April 7, 2015

2015 MGIS Graduate Job Hires and Changes

Congratulations to our MGIS graduates who have secured jobs or changed jobs in 2015 as they continue to achieve success in the GIS profession!

David Bryson (2008) now works for Cloud Sherpas as a Geospatial Solutions Consultant in Denver, Colorado.

Kyle Chester (2010) is moving to Charlotte, North Carolina in late April to begin a new position with ESRI as a Solution Engineer.

Jason Dally (2015) is a GIS Technician at CenterPoint Energy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Stephan Dunning (2004) is now a Senior Program Director with Optum Labs in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Teresa Lewandowski (2014) has been hired as a Web Application Developer for SetSight in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Molly (Wynia) McDonald (2014) currently works for the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association as a GIS and Planning Assistant in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sandra Paddock (2000) has transitioned to a position as an Information Technology Consultant with Pearson VUE in Minneapolis, MN.

Shashi Shekhar receives 2015 UCGIS Education Award

shekhar_1.jpgDr. Shashi Shekhar, the McKnight Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science and MGIS faculty member at the University of Minnesota, has received the 2015 UCGIS Education Award. Dr. Shekhar was recognized for his many contributions to GIScience education. According to the UCGIS, In 2003, Dr. Shekhar co-authored a textbook on spatial databases (Prentice Hall, 2003), which has become a GIScience classic. It transformed our view of a GIS from a static map to a spatial database, which can yield many maps customized to individual users. The highly regarded book is used to teach spatial database topics around the world. To reach GIScience students beyond the Minnesota campus, Shashi recently co-developed and co-taught a massive open online course (MOOC), titled "From GPS and Google Maps to Spatial Computing" on Coursera. It attracted over 21,800 students from 182 countries. He's leveraged numerous service assignments and hundreds of speaking engagements to spread the word about GIScience. In his own classroom, he is an innovative teacher who engages his students with active-learning methods and original effective course design. He has mentored 75 graduate advisees, many of whom have risen to leadership roles in academia, industry, and government.

March 26, 2015

Yiqun Xie Selected for 2015 ESRI Summer Internship Program

Congratulations to Yiqun (Ian) XieIan.JPG, MGIS graduate student, who has been selected to participate in the very competitive ESRI Summer Internship program! Ian will spend this summer at the ESRI Headquarters in Redlands, California working for the ESRI Mapping and Charting Center. Some possible projects he will work on include machine learning on data validation, object recognition algorithms with images or LIDAR, and 3D GIS. Ian has also been admitted to the PhD program in Computer Science for Fall 2015. He will join the Spatial Computing Research Group and work on spatial database and data mining under the supervision of his adviser, Dr. Shashi Shekar, Professor of Computer Science and MGIS Faculty member.

Andy Walz Named the 2015 UMN ESRI Development Center Student of the Year

WalzAndy.jpgCongratulations to Andy Walz, MGIS graduate student, who has been named the 2015 UMN ESRI Development Center Student of the Year. The Esri Development Center (EDC) program provides recognition and special status to university departments and centers that have exemplary programs focused on educating students to design and develop GIS applications using ESRI's ArcGIS for Desktop, Server, and Mobile technologies. Students in the EDC program are allowed special access to ESRI software for their projects. Andy will be automatically entered in the International EDC Student of the Year competition; the winner is selected by ESRI from all the EDCs worldwide and announced at the 2015 ESRI User Conference.

February 26, 2015

GISSO's 2015 Annual GIS Career and Networking Fair A Huge Success!

CareerFairBanner.pngCongratulations to the GIS Student Organization (GISSO) which hosted its hugely successful annual GIS Career and Networking Fair on Monday, March 30th from 11 am to 4 pm in the Mississippi Room of Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus. GISSO members did an outstanding job organizing an excellent set of guest speakers, employer representatives, student posters and much more. The goal of this career fair is to build a bridge between GIS/Geography students and employers around the region, granting the opportunity to network, exchange job opportunities and resumes, and share research and technologies being used in both the professional and academic worlds.

