Lemons, Lemonade, and Learning: Using Internet Resources During Distancing Downtime

This entry is part 78 of 80 in the series Pangaea

In addition to working on this newsletter and serving as the editor of xyHt’s Located section, I help other clients with freelance work. My main client is a builder/developer and thanks to the current economic climate, I’m experiencing some downtime due to building projects being delayed. I suspect I’m not alone in experiencing this.

As the saying goes “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Whether you want to expand your firm’s service offerings, or you’re looking for opportunities for personal growth, continuing education can help in this effort. Here’s a sample of my recent experiences with some online resources.

Resources: Pix4D

Last month I attended a webinar by UAS Colorado featuring Pix4D, which introduced its new products. As a bonus to stay and finish the webinar, Pix4D offered a quiz with prizes at the end. I won a free introductory course to Pix4Dmapper, the firm’s flagship photogrammetry software product.

 I freely admit that most of my continuing education has been of the on-the-job training nature; attending conferences, researching topics for this newsletter, and so on. So it was a new experience for me to tackle an actual online course.

Pros: I was impressed by how easy the process was, from downloading the software and workbooks to taking the end-of-chapter quizzes to receiving my certificate. I liked the self-paced approach, which allowed me to take breaks and stop whenever I needed to attend to other matters.

Cons: I did miss the lack of interactivity. There were times when I couldn’t find a software function and had to scratch my head and navigate the screen for what seemed an overly long time. During a live session I could contact the instructor who could address my question. All in all though, it was a good experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

 While researching this article I took a strolled over to xyHt’s Measure This! podcast (another educational tool) where I discovered GeoLearn, an online resource for geospatial learning featuring the very latest in multimedia techniques along with industry-renowned curriculum developers and faculty members. Check out GeoLearn’s course catalog of affordable geospatial technology classes.

Aside from formal courses, there are a host of other, less-formal resources out there for learning.

Resources: Conferences 

Conferences are an exciting opportunity to learn about all kinds of geospatial technologies. Right now most of my go-to conferences have gone virtual. I confess that I have yet to attend a virtual expo, but later this summer I’ll virtually attend the Commercial UAV Expo and will provide a roundup on that.

Resources: YouTube

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right: YouTube is a great resource for funny cat videos. Of course it is! Seriously though, almost every geospatial entity on the planet has a YouTube channel and you can access this interesting and helpful information on-demand and at a very reasonable cost (free.)

Resources: Live and on-demand webinars

Webinars are a great learning tool especially about a specific product, service or application. Live webinars have the advantage of immediacy and interactivity. You can ask questions and get immediate feedback. On-demand webinars, on the other hand, have the advantage of schedule flexibility. I’ve missed a number of live webinars due to unexpected schedule conflicts. It’s nice to be able to watch webinars in your own timeframe.

At xyHt we’ve been solidly behind the cause of continuing education since our inception. Now, in addition to the monthly magazine, the Heights supplement, two newsletters and the informative Measure This! podcast, the xyHt team and its partners have developed a series of live online virtual conference experiences (VCX) focused on asset mapping. 

 The next time you find yourself with a bit of extra time on your hands, make a decision to maximize your downtime and take advantage of a virtual learning experience.

Stay safe, stay strong.

This article appeared in xyHt‘s e-newsletter, Pangaea. We email it once a month, and it covers a variety of unusual geospatial topics in a conversational tone. You’re welcome to subscribe to the e-newsletter here. (You’ll also receive the once-monthly Field Notes newsletter with your subscription.)

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