A copy of this blog post can also be found on the Together@Work blog.
The Summit was held immediately before the 2023 FALCON (First Americans Land-Grant Consortium) Conference, another great conference which brings together hundreds of administrators, faculty, extension educators, researchers and students who work on land grant programs at TCUs and share program successes. Both meetings were amazing. While FALCON has been around for 19 years, this was only the second national meeting of the Land-Grant Partners consortium, and it was our first time at either event.
Three Generations of Land Grant Institutions
We felt in good company being with so many people working in land grant institutions all over the country. But seriously, what's with all the dates?
What all land grants have in common is a mission to support communities, agriculture, and natural resources through research and extension. However it was immediately apparent that most of the presentations, and even the conferences themselves, were structured around the three groups of land grant institutions which have become known by the year that federal legislation provided the initial funding: 1862, 1890, and 1994.
The 1862s are land grant universities that were established by the 1862 Morrill Act. This act gave ‘public lands' to every state, most of which was sold to create endowments for universities with programs in agriculture and engineering. Today, these are mostly the big state schools, like the University of California or Penn State, where Cooperative Extension programs are run from. The 1890s are historically Black Colleges and Universities, which Congress had to establish through separate legislation because the 1862 schools discriminated against people of color. Finally, more than a hundred years later, Congress finally provided funding in 1994 to support Tribal Colleges and Universities, collectively known as the 1994s or TCUs.
Click on the map to go to an interactive web map of the 1862, 1890, and 1994 land grant institutions
Why all the fuss about the three generations of land grant institutions? Well, the sad reality is that although 1862s, 1890s, and 1994s all have similar missions, there are enormous gaps in how much funding they receive from federal and state sources. Not surprisingly, this results in unequal levels of resources for research and extension, and ultimately fewer programs for Native Americans and other people of color. This is precisely the nut the LGP and FALCON alliances are trying to crack.
Land-Grant Partners Summit
Most of the attendees at the LGP Summit were from 1862 institutions, with a handful of TCUs, federal agencies, and federally funded programs. Many 1862s are trying to do a better job serving Native Americans. This is in line with their mission to serve the entire public, and in recognition that there has been a huge gap for generations. Since 2020, the call for 1862s to try harder has grown louder, informed by research detailing how they got their start by selling millions of acres of stolen Indian land (Lee and Ahtone, 2020), and widespread national interest in dismantling structural inequality.
Everyone attending the LGP Summit knew this history, and although it needs to be told to a lot more people the focus of the Summit was looking forward. It was exciting to be with so many kindred spirits, to hear what other 1862s are doing, and think about how we can be more effective working together than individually. Some of the leaders in the movement include The Ohio State, which has started a program to reach tribes that were forcibly removed from Ohio, and South Dakota State University, which has diverted funding from its Morrill Act lands to support Native American students and collaborations with Tribal Colleges.
UC in the House
Although the University of California is not at the head of the pack when it comes to spearheading reconciliation and collaboration with Tribes, the ball is definitely rolling. It was wonderful to connect with new and old UC colleagues from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC ANR, to hear what everyone is working on, and think about how we can work together more effectively. There are no shortages of ideas, and many faculty, students, and programs across UC are already doing amazing work to foster understanding and provide support for Native American students and other underserved populations.
However the goal will not be reached through celebrating the work of a few individuals. Rather, we need to shift UC as an institution - its policies, priorities, governance, incentive structures, resource allocation, and culture - so that the hard but rewarding work of healing and learning from Tribes is not the exception but the norm.
Making Spaces for Native Voices
A cross-cutting theme expressed in many sessions was the importance of including Native Americans as co-equal partners in designing and developing university programs and policies. Without Native voices at the table, and in meaningful leadership roles, we run the risk of planning programs with the same paternalistic processes that are well intentioned but ultimately fail to produce results. This is hard work, particularly within a university setting where administrators and academics are used to thinking a certain way, and doing things a certain way. But by learning from others, working together, and listening to those our institution owes a debt to, we can become a better university.
Sponsors and Collaborators of the 2023 Land-Grant Partners Summit
- Author: Sean D Hogan
In the past year IGIS has had the pleasure to work with Juniper Unmanned inc. to undertake a proof of concept project interested in mapping cellular broadband speeds at four agricultural sites in the rural Central Valley of California, using a drone equipped to spatially record cellular network speeds for ATT, Verizon and T-Mobile cell phone carriers. Information of this type may be useful for future smart-farming efforts, including allocations of resources and the potential placement of cellular antennas on farms in the future.