October 10, 2014

Vipin Kumar delivers the eighth annual Borchert Lecture as part of the UMN Spatial Forum

kumar_photo.jpgDr. Vipin Kumar, William Norris Professor and Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, gave the eighth annual Borchert Lecture, which honors the late John Borchert, University of Minnesota Regents Professor in Geography and member of the U.S. National Academy of Science. David Borchert, one of Dr. Borchert's sons, attended the event named in honor of his father. This annual lecture features notable speakers in the area of geographic information science and this year was part of the campus-wide Spatial Forum and GIS Day celebration. Dr. Kumar's current research interests include data mining, high-performance computing, and their applications in Climate/Ecosystems and Biomedical domains. He is the Lead PI of a 5-year, $10 Million project, "Understanding Climate Change - A Data Driven Approach", funded by the NSF's Expeditions in Computing program that is aimed at pushing the boundaries of computer science research. He has authored over 300 research articles, and co-edited or coauthored 10 books including the widely used text book "Introduction to Parallel Computing", and "Introduction to Data Mining" both published by Addison-Wesley. Dr. Kumar's presentation, Understanding Global Change: Opportunities and Challenges for Data Driven Research, was well-attended and many excellent questions were asked by the audience. The climate and earth sciences have recently undergone a rapid transformation from a data-poor to a data-rich environment. In particular, climate and ecosystem related observations from remote sensors on satellites, as well as outputs of climate or earth system models from large-scale computational platforms, provide terabytes of temporal, spatial and spatio-temporal data. These information-rich datasets offer huge potential for monitoring, understanding, and predicting the behavior of the Earth's ecosystem and for advancing the science of global change. This talk highlighted some of the challenges in analyzing such data sets and reported on early research results.

June 26, 2014

2014 Student Recognition

SolarPteam.jpgCongratulations to the MGIS Solar Dream Team, Ben Gosack, Chris Martin, Molly McDonald, Michael Moore, Stephen Palka, Devon Piernot, Andy Walz, and faculty adviser, Len Kne, who won first place in ESRI's Climate Resilience App Challenge 2014 including a $10,000 prize. Six members of the team traveled to the ESRI User Conference in July to accept their award during the opening session of the conference. The group has been recognized widely for this achievement including the Star Tribune, the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office and Government Technology magazine.

Thumbnail image for DSC00304_crop.jpgAlso join me in congratulating several MGIS students who received awards or completed their degrees thus far in 2014. Kathryn Purdham and Kyle Wikstrom are the recipients of 2014 ESRI User Conference Student Assistantships. These awards are very competitive and securing one is a high achievement. Each year a UMN student is recognized as the Outstanding Student of the Year for our local ESRI Development Center. The 2014 recipient is Yiqun (Ian) Xie.

Taylor Long, MGIS program, is the graduate winner of the 2014 UMN Minnesota GIS/LIS Student Scholar Award for his GIS project, eBird Participation Mapping. Rebecca Barney, B.A. in Geography, is the undergraduate winner of the same award for her project, Creating Rebecca's Interactive Adventure Map. Both students did an outstanding job representing the University of Minnesota in the graduate and undergraduate student paper sessions at the Fall 2014 Minnesota GIS/LIS Annual Conference in early October. Taylor was awarded second place in the graduate paper competition.

Finally, congratulations to our recent 2014 graduates! For a detailed listing, visit the MGIS graduates page.

April 29, 2014

GISSO recognized at the 2013 Tony Diggs Awards Ceremony

GISSO-Group.jpgThe GIS Student Organization (GISSO) was nominated for the 2013 Tony Diggs Excellence Awards in the category of Outstanding Graduate or Professional Student Group of the Year. While the group did not win the top award in this category, they were recognized for their service to the University along with a field of an impressive student organizations. GISSO has sponsored and organized many GIS events and outreach efforts, their most prominent being the annual GIS Networking and Career Fair. Under the leadership of President Taylor Long and Vice President Molly McDonald this student group has provided outstanding service to the community and the University along with the support of its other dedicated officers and membership. To learn more about this outstanding student organization including becoming a member, visit the GISSO web site.

March 31, 2014

Taylor Long captures two awards in U-Spatial Mapping Prize Competition

Long_Headshot.jpgTaylor Long won two awards in the U-Spatial Mapping Prize Competition; prizes were made possible by a generous gift from U of M alumnus Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri. Taylor was awarded the "Best Cartography" prize, a $500 cash award, for his map, Madison Fork and Environs; he also won "Best Overall Submissions" for his maps, Madison Fork and Environs and e-Bird Participation in 2012, for which he was awarded an all-expense paid trip to the Esri GeoDesign Summit.

March 27, 2014

Congratulations to 2014 U-Spatial Poster Competition Winners!

