The GIS Education Center

Rick Kos, BayGeo Education Director

Since the spring of 2005, over one thousand working professionals, college students, and others with an interest in geospatial technology have made their way to evening workshops at the GIS Education Center, a service of BayGeo. The Center, housed at City College of San Francisco’s Mission Campus, is a cornerstone of BayGeo’s objective to “lead, mobilize, and engage the users of geospatial technology and mapping enthusiasts in the Bay Area.” Our typical student arrives after a busy day of work or school, eager to acquire skills to enhance their career progression or academic studies. Taught by GIS professionals with a high degree of GIS experience using geospatial tools, the Center provides affordable, short-term workshops with a “quick start” approach.

In fact, “GIS Quick Start” is, by far, our most popular workshop. Held four times each academic year, this introductory workshop is designed for those who need to know just enough about the technology to make a professional-looking map or to become more conversant with their colleagues who routinely use geospatial tools, ArcGIS in particular. Although Esri’s ArcGIS software has become the industry standard in many fields, the Center also offers a rapidly expanding series of workshops devoted to open-source GIS software such as QGIS. We have also added highly specialized workshops in Python scripting, Javascript, and the popular statistical software package R.

  GIS Education Center instructor Beki McElvain receives consistently high reviews from our “GIS Quick Start” workshop attendees. Says a recent student, “Rarely have I met someone who can explain complex technical information in such a layperson-accessible manner.”

GIS Education Center instructor Beki McElvain receives consistently high reviews from our “GIS Quick Start” workshop attendees. Says a recent student, “Rarely have I met someone who can explain complex technical information in such a layperson-accessible manner.”

Rick Kos, BayGeo’s Education Director and manager of the GIS Education Center, notes, “I’ve been fortunate to work with enthusiastic and devoted practitioners who lead our Center’s workshops. These practitioners work for well-known tech companies and regional universities and all of them understand the power and benefits of geospatial technologies. Our instructors have a tough task of communicating technical information in a way that is engaging and fun while also motivating our students to keep them energized at the end of a busy workday.” Rick also adds: “A number of our past workshop attendees continue to share with me how our instructors have encouraged them to make a difference in their organizations, and that makes my day when I hear stories like this.”

  GIS Education Center instructor Gregg Verutes teaches our Python scripting workshops. His relaxed and organized teaching style “clicks” easily with our workshop attendees.

GIS Education Center instructor Gregg Verutes teaches our Python scripting workshops. His relaxed and organized teaching style “clicks” easily with our workshop attendees.

Rick also notes that the workshops have been carefully designed to give students a fast-paced, yet manageable learning experience: “We made a conscious effort at the launch of our Center to focus on weekly workshop meetings, rather than adopting more intensive pedagogical methods such as a ‘weekend immersion’ experience. Although we recognize that this means students must make many return trips to our Center, we know that we’ve filled a niche in the Bay Area market for an educational experience that gives our students time to digest and practice what they’ve learned between meetings. We also place a high value on small class sizes that allow our practitioner-instructors to provide immediate support to our learners as they navigate new technology.”

As the Center enters its fourteenth year of service to the Bay Area community, we are excited to bring on new teaching talent and innovative curriculum to complement our ever-popular “Quick Start” and “Python Basics” classes. For example, we are building partnerships with the City of San Francisco’s Department of Technology staff, one of whom will lead a fall 2018 workshop with a terrific title: “Straw Into Gold: Making the Most of QGIS and other Cost-free GIS Resources.” Another recent partner is OmniSci, pioneers in big data analytics. OmniSci will lead a workshop called “GPU-Accelerated Visualization.”

For more information about the GIS Education Center and to register for one of our many affordable and short-term workshops, please visit ccsfgis.org. (BayGeo members get a 20% discount!)

 

Fall 2018 Volume 11 Issue 2

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