For more information, please see the following StoryMap, which reports the project's findings: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/d1f34c829c104c9d9bb0ed4536f39e03
The IGIS Team is pleased to share our workshop schedule for Fall 2023. See the dates and descriptions below. If you're not available to attend one that really interests you keep an eye open for the recordings on our YouTube Channel.
Introduction to ArcGIS Online
Friday September 22, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
ArcGIS Online is the online component of the ESRI geospatial ecosystem, and the foundation for web mapping, story maps, and mobile data collection. This workshop will provide an overview of ArcGIS Online and teach participants how to create a web map. This workshop is a prerequisite for the Story Maps workshop, and recommended for ArcGIS Pro.
Requirements: No experience required. Participants must have an ArcGIS Online account set up prior to the workshop (free for all UCANR employees, temporary accounts available for others). Details and registration.
Intro to R Workshop Wednesdays
Part. 1. Wednesday September 27, 2023. 10:00a - 12:00p • online • free
Part. 2. Wednesday October 4, 2023. 10:00a - 12:00p • online • free
Part. 3. Wednesday October 11, 2023. 10:00a - 12:00p • online • free
Part. 4. Wednesday October 18, 2023. 10:00a - 12:00p • online • free
R is an enormously popular open-source platform for statistics, programming, and data science. The command line interface however is very different from Excel, and can take some getting used to. This introductory 4-part workshop series will start from the beginning. Through slides and hands-on exercises, participants will learn the fundamentals of working with data in R, including importing data, cleaning and manipulating tabular data for analysis, visualization, and simple statistical tests.
Requirements. No experience necessary. Participants with some experience are welcome to start with Part 2, but are expected to know the basics. To complete the hands-on exercises, participants need to sign-up for a Posit Cloud account (free). Details and Registration.
Introduction to ArcGIS Pro
Friday October 13, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
ArcGIS Pro is ESRI's powerhouse desktop application for all things GIS. It can do everything from basic cartography to advanced geospatial modeling. This introduction will get you started creating maps with local and online GIS data.
Requirements. ArcGIS licenses are free for all UC ANR employees, and temporary accounts available for others. Instructions will be provided on how to access the software. No experience needed, but the ArcGIS Online workshop (Sept 22) or equivalent experience is strongly encouraged. Details and registration.
Introduction to Jupyter Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro
November 17, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
Jupyter Notebooks are a user-friendly and interactive way to write Python code. ArcGIS Pro supports Jupyter notebooks natively, opening the door to a wide range of options for automation and extensibility. This workshop will get you started using Jupyter Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro to automate workflows, perform geoprocessing tasks, create data summaries, and import downscaled climate data from Cal-Adapt.
Requirements: Basic familiarity with ArcGIS Pro is expected. Licenses for ArcGIS Pro are free for all UC ANR employees, and temporary accounts available for others. Experience with Python is helpful but not required. Details and registration.
Introduction to ArcGIS Story Maps
Friday Dec. 15, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
Story Maps for ArcGIS is a powerful and popular platform for creating websites that convey compelling narratives through text, media, and maps. Story Maps are increasingly used for online extension, program reporting, and presentations. This workshop will get you started and give you the tools to create your own Story Maps.
Requirements: Participants must have an ArcGIS Online account set up prior to the workshop (free for all UCANR employees, temporary accounts available for others). The Intro to AGOL workshop, or equivalent background, is a prerequisite for this workshop. Details and registration.
- Author: Andrew J Lyons
ESRI has developed a wide range of products and services that can be brought together to support a range of decision support contexts. Some of these are "no code" tools to develop web apps relatively easily. A good example of this is ArcGIS Dashboards, which allows you to bring together with relative ease a range of data sources with a modest number of transformations, layouts, and widgets. These are good options for relatively simple use-cases and if your data are already in the ArcGIS ecosystem.
However I actually get more excited about the building blocks of these systems, which to its credit ESRI also makes available. You can think of these as legos that can be combined in different configurations to support specific decision contexts. They include tools for data importing, pre-processing, analysis, and hosting, as well as delivery through a custom web interface. Below are a few highlights from my week at the ESRI conference, themed around the main components of a decision support system.
