Reflecting on Greece

Reflecting on Greece

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We’ve been meaning to update you on our trip…. so here we are!

We all miss Greece, but are so glad to be back among our friends and family!

The above photo was taken right before we got on the ferry in Kalamos. It took us about 4 days to get home, spending 2 nights in Athens on the way back again where we shopped for gifts for friends and family, met up with Sophia’s aunt, and also some other friends of both she and Tabitha. We had the lovely opportunity to enjoy some street performers and then a coffee shop concert with Greek folk musicians.  We also spent a night in London where we stayed at a newer, hip hotel called the Moxy and went out to an authentic London pub .

Our final days in Kalamos were spent finishing up our work. Riley created a database of locations and attributes of historic location of corals, fish populations, property ownership and other things we learned about through the participatory mapping session with a local man. Tabitha finished georeferencing a total of 40 historic images from the British School in Athens which are now a resource for Terra Sylvestris for future work. Wesley completed additional drone flights, some involving sailing to the nearby Echinades Islands with a volunteer that would start after we left. Sophia directed us through finishing all these tasks and how to finish the trip and our work strong, as well as providing more guidance for the travels home. Throughout all of the trip we enjoyed trying local cuisine, namely souvlaki which is very similar to a gyro, as well as authentic olive oil and bread and the many local bakeries. We also enjoyed some time at the beach in the final days to soak up the sun just a bit more.

We’ll finish this post with a final statement from everyone so that we can each share what our highlights were, what we learned, or anything else we feel is worth sharing:

Wesley: This trip was an incredible opportunity for me. I am very grateful that I got to work with Ted who is so driven and knowledgeable about environmental conservation. It is cool to see how people on the other side of the planet deal with environmental issues and their attitudes towards them. I learned so much about environmental issues that I probably otherwise would not have, as well flying drones and their applications for research. It was also great to learn about Greek culture. I think we had a great team for the trip with the diversity in backgrounds and all our different contributions to the work. Big shout out to Sophia for organizing so much of this trip.

Tabitha: As a Coloradoan, there have been no other times in my life when I have had the opportunity to perform my work 2 feet from a hammock while overlooking the sea and I am so grateful for this opportunity to have done so. From the moment I learned about this experience, I knew that I wanted to be part of it and I have had no regrets. My professional experience and confidence has grown so much as a result of having performed research, developed an IRB protocol and traveled to and experienced the place for which we were performing our work. It felt important to see the community that our work could impact and to hear the stories of the locals who experienced the devastating effects of the decline of life in the Ionian Sea. Working in Kalamos, I understood that people care and that they need people like me to care as well. I was glad that I had skills that could be of service and I would gladly do more work like this in the future.

Riley: Participating in this project reaffirmed that the human dimension of natural resource issues is not only an important dimension but a dimension I enjoy exploring. Participatory GIS was the perfect tool to bridge the social/ environmental issues and I am overwhelmed with the fact that we were able to pull this project off. Of course, the ocean views, delicious food, and perfect team also made it an unforgettable adventure.

Sophia: Creating opportunities for students is what we love to do at the Centroid, and I’m so pleased we were able to provide such a unique one this summer for our three fearless students: Riley, Tabitha, and Wes. What a great team they made! This inaugural international initiative (alliteration fully intended) proved to be all we had hoped: a bit of adventure, a healthy dose of learning, diverse geospatial contributions towards conservation efforts of a small NGO, ample good food, and a couple good dives into the crystal clear Ionian Sea. Logistically, the trip went very smoothly (until the very last leg of the trip with an unexpected overnight in Dallas for some), which bodes well for future trips. In the coming months, we’ll provide more details of this trip and the work we did, and in the meantime we’ll begin to think about future international opportunities for Centroid interns!

