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Thursday, June 28, 2007

MapStats for Kids

I thought everyone might enjoy this great resource. It looks like a great way to start thinking about maps and data without digging into serious GIS.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ESRI User Conference 2007: DAY 4

The last day was a busy one for me....since I was presenting. Dr. Shannon White and I talked about Curriculum and Mapping. One key concept is what I'm calling "georeferenced curriculum". We talk about finding connections in the curriculum for geography and spatial thinking. What I'm really talking about is "georeferencing the curriculum" just like we might georeference a picture so that it lines up with the data. We need the curriculum to be georeferenced to our mapping two cents worth!

Our session was rounded out with Martina Forster who is working the the Centre for GIS and Remote Sensing in Rowanda. She's embarking on a trememdous effort to bring GIS to the students and teachers of Rowanda! Exciting work happening all around the world!

The next session showcased the work of the Rural Center for STEM at James Madison University. Dr. Bob Kolvoord presented a curriculum project that's available online at I've been writing GIS activities for the Rural Center. A group of teachers will be working with the activities and utilizing them with their students this summer and fall. Then we heard from the folks at CIPE on sustaining GIS. Finally, Dr. Shannon White and Luis Perez from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology shared their work on Podcasting for professional development. You can admire their work at

ESRI User Conference 2007: DAY 3

What a fun time at the User Conference Plenary sessions and map gallery reception! Along with all the cool stuff going on at ESRI and the continuing software developments, you had to be impressed with a pen that makes maps and a globe that projects the data like my computer screen. WAYYY cool!

The afternoon brought the impressively moving keynote by Professor Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Environmentalist and Founder of the Greenbelt Movement. She identified a need in her homeland and banded with the women to make a change. Her work was inspirational. I want to run home and plant 20 trees! Check out her work at!

ESRI User Conference 2007: DAY 2

Day 2 for me started with Environmental Learning projects. The folks at Science Approach ( shared their work with CIPE, Ocean Explorers and the Teams. Check out their work at They were followed by Lauren Young from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi who shared her Master's project work. She's created lessons and experiences for students and teachers involving their watershed in South Texas. I believe she's right on track with her "Where do I live?" activity and the "Follow the Water Drop" activity. I'll be interested to see what comes of her research. The final presentation was from Lyn Malone, a well-respected collegue in GIS in education. She's always busy working on multiple projects. You can find her at . She shared her work with the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study. Don't miss the Coyote Mapper! Great work, as always, from Lyn!

The rest of my day was consumed with more computer lab time, raster data, and the Curriculum Development SIG. Then, dinner with friends made it the perfect day!

ESRI User Conference 2007: DAY 1

It's another great trip to San Diego, CA this year!

Day 1: We started with great presentations by the ESRI staff on the latest and greatest with their efforts. Ann told us that the licenses will include more extensions. ArcGIS online is a great resource: The folks from the ESRI Mapping Center shared their new website and offered some great ways for educators to connect with serious cartographers. ESRI responded to our requests from last year's curriculum development meeting and has created the Education Community website. Be sure to check that out at .

After the break we heard from Prof. Stig Enemark of Denmark. He shared the challenges of surveying and how educators can play a role in maintaining their vocation. I especially liked a quote he shared, a chinese proverb. "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand." I love to hear this kind of message. We in education must remember to "involve" students in their curriculum so that "understand."

He was followed by Curtis Sumner who is the Executive Director of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. He also brought us the message that we all need each other to make a difference in education and ultimately the future workforce. His organization is fostering relationships with educators by offering a one year free membership. You can find them at

I spent the rest of my afternoon in a computer lab learning about downloading Census data and importing it to ArcGIS. Now I understand why I had not done much of this in the past. It's certainly a more time consuming process than simply adding shapefiles, but gives great analytical opportunities once you have it. You can download data at

We concluded DAY 1 with the Education Expo and Reception. It's always great to see all my GIS pals from around the country. I especially enjoyed talking with the folks from Service at Sea. They're embarking on a very interesting physical and education journey. Check it out at

Shannon's List of Resources

A *.pdf of this document is available for download at

What other GIS resources are available to me as an educator?
by Shannon H. White, Ph.D.

Courses and other training
Colleges, universities and community colleges
Many educational institutions offer courses in GIS. There are few courses designed for educators and integration of GIS in the K-16 setting. Check with your local college, university and community colleges for GIS related courses.
ESRI Virtual Campus ESRI has a Virtual Campus ( with discounted online courses for educators. These courses are based upon a variety of ESRI products. They have been developed so that those enrolled can work at their own pace. These are a good place to start for novices and as a review for the more advanced users.

Other Training
There are numerous training opportunities offered by organizations and agencies. The KanGIS website is one location to locate GIS training, workshops, institutes that are upcoming across the nation and world. ( There are also companies such as GISEtc ( that offer GIS training for schools and communities. ESRI also has a "Friends of GIS Education" list of companies and agencies ( ). They support GIS education with products, training, and resources.

This is not a complete list but a few of our favorites focused on GIS in Education!
GIS Books For and About Educators
GIS in the Classroom: Using Geographic Information Systems in Social Studies and Environmental Science by Dr. Marsha Alibrandi (2003) Heinemann Press
GIS in Schools by Richard Audet and Gail Ludwig (2000) ESRI Press
Mapping Our World: GIS Lessons for Educators by Lyn Malone, Anita Palmer, Christine Voigt (2002) ESRI Press
Community Geography: GIS in Action by Kim English and Laura Feaster (2003) ESRI Press
Community Geography: Teachers Guide by Lyn Malone, Anita Palmer, Christine Voigt (2003) ESRI Press
The Essentials of the Environment by Joseph Kerski and Simon Ross (2005) Hodder Arnold
A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems by Shelly Sommer and Tasha Wade, Editors (2006) ESRI Press

GIS Software Reference books
Getting to Know ArcView GIS (1997) ESRI Press
Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop (2001) ESRI Press
GIS for Everyone 3rd Edition (2003) ESRI Press
GPS Reference books
Fun with GPS by Donald Cooke (2005) ESRI Press
GPS for Dummies by Joel McNamara (2004) For Dummies Press
How to Do Everything with your GPS by Rick Broida (2003)
GPS Mapping by Rich Owings (2005)

Agencies and Organizations
There are numerous local, state, regional, and national agencies and organizations that are helpful to educators. They may come to your school to give a presentation; to help you find data; to donate hardware such as a used plotter, to help answer your GIS questions. GIS partners in your community can help your bring GIS to your students. They bring real life problems, experiences and GIS work to your classroom.
Suggestions of GIS partners may include:
In your city, town or county:
local GIS office
local police, fire and rescue services
local utility companies and departments (electric, natural gas, water, sewer, etc)
tax assessors office or deed office
city planner
historic commission
voter registration
community colleges, colleges, universities (look for Geography departments or search GIS on their website)

In your State:
Highway Department or Transit Authorities
Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
Regional Planning Commissions
Historic Commission or Registry

Spatial Data Clearinghouses
Geographic Alliances ( )
National Agencies and Organizations
US Geologic Survey -
Site specifically for educators:
US Census Bureau -
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -
Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) -
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - )
National States Geographic Information Centers ( )
Geospatial Information and Technology Associations (GITA) Regional Chapters:
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Chapters:
National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis ( )

International Resources
Geospatial Information and Technology Associations (GITA) Global Affiliates:
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) International Chapters:
GISIG-Geographical Information Systems International Group:
UNIGIS (International Universities and Colleges offering courses in GIS) -
International Map Trade Association -
In addition, there are libraries that are repositories of GIS data. The NC State University is one such library (