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  • 1. Communicating with Blogs and Online Maps Peter Linehan Associate Professor of Forestry Penn State Mont Alto Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium University Park, PA March 29,2008
  • 2. What is Forest Technology?
    • A.S. degree program
    • Stresses practical applications and field work in forestry
    • Student outcomes
      • About half the students get employment in forestry and natural resources, private and public sectors
      • About half complete a B.S. degree, usually in forestry at Penn State School of Forest Resources
  • 3. Uses of maps in forestry
    • Forest inventory plots
    • Trail layout
    • Timber harvest planning
    • Forest stand mapping
    • Wildlife management
    • Outdoor recreation
  • 4. Topographic Maps and Compass
  • 5. Trends in Mapping in Forestry
    • Previously map-based using compasses
    • Transition to digital methods: GPS, digital data recorders, GIS
    • In education need to maintain the fundamental skills and introduce the new technologies
    • Job market driving the change
    • Need to communicate geographically oriented data in many ways
  • 6. Online Mapping
    • Large number of providers: Yahoo!, Local Live (Microsoft), Google, etc.
    • Increased resources: maps, data, tools
    • New tools to create personal maps that can be used in multiple areas
    • Increased linkage between Google maps and Google Earth
  • 7. Google Mapping Resources
    • Google Earth
      • Excellent coverage for PA
      • Editing tools (points, lines, areas, labels, photos, hook other data)
      • Available in Penn State computer labs
      • Kml format for data exchange
    • Google Maps
      • Reads kml files
      • My Maps option
      • Editing tools similar to Google Earth
      • Share, link, or embed maps
      • Map, terrain, or imagery options
  • 8. Why use Blogs with students?
    • Easier than creating stand-alone web pages
    • Very flexible, easy to update
    • Can range from basic text to very technically sophisticated
    • Fun in their own right!
    • Choice of
      • outside hosts such as Blogger, Word Press, etc.
      • Penn State Movable Type blogs linked to PASS account
  • 9. Forest Technology Courses Using Blogs and Maps
    • FORT 120 – Forestry computer applications: introduction to IT. Concentrates on Windows, Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and some forestry-specific tools.
    • FORT 130 – Forest mapping systems: Use of topographic maps, compass, GPS, and computerized mapping
    • Will be carried into other courses such as Forest Management Practices and Aerial Photo Interpretation
  • 10. Getting data from the field to Google Earth and Google maps
    • GPS receiver in the field (Garmin models): waypoints, routes, and tracks
    • Minnesota DNR Garmin (free data conversion utility) creates kml files
    • Google Earth and/or
    • Google maps
  • 11. Using GPS
  • 12. Data Window of DNR Garmin
  • 13. Trail Waypoints in Google Earth
  • 14. Trail Waypoints in Google Maps
  • 15. Sample Assignments
  • 16. Map a State Park -- Identify a favorite park near your home -- Mark the park with a point -- Create embeddable map -- Transfer to blog and write description
  • 17. Landforms Field Trip -- Field trip to compare contour lines with actual landscape in a hilly part of the Michaux State Forest near campus -- Collect GPS waypoints during field trip -- Convert waypoints to Google Earth -- Import to Google Maps -- Make embeddable map -- Embed in blog and write trip report
  • 18. Mapping the Waynesboro Reservoir Trail -- Hike around Waynesboro Reservoir to map recreational trail -- Collect GPS waypoints during field trip -- Convert waypoints to Google Earth -- Import to Google Maps -- Make embeddable map -- Embed in blog and write trip report
  • 19. Mapping Part of the Appalachian Trail -- Get coordinates from Iron Springs topographic map -- Enter points and trail in Google Earth -- Import to Google Maps -- Make embeddable map -- Embed in blog and write description
  • 20. To Blog and Map or Not
    • Advantages
    • Combines multiple data sources
    • Rewards creativity
    • Product visible to everyone
    • Can easily track a class with RSS reader
    • Can serve as introduction to more complicated GIS tools and be used
    • Good way to illustrate reports
    • Concerns
    • Takes time and patience. Must be willing to deal with student problems
    • Some students resent the extra work
    • Not a “traditional” report format
    • Technology will change each year. Must be ready to adapt
  • 21. Links
    • Linehan web page with blog links
    • Google Maps
    • Google Earth
    • Minnesota DNR Garmin
    • Student Blogs
      • Coby Cutchall -> Oak
      • Eric Monger -> MTBikes
    • Penn State Mont Alto Forest Technology Program
  • 22. Thank you!