Our weekend adventure

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The team is back in Kalamos after our adventure to the larger, neighboring island of Kefalonia. When we arrived at the port in Sami, we noticed a Google Street View car. We saw the driver get out and come to the same restaurant we were, so to indulge our curious nature, we ended up talking with Alexandros, a friendly young man who told us all about himself, the job with Google, and how the car worked. (He is one of three Google Street View drivers who are tasked with driving all of the roads in Greece.) We all found this very interesting and learned quite a bit. He even took a picture of us with the car’s camera system, so we hope to find ourselves in Google Street View in the coming months!

From there, we traveled to the scenic Roman beach-town of Skala where we stayed at Villa Alonia, a beautiful Airbnb that suited us perfectly. We got plenty of sun (probably too much) and enjoyed some relaxation, good food, and home-made Italian gelato. A highlight for all of us was eating at Kelari, a traditional mountain-top tavern with expansive views that made us feel like we were in a movie.

Now we are back at Terra Sylvestris, continuing our work and respective tasks. Riley is setting up the database schema and attributes to be collected during the participatory mapping sessions this week. Tabitha is georeferencing and mosaicking the second batch of historical imagery which will also be used in the participatory mapping sessions. Wesley took a bike to reach some less accessible areas of the island and captured additional drone imagery. He has covered nearly the entire eastern side of Kalamos! Sophia continues to manage and guide us, while also trying to figure out how best to process the drone imagery from afar.

 We are about halfway through our adventure and excited about the week to come.

A day of successes

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Greetings from Kalamos! Today has been a day filled with success! Riley completed a map describing ecological variables in the ocean and on land, Tabitha completed digitizing and georeferencing the first batch of historical maps from the 1940s, Wesley figured out how far he could take his drone and got some great photos of Posidonia (seagrass) along the coast of Kalamos, and Wesley and Sophia planned out the drone flights to be taken tomorrow and Saturday and we all had souvlaki!
Tomorrow, we head to the Island of Kefalonia where we are looking forward to sandy beaches, hot showers, Loggerhead turtles, and even more ancient ruins. On the way there, we will be adventuring along the coastline to take photos of Posidonia with the drone in the Echinades. You can see the Posidonia (the dark patches) in this photo —->

We’ve launched!

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The Centroid team made it to the island of Kalamos! We arrived on Sunday and connected with the director of Terra Sylvestris, Ted Karfakis, an extremely well-versed conservation scientist and local of the area with decades of experience and education under his belt. Yesterday we were given a quick (yet robust) history lesson of the Inner Ionian Sea area, its natural resource issues, and the plan for our work here. The major projects we settled on were mapping out Posidonia (seagrass) around the islands because it is an indicator of ecosystem health, mosaicking and georeferencing historic imagery from the British School in Athens, and doing participatory mapping with some locals to gain knowledge from them about land use change over time. Besides getting started with our work, we have tried to immerse ourselves in the culture of the island and its people, with Sophia as our guide. The weather has been very pleasant, and the waters are so clear that it feels like an island getaway vacation when we are not working hard to contribute to conservation efforts. We also finally got drone footage from Athens uploaded; check it out!

Here we are working hard…….


And hardly working…..

Stay tuned for more adventures in conservation mapping from Team Kalamos!

Team Kalamos: First stop, Athens

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Centroid Team Kalamos: Riley Ross, Tabitha Covey, Wesley Hartman, Sophia Linn (Pictured above left to right)

Over the next two weeks, four of us from the Geospatial Centroid will be in Greece—traveling, exploring, and ultimately putting our GIS and mapping skills to good use on the Ionian island of Kalamos. During our stay on Kalamos, we will be working with Terra Sylvestris, a non-profit organization focusing on conservation and sustainable development activities in the region. Though it may change once we arrive on the island, our duties will likely include georeferencing and mosaicking historic aerial imagery; participatory mapping with locals; and capturing drone imagery. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes!


In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying a couple of days in Athens. The weather has been perfect and our lodging (at an Airbnb) is ideally situated close to the metro and at the base of the Acropolis. Wes already made one drone flight from our rooftop!



Four great workshops you should look into

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The Centroid has 4 great upcoming workshops to finish off the spring semester.

