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

March 31, 2014

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.