About GeoAcademy

The GeoAcademy is an independent consortium of GIS educators dedicated to promoting the use of open source software for geospatial technology education.  We believe that all students deserve the opportunity to learn and use technology regardless of their social or economic status.  We are committed to bringing technology training and education to  anyone and everyone in the world through the use of Internet-based education.  The GeoAcademy is an independent organization from the OSGeo Foundation and the QGIS Project which owns and distributes the QGIS software.  The QGIS Project depends upon the generous support of donors to continue their excellent work developing new features and functionality for the QGIS software.  The GeoAcademy believes our students should seriously consider donating even small amounts of money to the QGIS project to sustain the software.  We depend upon them to provide us with the latest software and they depend upon us to help them fund that effort.  Please give generously.  Join our email list to receive updates on the GeoAcademy offering!

Meet our Faculty

Kurt Menke, GISP

Kurt Menke, a certified GIS Professional (GISP), has been working in the GIS field since 1997. Prior to this, he worked as a professional archaeologist for 10 years in the American Southwest. He earned a master’s degree (MA) in geography from the University of New Mexico in 2000. That same year, he founded Bird’s Eye View (www.BirdsEyeViewGIS.com) to apply his expertise with the GIS technology to the world’s mounting ecological and social problems. Toward this end, Mr. Menke’s work focuses largely on wildlife conservation and public health. His specialties are spatial analysis, modeling, and cartography.  He is a longtime advocate of FOSS4G. He began writing MapServer applications in 2001 and has been using QGIS since 2007. He is one of the coauthors of the curriculum at theGeoAcademy and has been teaching FOSS4G college courses since 2009. In 2014, Kurt began authoring an award-winning blog on FOSS4G technologies and their use in community health mapping (http://communityhealthmaps.nlm.nih.gov/). He is the lead author on the recently published Mastering QGIS.

kurtDr. Richard Smith Jr., GISP

Dr. Richard Smith Jr., is an assistant professor of geographic information science at the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. He has a PhD in geography from the University of Georgia and holds a master of science in computer science and a bachelor of science in geographic information science degree from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. Richard actively does research in cartography, systems integration, and the use of geospatial technology for disaster response. Richard is an advocate of FOSS4G and building FOSS4G curriculum.  He is co-author on the recently published Mastering QGIS.


Dr. John Van Hoesen, GISP

Dr. John Van Hoesen is an associate professor of geology and environmental studies at Green Mountain College in rural west-central Vermont. He earned an MS in 2000 and a PhD in geology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2003. He is a certified GIS Professional (GISP) with a broad background in geosciences and has been using some flavor of GIS to evaluate and explore geologic processes and environmental issues since 1997. He has used and taught some variant of FOSS GIS since 2003, and over the last 3 years, he has taught graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education courses using only FOSS GIS software. He is co-author on the recently published Mastering QGIS.


Dr. Phillip Davis

Phillip serves as Director for the GeoAcademy and is responsible for establishing the collaborative and joining together the creative genius of the three subject matter experts (Kurt, Rick, and John) shown above.  Under his direction, the GeoAcademy has created a complete five course curriculum in GIS based upon the QGIS application software.  He is a tenured professor of computer science at Del Mar College where he has taught since 1983.  His prior service includes Project Director at the National Information Security & Geospatial Technology Consortium (NISGTC; 2012-2015) and founding Director and Principle Investigator of the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech; 2008-2013).


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