GISSO-PosterComp2014.jpgCongratulations to the winners of the U-Spatial Poster Competition held at the 2014 GIS Networking and Career Fair! Tyler Kaebisch won first place for his poster LiDAR Derived Lake Boundaries. Taylor Long captured second place for eBird Participation in 2012: Citizen Science Aides Avian Research, while Ben Gosack took third place for Urban Tree Assessment for the University of Minnesota: Capturing Urban Tree Measurements from LiDAR Data. Honorable mention to MGIS students, Corey Betchwars, Teresa Lewandowski, Yiwen Li, and Joseph Mueller for their outstanding entries.

February 12, 2014

2014 MGIS Graduate Job Hires and Changes

Congratulations to our recent graduates and others who have changed jobs in 2014 as they establish and maintain successful careers in the GIS profession!

Gayatri Alapati (2013) currently works for General Electric Oil and Gas as a GIS programming consultant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Patrick Baldwin (2012) is now a GIS Specialist at Flat Rock Geographics in St. Paul, MN. This GIS consulting company was founded by two MGIS grads, Blaine Hackett (2001) and Paul Wickman (2007).

Justin Bakken (2011) has been promoted to GIS Specialist at Natural Resource Group, LLC.

Corey Betchwars (2014) has been hired as a Research/GIS Analyst for the City of St. Paul's Planning and Economic Development Office.

Tom Chambers (2012) has been hired as a GIS Specialist with Goodhue County in Minnesota.

Kyle Chester (2010) has changed positions at Xcel Energy and is now a Solutions Consultant.

Tony Drollinger (2010) has the new title of Commuter Programs Specialist at Metro Transit in the Twin Cities.

Stephen Dunning (2004) has been promoted to Director of Strategy and Business Development at the Chronic Disease Research Group of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.

Josh Dunsmoor (2013) has taken a new position as a GIS Analyst with Steel Shire Design in Minnesota.

Keith Erickson (2012) is now a Geospatial Software Engineer with Digital Globe in Golden, Colorado.

Kim Gorman (2008) has added Program Manager to her job title of Senior Project Manager/GIS Specialist at Tetra Tech.

Ben Gosack (2014) is a GIS Analyst with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Jenny Immich (2010) completed her doctoral degree in Anthropology and is now a GIS Teaching Fellow at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Chacko Jacob (2009) has been promoted to Vice President of Global Technology and Business at Farmers Edge in Calgary, Canada.

Tim Jacobson (2010) is now a Network Engineer with Frontier Communications in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Kris Johnson (2013) and his family moved to Duluth, Minnesota where Kris works as a GIS Developer at North Point GIS.

Brad Johnston (2013) has been hired at Carver County as a GIS Specialist.

Tyler Kaebisch (2014) has been hired as the Senior Research Analysis Specialist (Remote sensing image analyst) for the Minnesota DNR's Division of Forestry in Grand Rapids.

John Koenigs (2011) is now a Help Desk Representative at Cityworks, Azteca Systems, Inc. in West Bend, Wisconsin.

Yiwen Li (2014) works as a Community GIS Research Specialist at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Yuanyuan Luo (2014) is continuing to work as a Research Specialist for the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota.

Fukhrudin Maalim (2014) is a Research Analyst at the National Centre for Food Protection and Defense in St. Paul, MN.

Chris Martin (2014) has been hired as a Solutions Engineer for ESRI Professional Services in Boston, Massachusetts.

Molly Martin (2011) has been hired as the GIS Principal with St. Louis County, Minnesota.

Matt McLees (2013) now works as a Senior GIS Analyst at Scott County in Minnesota.

Mike Mommsen (2013) works for Historical Information Gatherers as a researcher and developer in Hopkins, Minnesota.

Tony Monsour (2012) now works as a GIS Analyst for Scott County along with fellow MGIS graduate, Matt McLees.

Stephen Palka (2014) was hired as a GIS Analyst with Innovate!, Inc. and will work as a contractor to the USGS and EROS Data Center.

Greg Schulz (2010) is now a GIS Developer with Target Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Prakash Singh (2011) has transitioned to a new position with Blu Homes as a Full Stack Software Engineer in San Francisco, California.

Tom Swanson (2007) has moved from New York and is now the Deputy Geographic Information Officer for Architecture and Planning at the City of Philadelphia.

Zeb Thomas (2012) has been promoted to GIS Data Systems Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Noel Peterson (2011) has been promoted to Associate Analyst at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Jesse Reinhardt (2007) has been promoted to GIS Business Services Lead at the Hennepin County GIS Office.

Matt Taraldsen (2013) has been hired as a Severe Weather Research Associate at the National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Branch in Norman, Oklahoma.

