Geo University: a new and interactive platform to learn GIS and Earth Observation
We welcome in the EO4GEO Alliance GEO University, an online platform providing self-paced courses in GIS and Earth Observation. Its founder Dimitris Sykas answers some questions about his paltform and the future of GIS and EO skills.
What is your company about? Present briefly GEO University
GEO University is a commercial online learning platform which provides free and paid self-paced courses in the GIS and Earth Observation domains. Launched our activities in February 2018, within a year we have created more than 50 online self-paced courses, collaborated with more than 12 instructors (experts in their fields) to create them and educated more than 8000 users from 200+ countries.
What makes your company unique?
The uniqueness in our company relays on three main pillars:
- We have domain focus and expertise. All the online courses, partnerships, education material, tools, etc focus around the GIS and Earth Observation domains. This makes us well aware of our learners needs and permits to design courses to fit their demands.
- We provide more than simple courses. Our courses have interactivity like quizzes, exercises, data to download and process. Also, we recently introduced GUVI (GEO University Virtual Instructor): learners can discuss at the end of the courses with GUVI in order to better assess their understanding on the topics presented.
- Blockchain digital certificates of completion: learners get our certificates which can be verified online. They are Built for Sharing. One-click sharing to social media and professional networking sites like LinkedIn help the learners get noticed for their achievements. Each Certificate of Completion has its own web page, where everyone can see in details the skills that the learner acquired from the online courses, the course description and related job insights! Of course, the learners can manage everything from privacy to visibility, to better fit their needs. Secure and verifiable certificates that remove all doubt and prevent fraud. Single-click verification makes third-party authentication quick and easy. Bank-level encryption and blockchain logging mean it’s impossible to fake your certificates.
GEO University can be sum up in the following keywords: “Courses — Interactivity — Tools and data — Trackable learning process”
What services do you provide?
We provide online GIS and Earth Observation self-paced courses to individuals and companies. Users can simply sign up to our online platform and either enrol to courses individually or subscribe to our GEO Premium package. With GEO Premium the user gets all our online courses with one-year access and also gets access to our partners services and products. It’s a huge win for the user, since they get courses, tools and data to start learning!
Using our blockchain certificates and GUVI we also provide companies with the opportunity to assess and train current and future employees at fraction of the cost compared to webinars and on-demand seminars.
How do you see the future of EO and GIS skills looking like?
In the future, we see GIS and EO domains much more interconnected than in the past. In most EO operations, GIS skills are needed in order to integrate the information extracted by EO with other geospatial data, and also communicate this to non-technical stakeholders. And the reverse, GIS problems are becoming more and more complex, and the need for more sophisticated input is becoming a “standard”. The plethora of EO data combined with the free and open data policies (e.g. Copernicus Sentinel data) provides this more sophisticated input. These interconnecting domains will push the need for more EO and GIS skills.
By also introducing new technologies in the data acquisition part (hyperspectral, lidar, multi-band SAR, etc), in the data processing part (cloud data processing, machine learning etc) and in the visualization part (mobile apps, web applications, etc), the needed EO and GIS skills become much more multidisciplinary.
You have just joined EO4GEO, why did you decide to join the project?
EO4GEO is an excellent initiative that helps mapping skills needed in the geospatial domain (EO/GIS) and helps bridging the skills gap between supply and demand of education and training in these domains. GEO University, as a company that provides online training in the same domains, is very interested in connecting and exchanging ideas with stakeholders with need of the EO and GIS skills.