  

Finally, we explored several Story Maps from a very basic map to a multi-media interactive map. Here are two other great Story Maps examples showing to additional styles: the spyglass and cascade.   This gave the 4-Hers exposure to another mapping medium and possibly a way to display data for school projects or 4-H projects.

To learn more about the 4-H conference, check out this link to an article from the Alliance for Iowa State: State 4-H Conference Offers Teens a Complete Iowa State Experience, 6/28/2017.    

Earth Week 2017: Adopt the Planet

Happy Earth Week! This year NASA has created unique opportunity just in time for Earth Day for interested participants to “Adopt the Planet.”  There are 64,000 locations available from adoption.    

Credit: NASA

When you visit the website you can fill in your name and then receive a certificate with your adopted patch of Earth.  The adoption certificate gives you specific coordinates of your location on our globe as well as satellite data layers relevant to your piece of Earth.  You can use WorldView, NASA’s web-based satellite viewing application, to explore your adopted point over time and with different layers.   

I received a point on the coast of Antarctica.  It was cool to explore a part of our planet that I don’t normally think about on a daily basis. With the WorldView application I was able to see how it changes over the seasons from solid ice to open ocean. WorldView even has the ability to animate these observations.

This outreach event allows us the appreciate our planet from space and helps us learn about some of the space instruments that are continuously monitoring and circling our planet.

To adopt your piece of Earth, visit:

Credit: NASA