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          xyHt  | Pangaea Past Issues | Field Notes Past Issues                                                            June 25, 2019—No. 232

MOOC ado about Reskilling    

Our new geospatial graduates have every reason to be happy.

The good news that came out in April is that there are more vacant jobs in the U.S. than unemployed people, the highest amount in 50 years. And this jobs boom is a global pattern that extends to almost all industries, including the professional services and construction sectors where most geospatial jobs are concentrated. What’s more is that your expertise in geospatial tech has been named by Upwork, a global freelancing job website, as one of the top 20 fastest-growing and in-demand skills in the U.S. gig economy.

Skills Mismatch

Although news like this might just calm the pit of the first-time jobseeker’s stomach, it deserves a second look. You see, one of the factors why more jobs are available is because employers are finding it hard to hire qualified workers. This lag in hiring is a result of what economists call a “mismatch” between the skills that are required to fill the current crop of jobs and the actual skills that jobseekers have.

Take, for example, the current skills required to work in the geospatial industry. A few years back, a college diploma in surveying or GIS and remote sensing would have gotten you a job. Now graduates are also expected to fly UAVs, write codes, create apps—you name it. According to one geo-industry observer, we GIS specialists “are no longer special anymore.”

This fast and constant change in the industry is striking, and definitely, we don’t want our students’ skills to be redundant as soon as they leave school. How can we and they be better prepared to enter the geospatial workforce?


MOOC is the answer. When I started to observe how college subjects could not keep up with advances in geospatial technology and the demands of the industry, I encouraged my students to take Massive Open Online Courses. If they have a lot of time to spare on social media, surely any Internet-based learning platform is worth the investment to learn new geospatial skills. Besides, MOOCs are typically free of charge and taught by topnotch teachers from respectable universities.

Many MOOC providers offer geospatial-related courses, from beginner-level courses that focus on GIS and spatial analysis to more advanced courses on big data programming and AI-based mapping. A few years back, I took Coursera’s Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, the world’s first digital mapping MOOC, to keep myself updated on the current trends in my field. Now I’m looking forward to taking their more advanced Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Program.

For those interested in working in urban areas, I recommend Introduction to Urban Geo-Informatics from edX. And for people who prefer to learn Google’s location-based products, Udacity’s partnership with that company has allowed it to offer MOOCs that focus on Google APIs and Android tools. You can also check out Esri’s high-quality MOOCs, as well as Autodesk University for free tutorials given by industry experts.

Do MOOCs Work?

So far the answer is positive. In a Harvard study, 26% of MOOC learners reported to have “found a new job” after completing an online course, while 62% said that they “enhanced their skills for their current job.” Others who took part in the study also reported that they were able to start a business after completing a MOOC, a sign that people will take the risk of being self-employed once they have new skills.

The main point to ponder is this: whether you are a student, a graduate, or an employed professional, the key is reskilling. Acquiring new skills will make you better at your current job, while those seeking jobs will most likely find one. So before you splurge on that long-planned summer holiday, you may want to ditch the outdoors just for now, turn on your computer, enroll in a MOOC, and start updating your skillset.

Congratulations to all recent graduates!

Comment on this article where it appears on xyHt’s website.

SimActive Releases New Version of Correlator3D
SimActive releases the latest version of Correlator3D (v8.2), its patented end-to-end photogrammetry solution with advanced processing capabilities. The new version can automatically register multispectral as well as infrared images, resulting in fused data that can be used directly in the software to produce DSMs, DTMs as well as generate multiband orthomosaics with perfect co-registration. Supported sensors include the MicaSense RedEdge / Altum and the Parrot Sequoia. Test it for free here

New CloudStation Software Provides Complete Point-Cloud Data Solution
CloudStation, YellowScan’s newest software, provides a complete solution to create and manipulate point-cloud data. With a few clicks, flight lines can be auto-generated and LAS files can be created. Data can be immediately extracted, processed and displayed right after flight acquisition. “This launch is an exciting move for YellowScan as it allows a better and simplified experience for the customers.” says Tristan Allouis, Chief Technical Officer of YellowScan. Sign-up now and request for a personalized 1-on-1 demonstration.
Create intelligent 3D models with OpenSite Designer

Bentley Systems provides a smarter way to do site design with the release of its OpenSite Designer software.  

The new application employs an open modeling environment for the project delivery of site design projects from concept to completion, including site modeling and analysis, as well as drainage and underground utility design. It can also interoperate with PLAXIS and SoilVision, Bentley’s geotechnical engineering solutions, so that site plans can be enhanced with new information about the active properties of soil. Learn how OpenSite Designer combines the power of automation with a 3D integrated model design workflow here

Latest Terrain Lenses Version from Virtual Surveyor

The latest version of Virtual Surveyor’s popular drone surveying and mapping software, Terrain Lenses, is now available (v6.3). New functions in the latest version enables professional surveyors to generate accurate topographic end products from drone data five times faster than traditional field work, bridging the gap between UAV photogrammetric processing software and engineering design packages. “In addition to the Terrain lenses, Version 6.3 gives users a more stable experience with faster rendering and navigation, even while complex calculations are occurring in the background,” said Tom Op ‘t Eyndt, CEO of Virtual Surveyor. Watch this video to see the new features. 

European Space Agency (ESA) Invites Programmers to Space App Camp

This year’s ESA Space App Camp aims to bring together programmers to develop creative and innovative apps using Earth observation data - particularly from the Copernicus European Earth observation program and its fleet of Sentinel satellites - accessible to a wide range of users.  This unique one-week event will take place from September 16 to 23 in Frascati, Italy. Travel, food and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organizers. Applications will be accepted until July 15 in this website.  

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