Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thoughts on Importance of Online Portfolio Building

Hi Dr. Bishop and Prof. Dodsworth:

I have a postcard in the mail informing me that a selection has been made for GIS Stormwater Administrator that I applied and interviewed for (it wasn’t me).

In a lot of ways, it was a GIS librarian position; they needed traditional GIS analysis skills but also data management and data curation skills, along with education and outreach skills.

There were 20 well qualified applicants and I think it reflects well on SIS that I even got an interview.

However, in reflection I feel I should have brought printouts of work I have done to provide concrete evidence in response to the question, “how are your map making skills.”  I’ve been told to bring along examples to interviews in my geography classes – I’m not sure why I didn’t do that for this interview.

The next best thing to a printed map would be a robust online portfolio.  To be honest I’ve made tons of nice maps in my GIS classes, but getting the labs done is so mentally draining that I rarely re-visit them to present in an online portfolio.

I’m trying to do a better job about getting my work online.

However, I wanted to encourage you both as GIS instructors to try and build creating an online portfolio into your coursework.

I saw this example from the graduate certificate program I’m getting into at UWF –

In sum, I think it would be very helpful for students to have a GIS online portfolio as part of the normal coursework.




Models of Success for Knoxville Streetcar

Hi Dawn,

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying this interesting July day.

I wanted to pass on a post I made today on the Parkridge Community Organization’s Facebook group:

On July 25, Tuscon, Arizona opened a 3.9 mile streetcar linking a hospital, downtown, and University. Cost: $200 M. City Paid: 26.6 M. Fact: $800 M in public/private investment along streetcar line since project start in 2010. Food for thought: Gay Street Bridge to South Knoxville is 4.2 miles from Chilhowee Park / Knoxville Zoo along Magnolia Avenue.

More details are here:

Sun Link Streetcar in testing.

SunLink Streetcar in Tuscon, Arizona

This reminds me of similar news from Charlotte, where the “Charlotte Lynx” Blue Line was reported to have generated “nearly 10,000,000 square feet of new commercial and residential development along its route” (9.6 miles). See <>.

Charlotte Blue line transit car and station.

Charlotte Blue line station.

I’ve mentioned this before – but “Park Avenue” was designed as a streetcar suburb. With the precedent for economic activity generated by streetcars, and momentum of economic activity downtown, I think it’s smart to begin exploring the return of rails on Magnolia. Like Charlotte and Atlanta, Knoxville can – and should – be a leader in the Southeast for public transportation infrastructure.



University of West Florida Online GIS Certificate

Master’s Non-Degree-Seeking US Citizen – Fall 2014

Environmental Science at Online

Completed & Submitted On 07/28/2014 1:05 PM

Learning environment
    1. Students “go to class” on their own time to view lectures and complete weekly assignments through UWF eLearning. Familiarize yourself with our online learning portal before applying to the program.
    2. All of our courses are instructor led with various means of communication and interaction.
    3. Students are expected to spend approximately 8-15 hours per week on course materials and assignments.
    4. Former students have reported spending as many as 20 hours per week on assignments.
  • Our program utilizes e-Desktop for GIS to provide virtual software access to students 24/7. ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced 10.1, ERDAS Imagine 2010, and Adobe Illustrator CS5 are primary GIS related softwares utilized to complete course assignments.

    eDesktop for GIS is MAC and PC friendly.

    Even though students will not be installing GIS software on their personal machines, we recommend the following hardware requirements listed onESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 System Requirements page.

    UWF GIS students are permitted one free copy each of ArcGIS Desktop student version license. No other student versions licenses are offered.

  • Spring Semester:

    1. GIS 3015/L Cartographic Skills
    2. GIS 4043/L Introduction to GIS

  • Summer Semester:

    Traditional Track

    1. GIS 4048 Applications in GIS
    2. GIS 5103 GIS Programming

  • Archaeology Track

    1. GIS 4990 Archaeology Applications in GIS
    2. GIS 5103 GIS Programming


Disposition Letter Vacancy ID: 1146071

"Another candidate was selected for the position."

