Friday, January 27, 2006

A Gathering of Geo-Geeks

As I stated earlier in my post about Geographic Edutainment, I wanted to see whether the various geography and GIS folks on campus (geeks?) would enjoy coming together to view an ESRI Live Training Seminar together in a social environment.

Well, the first test was yesterday as I invited the campus community to attend a joint viewing of 'Spatial Statistics in ArcGIS 9'. More folks attended (and really enjoyed it) than I anticipated for this first test. With no more promotion than an email across the listserv, eleven people attended, including faculty, students, and university staff. I was hoping for 3 to 5 people to attend, and wanted to grow this number as word of mouth spread.

I was blown away by how interested everyone was and how excited they were to meet eachother We had folks from real estate, geology, biology, urban planning, and mathematics, all sharing names and numbers with eachother and with me. Many of us stayed in the classroom for another 45 minutes discussing spatial statistics. It was fantastic.

Click here for a photo of 4 of us talking (after the seminar) about spatial statistics, ArcGIS extensions, GeoDa, and STARS. (I am in the blue shirt.) I have never used STARS (Space-Time Analysis of Regional Systems) before, but it is an "open source package designed for the analysis of areal data measured over time." Sounds great to me. I will play around with it the first chance I get.

What did I think of the seminar?? I was very, very impressed. The presenter and the woman answering the Q/A sessions (forgot both names, sorry) were both extremely good at taking complex and often inter-related issues and breaking them down nicely. Students attending who are new to GIS and/or statistics were able to follow along and understand easily. I especially liked their explanation and use of the z-score.

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