Education and Training

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Students learn to use GIS to view, understand, interpret, and visualize data

The Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory (GRAIL) offers a wide spectrum of educational and training opportunities, ranging from ESRI-authorized courses and federal standards training  to workshops developed by GRAIL staff and custom courses. Training services are available to NAU faculty, staff, students, and partners, including local, state, federal, tribal governmental agencies as well as private entities and individuals. Authorized ESRI instructors, registered Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata trainers, and other expert staff are available to develop and lead workshops and courses on a variety of GIS-related subjects.

Spatial Technologies Applied Research Training program

The Spatial Technologies Applied Research Training (START) program is an effort to augment NAU’s GIS curriculum with job training for students. Students in the START program work as paid interns, supporting research projects and/or providing GIS services through GRAIL or NAU departments. Internships are open to both undergraduate and graduate students from the more than nine departments using spatial technologies or engaging in environmental research.

Interns will be matched with research projects lead by GRAIL staff, NAU faculty, or partner institutions, including the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service. Students who intern with GRAIL will assist users with services that range from helping to prepare scientific maps and figures for manuscripts, publications, and proposals to assisting in spatial analyses such as wildlife habitat classification and mapping genotypes across entire regions.

Metadata training workshops

Increasing use of GIS technologies has produced a demand for standardized documentation on existing and new geospatial datasets. Creating metadata, or data about data, facilitates the development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data. A metadata record is structured information that captures the basic characteristics of a data or information resource, which makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage that data or information resource. GRAIL metadata training can be tailored for specific audiences, but is based on the FGDC’s Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) and the National Biological Inventory Infrastructure (NBII) developed Biological Data Profile.  The FGDC Content Standard is required for use with resources created and funded by the U.S. Government and is also being used by many state governments.

Web mapping workshop

After completing this workshop, students will have a clear understanding of web mapping techniques using open source and ESRI products, including ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Explorer, and ArcGIS Server. In addition, the workshop will cover Keyhole Markup Language, or KML, a file format used to display geographic data in Google Earth, and using metadata to publicize your map service through the National Spatial Infrastructure (NSDI).