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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Focusing the Spatial Lens in the Classroom

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Shannon White, has written an article in the latest edition of the ASCD Express. Have a look at "Focusing the Spatial Lens in the Classroom" at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spatial Advertising

Thanks to Dr. Henk Scholten for sharing some great spatial examples in his plenary address to the ESRI Education Users Conference. One that caught my eye was a Dutch ad for coffee.

You can examine some of his work at EduGIS ( and GeoDan (

He shared some great perspectives on how GIS affects the development of spatial thinking.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cool GIS Gear's time to get your inner GIS geek outfitted in the latest buttons, bottle openers and keychains! My friends over at GISetc have created a fine collection that you can now purchase! Go get 'em at

New, Free GIS Tools-ArcGIS Explorer 900

Have a look at the latest geo-browser coming from ESRI in August. It updates and enhances the existing ArcGIS Explorer to new heights! I think this tool has some great applications for K-12 education. It goes beyond Google Earth's capabilities so that students can do some more analysis of map data and content. COOL tools are a good think!
I'm looking forward to creating some great curricular resources with it! Also check out the other news from the ESRI International User Conference Plenary at

It's always fun learning about new stuff when we make the trek to San Diego each summer! Thanks ESRI!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

San Diego Zoo at the ESRI UC 2009

The famous San Diego Zoo usually has an exhibit at the Map Gallery. This year was no exception. The "visitors" reminded me of home in Louisiana...

he's just a little alligator

Become a GeoMentor

Join the fun and become a GeoMentor! Lots of educators need the expertise and support of a GIS professional while lots of GIS professionals need educators to connect with. Search no more. This is the place to connect. Educators and professionals can register on the GeoMentor site for their needs. It's free and just a good thing to do!

Updates from the ESRI EdUC 2009

Fresh from the ESRI EdUC 2009 and ready to face another are the latest files updated to my website. Downloads for Georeferencing the Curriculum and the Earth, Wind and Fire presentation (sans disco music) are available along with other good resources for integrating GIS in your classroom. and

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Reading, Writing and the Great Outdoors

Bravo to this Wisconsin Teacher! Read about this summer school class where you have to meet your instructor a mile into the state park! This is such a great example of something so many of us can do to make students engaged in learning...even when it's the boring stuff like reading and writing.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Geocoding Large Data Sets...FREE

Hi all!

While I solidly believe GPS fieldwork is a great thing for a youth based project often I get questions about how can lat/long be created from an address or a spreadsheet. ESRI announced a week or so ago it’s free geocoder and it is great!(

However, one of the useful tools I would like to share today is the website Batch Geocode - It is very beneficial when you have LARGE data sets but equally as useful with a small dataset. You can very quickly copy information from a spreadsheet into this online tool and it will output the information with 2 new fields (bg_lat, bg_long –the bg stands for batchgeocode).

You can create a kmz file for use in Google Earth and you can also import this tabular data into ArcGIS, AEJEE and ArcExplorer with the x, y data!

A few tips that I will share from my experiences with this:

1) Try it out using their “data” that is preloaded before copying your own in. You will see how the process works with a small data set and what all of the fields/options are.

2) At the bottom of the process there is an option to “Save Map to a webpage” this is a webpage created on their website and you have no control over it other than to request it’s removal…which they are very nice to do if you mistakenly put up information that is sensitive (individuals names, phone numbers etc). I learned that the hard way.

3) As the geocoder is processing on the site. Watch your numbers of successfully geocoding data rows especially if you have a large dataset you have entered. The reason I suggest this is that if it slows down and appears to be stalling it is having a problem processing a specific address – if you write down the number that it seems to stall on you will know which row to go to in your spread sheet and look for potential addressing problems. I tried out a 300 person file and had 8 errors that I found this way. Also you can have it process in smaller sections by only copying in/out smaller sections of data at a time.

4) Always check the data once it loads in your GIS program or Google Earth – you may be able to quickly see errors in your information or in the processing. You can always rerun a single line of data. It is free so that doesn’t always mean correct!

I have shared this resource with professionals, youth groups and educators so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!


Shannon H. White, PhD
Geospatial Extension Specialist
Department of Geography
University of Missouri
20 Stewart Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 884-0790

Friday, July 03, 2009

ASCD 2009 Interview

In March 2009, Dr. Shannon White and I presented at the ASCD Conference in Orlando on using GIS in the Classroom. This posting slipped by me but here it is after the fact...

We'll be together again in San Diego next week for the ESRI Education Users Conference ( see us!