Anthony Robinson and Justine Blanford attend Esri conferences

GeoVISTA Faculty associates Anthony Robinson and Justine Blanford participated in two Esri conferences held last week, both in San Diego.

At the Esri Education GIS Conference, Anthony Robinson gave a talk entitled "Inciting a Geospatial Revolution in Online Education."

Justine Blanford and former MGIS student Loren Pfau presented a paper at the Esri International User Conference on "Improving Wilderness Search & Rescue Effectiveness with Geospatial Technologies."


Inciting a Geospatial Revolution in Online Education
by Anthony Robinson

The Geospatial Revolution has brought about a wide range of new challenges and opportunities for educators of all kinds. Geospatial distance education is one sub-domain that has seen a dramatic rise in the number and diversity of options for learners. However, current distance education offerings for geospatial learning have yet to reach key goals of becoming mainstream, sustainable, and widely accessible to all learners. This presentation proposes and contextualizes five key challenges that geospatial distance educators should address to incite its own revolution to accomplish those goals. These challenges include; meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, developing curricula to balance needs and competencies established by multiple frameworks (GTCM, Body of Knowledge, etc.), offering a wider range of credential options, establishing best practices for integrating online programs with resident instruction programs, and taking advantage of new technology platforms to better support spatial learning and distributed learner communities.

Improving Wilderness Search & Rescue Effectiveness with Geospatial Technologies
by Justine Blanford and Loren Pfau

In the recent past geospatial data sources available to wilderness SAR teams were limited, but now teams have access to an ever-increasing types and volumes of geospatial information that have the potential to improve the results of back-country search operations. These include information from well-understood sources such as e911 and emerging sources such as social media. The challenges facing SAR teams lie in understanding what information is available; how it may be accessed and managed; relative strengths and weaknesses; how it may be utilized in a time-sensitive situation; and how to use this information for post-event analysis, training and contributions to community knowledge. This session will discuss new sources of geospatial information that may be encountered and used in the context of wilderness SAR missions, explain how the information may be accessed, and provide guidance on how to integrate these new information sources into mission management and training processes.

For more information, contact Krista Kahler at

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