Friday, June 17, 2011

From Migration Maps to GIS, to Geo-Caching

Thursday consisted of exposure to maps of all kinds

The world of cartography is an amazing one, and we got a chance to see in so many ways, how the human story is still unfolding not only with historic maps but also with contemporary events. World crises from earthquakes in Haiti, to efforts to document public health epidemics such as H1N1 virus, maps are so important in our lives. It was exciting in the class to see how this world has expanded and come to address contemporary events. We also learned a lot as genealogical applications of GIS were also shared with the class.

Discussing Historic GIS and the Genealogical Applications

Before we headed outside for some fun with Geo-Caching, we had some interesting exercises.  We tried our hand in a virtual poll via a quick texting exercise.

Voting via Texting

But then it was time for Geo-Caching! But what is geocaching? Geocahing is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. We were not participating in an official way---but the exercise gave many of us 
some experience in using GPS devices for something other than finding our way to a destination. But first we  had to become acquainted with the equipment.

Setting up the GPS

Everyone in the class seemed to have gotten into the exercise, and all began to study the settings and heading off to find the cache.

Outside the Science Center and Getting Started

In small groups everyone studied their devices to see where to go.

The exercise was a good one, as it made us comfortable with the GPS device, and it also taught us some of the various features of the unit as well.  The compass, the ability to follow something that had been marked, required our adjusting to readings and how to interpret them.

We found our cache and enjoyed the message enclosed.

The day was full of so many resources, it is difficult to describe how one left feeling amazed at the end of the day when taking it all in.  I did enjoy all of the exercises---even in that Alabama  heat!!!

The evening was topped off with a wonderful time at the banquet, before one final day that awaited us!

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