Data Pipelines. ArcGIS Data Pipelines is a fairly new tool (still in beta) for ArcGIS Online that allows you to create a data processing pipeline that imports vector or tabular data, apply some transformations, and (re)publish it as a Feature Service. A typical use case would be ingesting data from a non-ESRI platform (think open-source data portals commonly used by municipalities), clean it up, and republish it on AGOL (or Enterprise). Previously you would have to do this manually or write Python scripts for this kind of thing. Being able to import and clean up data through a flow-chart style interface is a pretty cool functionality, and particularly useful for decision support systems which often require bringing together disparate data sources under one umbrella. ArcGIS Data Pipelines exist 100% on AGOL, which is convenient but presents some limitations on what you can do. Right now all the import "jobs" have to be executed manually from the flow chart style editor, but it will support scheduling when it comes out of beta this fall. Pro Tip: although ESRI isn't charging an extra license fee to use Data Pipelines, credits are charged according to how much time you spend in the Editors, not the actual amount of data processed. So be sure to close the Editor when you're done with it!
Data Processing with Python. In terms of pre-processing and analyzing data, ESRI has a strong set of options including both "point-and-click" solutions and scripting tools. The scripting languages provide the most flexibility, and within these Python is far-and-away the most developed in the ESRI universe. ESRI has two primary packages for Python, including the venerable "arcpy" package and the recently rebranded "ArcGIS Map SDK for Python". The former is recommended if you're working locally (i.e., on your laptop), while that later is recommended if you're working in a cloud environment. Both have hundreds of functions for all kinds of data manipulations, as well as other functions for administering ArcGIS resources and interfacing with their various products. I'm a relatively newbie to working with spatial data in Python, so I attended a number of Python sessions that covered both the big picture as well as specific workflows. I look forward to working with these more and using them in projects.
Constructing Composite Indices. One of my favorite sessions this year was on constructing composite indices. Indices are commonly used in decision support systems to simplify decisions involving lots of different types of data - think about a system designed to allocate resources based on a multi-dimensional construct like "vulnerability", "conservation value", or "acquisition value". These are hard problems to wrap your head around, because they inherently involve multiple criteria which are often apples and oranges. In IGIS we bump into this need all the time. ArcGIS Pro now has a "Create Composite Index" data processing tool. But what I really appreciated about the workshop was the robust discussion of best practices, and how construction of a 'good' index is by no means a technical problem. Bias is introduced at every corner whether you like it or not, including how you normalize the individual layers, and how you combine layers into an single composite index. ESRI has some smart people thinking about this, and I would recommend everyone who creates or uses Composite Indices to read their recent whitepaper Creating Composite Indices Using ArcGIS: Best Practices.
All-in-all, attending the ESRI User Conference was an enriching experience. In addition to learning a lot of technical info, I met the ESRI developers who build these tools, other users like myself who are trying to figure out how to put the pieces together, and vendors who add value to ESRI's ecosystem. In IGIS, we like to say a 5 minute consultation can save you 5 hours of frustration. With the info and contacts I picked up at the User Conference, I feel like I made a big step forward that will save me a lot of time and effort applying these tools to upcoming projects.
- Author: Sean Hogan
The thing that I possibly like the most about the ESRI Users Conference is that you not only get to see all of the recent updates that the company has recently developed but also glimpses of what is coming soon. In particular, I am excited about the advancements that they have made in respect to web mapping applications.
Are you an ArcGIS Online user, and have been wondering when to transition from the Traditional Web Map Viewer to the new Web Map Viewer? To answer that question, for myself, I think the time is now. At this point, per ESRI, there are now only four remaining functionalities that remain to be added to the new Map Viewer to give it all of the functionality that the Traditional Map Viewer had, which will be discontinued in late 2025, including the abilities to:
- Calculate fields (this would be nice to have)
- Add additional relationships to related records (something I have never needed to do previously)
- Vector tile style editing (not something I have ever needed to do, but which I could see being useful for some people)
- Saving/duplicating layers (there is a relatively simple work around for this, but it would be nice to have it built into the Map Viewer)
That said, there are far more than four added functionalities that the new Map Viewer has that the old version lacks, including:
- Easier browsing of data
- Feature editing enhancements
- Analysis enhancements, both for vectors and rasters
- Improved visibility, filtering, and effects (on the fly)
- Toggleable layers
- Charts (donut and pie)
- Label enhancements (including improved bookmarks and placements)
- Blending (in a group layer); including blending layers with basemaps and multiply effects
- Added display expressions
- Multidimensional imagery support, including an imagery slider
- The ability to upload feature symbols (svg)
- Sketch layers (as opposed to Classic's notes) with snapping, and also with the ability to upload custom symbols
- The ability to add and manually georeferenced media layers (jpg or png) using control points (on which media blending and effects can also be applied)
Besides all of these additions, the interface has been thoughtfully revamped with usability and efficiency in mind. Some of the above enhancements will now allow you to complete some work flows/functions several times faster than they could be done before. I must admit that I am very pleased!