Which ones will YOU attend?

Cartography: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned

In this free 2-hour hands-on workshop, CSU alum and Nature Conservancy cartographer Max Cook will show how to accomplish some cartographic tricks to make beautiful and inspiring maps, and provide some handy tips for making map-making easier.

Friday, April 26th, 2 – 4pm. Morgan Library Room 174   |   Click here to register


ArcGIS Pro workshops

  • Migrating from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro.

Thursday, April 25th, 8:30am – 11:30am.  Morgan Library Room 174.

Students: Free ; Non-students (CSU or otherwise): $25


Geared toward those with ArcMap experience, this workshop will focus on how to get started in ArcGIS Pro, starting with an MXD and learning how to use the new interface to accomplish the most common tasks such as navigation, editing, geoprocessing, and making a simple map. Licensing, installation and reasons for migration will also be discussed.



  • Creating and managing map layouts in ArcGIS Pro.

Wednesday, May 1st, 1:00 – 4:00pm. Morgan Library Room 174. Optional Q&A time 4:00 – 5:00pm.

Students: Free ; Non-students (CSU or otherwise): $25


Bring your own MXDs* and data for both guided and self-directed exercises working with layouts, configuring map elements and using templates. Learn to make the most of ArcGIS Pro’s new layout functionality and symbology options, such as multiple layouts, WYSIWYG formatting, and improved behavior of map elements. Geared toward those with some experience in ArcGIS Pro.   (*Sample MXDs and data will be provided for those who need them)


Introduction to Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing: The Basics

This free workshop is for those who have an understanding of GIS and want to learn something about Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing.  The workshop will overview aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum that multi-spectral remote sensing works with and introduce concepts such as band ratioing (and what NDVI, NDMI, NBR are) and land cover classification.

A hands-on lab will be introduced during the workshop.

  • Friday, May 3rd  |  1:00 – 4:00pm
  • Morgan Library Classroom 174
  • Instructor: Dr. Steven Leisz, Dept. of Anthropology and Geography
  • Register here

ArcGIS Pro Workshops – April 25 and May 1

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Registration is now open for our two workshops in ArcGIS Pro!


Here are the highlights, and details and registration links are on the WORKSHOPS page





  • Migrating from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro.

Thursday, April 25th, 8:30am – 11:30am.  Morgan Library Room 174.

COST:   Students: Free    |     Non-students (CSU or otherwise): $25


  • Creating and managing map layouts in ArcGIS Pro.

Wednesday, May 1st, 1:00 – 4:00pm. Morgan Library Room 174. Optional Q&A time 4:00 – 5:00pm.

COST:   Students: Free    |    Non-students (CSU or otherwise): $25

GIS Colorado Scholarships

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GIS Colorado is pleased to announce four scholarships available to students exhibiting academic excellence in the geospatial technologies fields: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), or related disciplines. 

Details and application

GIS Colorado is offering four scholarships for 2019:

  • Two scholarships to full-time students
    • One $1500 undergraduate
    • One $1500 graduate
  • Two scholarships to part-time students
    • One $500 undergraduate
    • One $500 graduate

Undergraduate scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate excellence in the application of geospatial tools, and are intended to support student learning and experience with geospatial technologies and tools. Graduate awards are designed to support application of GIS knowledge and expertise to independent and original research.

All winners will also receive a one year membership to GISCO. Scholarship recipients who present their project at GIS in the Rockies (as a poster or presentation), will have their conference registration fee paid by GISCO.

DEADLINE IS 11:59PM MDT, MAY 19, 2019

Finding data and solving problems in ArcGIS Online

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Free presentation and workshop in ArcGIS Online with Esri’s Joseph Kerski
Wed. March 6th:

1:00 -2:00pm:  Presentation, Morgan Library Room 203

2:00 – 4:00pm: Hands-on workshop, Morgan Library Room 175 (Free, but registration required)

Upcoming Events!

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Join us at some of our upcoming events: Seminars, a workshop, and a Mapathon: