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#1
bruce

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I finally registered after a year of visiting the site. The exchange of ideas is fascinating and I found answers to many of my questions. I recently completed the Penn State GIS certificate program. For me, the program was extremely valuable because of the total immersion into GIS. My background is in municipal fire protection and I needed a structured program to provide a foundation in GIS. I am now starting to learn Illustrator and Photoshop CS3. I am interested in the Avenza products, but have no exposure to their capability. My area of interest for GIS and cartography is emergency response planning and incident mapping. If anyone knows of training courses oriented in that direction let me know.
Bruce Hensler

#2
frax

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Bruce, very welcome!
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#3
ELeFevre

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Hey Bruce,
Welcome to the forum. I'd really like to hear more about your experience and overal impression of the Penn State GIS certificate program. It appears to be the most intensive and challenging online program available.



#4
mattm

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Hi Bruce,

Welcome,

If you are interested in Avenza products downlaod the 14 day demos and run through the tutorials so you can see what they are like
[size=1]Matt Murray

#5
mike

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Hi Bruce, welcome to CartoTalk!

#6
bruce

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Hey Bruce,
Welcome to the forum. I'd really like to hear more about your experience and overal impression of the Penn State GIS certificate program. It appears to be the most intensive and challenging online program available.



Thanks for the welcome everyone. I ought to think about wearing my glasses when I use the computer as I always find my typos late. Anyway, about the Penn State GIS program...I found it challenging, but never impossible. The workload is not overbearing, it is designed for 8-12 hours of input per week. For me, some weeks it was much more and some it was less. Going into the program I had perhaps 6 months practice in ArcMap 9.1 and I had completed ESRI instructor-led classes such as ArcGIS I, II, and Network Analyst, as well as several virtual courses covering map projection ands spatial analysis. Prior to that I had no GIS or cartographic training. My only incentive was a life-long interest in maps. I will claim to being spatially oriented and had no problem with concepts such as projections and transformations. That said, I believe the prior training in ArcMap was critical to my overall success. Reading the student forum led me to believe that those who encountered problems either had no experience with ArcMap or made the simple mistake of failing to read or follow instructions. Lessons begin with comprehensive, step-by-step instructions. As soon as you master a step or level, the degree of instructions decreases so that you must do it own your own. This in unlike ESRI courses where instructions are consistently detailed throughout a course. The program requires submitting completed maps, quizzes, and tests online. (Each student has their own psu.edu website.) The quizzes can be difficult because the questions are at times subjective. After I couple of bad experiences with quiz-taking I decided to not worry about my grade and instead focused on learning and comprehension. I did well on the exams. Instructor support is great and PSU virtual student services are great. I really like ESRI, but the best part of the program is the exposure to specialized, non-ESRI software, applications, tools, etc. I believe it would have taken me years on my own to learn what I did in just 12 months. The program and reading forums such as this made the difference for me. I hope that helps. If you have any questions, let me know.
Bruce Hensler

#7
MapMedia

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Welcome Bruce!! Glad you found us!

#8
bruce

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Hey Bruce,
Welcome to the forum. I'd really like to hear more about your experience and overal impression of the Penn State GIS certificate program. It appears to be the most intensive and challenging online program available.



Thanks for the welcome everyone. I ought to think about wearing my glasses when I use the computer as I always find my typos late. Anyway, about the Penn State GIS program...I found it challenging, but never impossible. The workload is not overbearing, it is designed for 8-12 hours of input per week. For me, some weeks it was much more and some it was less. Going into the program I had perhaps 6 months practice in ArcMap 9.1 and I had completed ESRI instructor-led classes such as ArcGIS I, II, and Network Analyst, as well as several virtual courses covering map projection ands spatial analysis. Prior to that I had no GIS or cartographic training. My only incentive was a life-long interest in maps. I will claim to being spatially oriented and had no problem with concepts such as projections and transformations. That said, I believe the prior training in ArcMap was critical to my overall success. Reading the student forum led me to believe that those who encountered problems either had no experience with ArcMap or made the simple mistake of failing to read or follow instructions. Lessons begin with comprehensive, step-by-step instructions. As soon as you master a step or level, the degree of instructions decreases so that you must do it own your own. This in unlike ESRI courses where instructions are consistently detailed throughout a course. The program requires submitting completed maps, quizzes, and tests online. (Each student has their own psu.edu website.) The quizzes can be difficult because the questions are at times subjective. After I couple of bad experiences with quiz-taking I decided to not worry about my grade and instead focused on learning and comprehension. I did well on the exams. Instructor support is great and PSU virtual student services are great. I really like ESRI, but the best part of the program is the exposure to specialized, non-ESRI software, applications, tools, etc. I believe it would have taken me years on my own to learn what I did in just 12 months. The program and reading forums such as this made the difference for me. I hope that helps. If you have any questions, let me know.



Erin, I know that was a longwinded answer, but there are two more things worth noting that I thought of today. One is the emphasis the instructors place on developing a workflow for projects and the second is submitting work on time because late submittals suffer a penalty.
Bruce Hensler




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