Lucas Winzenburg (2013) has secured a position at the University of Minnesota working as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Polar Geospatial Center and U-Spatial.

September 30, 2013

Hansen and Mueller receive 2013 MN GIS/LIS Consortium's Polaris Leadership Awards

Catherine Hansen, MGIS Faculty member, and Jane Mueller, MGIS graduate, have been recognized as the 2013 Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium's Polaris Leadership Award winners. The award recognizes active, established leaders in the geospatial profession who demonstrate a beacon of energy and creativity that inspires and guides the Minnesota GIS community. Congratulations to both Catherine and Jane for this achievement and many thanks for their devotion and contributions to the GIS community!

August 20, 2013

Tom Fisher delivers seventh annual Borchert Lecture

fisher_photo.jpgThomas Fisher, Professor in the School of Architecture and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, gave the seventh annual Borchert Lecture, which honors the late John Borchert, University of Minnesota Regents Professor in Geography and member of the U.S. National Academy of Science. This lecture features notable speakers in the area of geographic information science and coincides with Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day. Dr. Fisher's presentation, What is GeoDesign and Why Does It Matter?, took place on Friday, November 22 at 3:30 pm in the Honeywell Auditorium, Carlson School of Management on the West Bank campus. A graduate of Cornell University and Case Western Reserve University, he has written 7 books, 47 book chapters or introductions, and over 325 articles in professional journals and major publications. Named a top-25 design educator four times by Design Intelligence, he has lectured at 36 universities and over 150 professional and public meetings in the U.S. His most recent book, Designing to Avoid Disaster, The Nature of Fracture-Critical Design (Routledge, 2012), looks at failures across an array of systems and argues for a more ecologically based way of thinking about the infrastructures we all depend on.

May 15, 2013

2013 MGIS Graduate Job Changes and Hires

Jason Anderson (2012) moved to Denver, Colorado and works for First Bank as a Web Developer.

VIctor Barnett (2000) works at the City of St. Paul as an Engineering Technician.

Brian Behling (2010) currently works for Premier Geospatial in Arvada, Colorado as a Software Developer.

Tom Breed (2006) now works for Google as a GIS Data Engineer.

Mike Engels (2005) has moved back to Minnesota and works as a Data Analyst for AudaExplore in Eagan, MN. One of his colleagues is Mike Kasel (2009), who is a Senior GIS Analyst.

Keith Erickson (2012) is a GIS Analyst with Digital Globe in Golden, Colorado.

Elizabeth Fairley (2008) is a Geospatial Data Steward and Metadata Custodian with the Geospatial Agency in Washington, D.C.

Mike Foster (2010) now works at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning as a GIS/Data Visualization/Graphics Specialist in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Jim Gonsoski (2008) is a GIS Specialist at the Metropolitan Council in the Twin Cities.

Drew Hanson (2010) has moved to a GIS Specialist position with Golder Associates, an environmental planning and engineering consulting firm in the Seattle area.

Eric Hanson (2010) now works for the Hennepin County GIS office as a Senior IT Specialist.

Matt McLees (2013) is a Senior GeoData Specialist at East View Geospatial in Minnesota.

Alphonce Nicholaus (2012) works as a GIS Consultant for the African Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Sandra Paddock (2000) recently became a Business Analyst & Project Management Consultant for HealthPartners in Minneapolis, MN.

Sara (Dolan) Sanchez (2007) is now a Product Engineer at ESRI.

Prakash Singh (2011) works for the City of Los Angeles' Department of Building and Safety as a GIS platform manager.

Matt Swanson (2013) is a Research Analyst with Historical Information Gatherers in Hopkins, Minnesota.

Matt Taraldsen (2013) has moved to Norman, Oklahoma to work for Weather Decision Technologies, Inc as a meteorologist and GIS software engineer.

Aaron Timbo (1999) is currently a Software Engineer with Bloom Health in Minneapolis.

Norine Wilczek (2012) has been hired as a GIS Analyst/Traffic Operations Dispatcher at the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Regional Transportation Management Center.

May 3, 2013

Robert McMaster honored as 2013 UCGIS Fellow

Robert McMasterRobert McMaster, Professor of Geography, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education and MGIS faculty member, has been named as a 2013 UCGIS Fellow. Dr. McMaster was recognized for his contribution to the advancement of geographic information science education and research. For more information about Dr. McMaster's contributions, see the description provided on the UCGIS Fellows page.