What they don’t tell you is that candidate was selected a week ago.

Fountain City Duckpond: Engineering Solution to a Biological Problem?

I drafted an e-mail to Kasey Krouse, the City of Knoxville’s Urban Forester, concerning a possible alternative to a costly $250,000 remediation that could be better approached (in my opinion) with bio-remediation. I cc’d Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero on that e-mail, which is reproduced below. I’ve added images for general interest. 


I read with interest a recent news piece concerning costly renovations of the Fountain City Duck point.

I confess I don’t know all the details, but the approach to fixing the problem appears to be an engineering solution to a biological problem.

Given your background, I assume you are familiar with the concept of bioremediation, wherein the natural respiratory action of trees and root systems filters and cleanses water.

You are also knowledgeable about the plant species that benefit wildlife and are appropriate for bioremediation.

For these reasons, I thought to write to you as someone within city government I know will understand where I’m coming from.

Rather than attempt a costly engineering fix, I propose it would be more cost effective and beneficial to attempt a bio-remediation approach.

For example, to shade the water and out-compete the algae for nutrients, plant river birch, willow, and perhaps bald cypress. Plant arrow arum and pickerel weed, which in fact is native to Tennessee and benefits pollinators such as bees. Pollinators are important to the urban food initiative and are suffering from habitat loss.

Pickerel Weed

Arrowhead, a native Tennessee aquatic plant.

River birch.

This approach would be a worthwhile urban forestry endeavor and promote watershed restoration and water quality through biological remediation.

I’m CC’ing Mayor Rogero on this and hope you will be able to lobby for a “green” infrastructure solution to whomever will listen.

Thank you for all you do for the city. I enjoy the street trees in Parkridge every evening when I walk my dog.



ArcGIS Online Tutorial and Map

An online tutorial for using ArcGIS Online is available at <>.

Completing this tutorial was required to prepare for the final graded assignment in Introduction to GeoWeb technologies, creation of a thematic “story map” in ArcGIS online.

The assignment is fairly strict in instruction, but did leave some room for adding a personal touch.

My finished online map is accessible online.  As an information scientist, I appreciate the “metadata” landing page <>.

The viewer for the map is accessible at <>. Note that the “appid” matches the html id from the prior page.

I’m also testing the “share” and “embed” feature immediately below the horizontal rule. This map features data from a variety of formats, as per the tutorial’s instruction:  Shapefile, KML, GPX, tabular data, and raster (via Web service) data.


INSC 592 – Big Data Analytics

(3) Introduces the concepts big data and data analytics as an emerging field. To address the opportunities and challenges of big data in cademics, businesses, sciences, the Web, etc. To understand the nature of big data analytics and their various contexts. To master basic concepts and process of data analytics. To design analytics initiatives/proposals. To practice data mining techniques and skills (ETL). To explore data modeling and visualizing. Prerequisite: INSC 584 Database Management Systems or equivalent. Consent of the instructor.

INSC 590 – Environmental Informatics

(3) Focuses on the interdisciplinary field of environmental informatics. Explores collection, classification, storage, retrieval, dissemination, integration and visualization of environmental information. Reviews the role of computer technology including geographic information systems.


INSC 590 – Geographic Information Librarianship

(3) Introduces the concepts related to geographic information librarianship. To understand geographic/cartographic competencies. To master the basic concepts of geospatial data discovery and collection development of cartographic resources. To practice the metadata creation of geospatial. To explore issues related to geographic information policy of GIS related services.


INSC 540 – Research Methods for Information Professionals

3 Credit Hours

Research methods in a variety of information environments; primary and secondary research; research project design; research results interpretation; analysis of published research; techniques supporting research process.
Registration Restriction(s): Master of Science – Information Sciences major. Minimum student level – graduate.