Tag Archives: GIS GPS
For the last several years now, every spring and fall, I volunteer to help the local Girl Scout council, not unlike many you GeoMentors. We plan and implement a large geocaching event. The event, now called “The Geocache Party” typically has 100 to 300 Girl Scouts involved. If you have ever planned a sizable geocaching (or Open Caching) event with several activities, you know placing, tracking, and reclaiming your caches can be a real nightmare. For a single event last year, we placed nearly 100 caches across 175 wooded acres. Just try to remember where all those caches are when you pick them up, at the end of an event!
Like many outdoor geo-activities, geocaching can be enhanced by using GIS. To support individual (traditional) geocaching or large geocaching events, I have assembled my seven ideas for leveraging GIS – to plan, manage, or even evaluate your caches and performance.
- Map your geocache coordinates before you leave home with the ArcGIS Online map viewer. Explore the geographic features, hazards, and public lands wherever you are headed. You can even add real-time weather to your map.
- Track and record your geocache finds in your own map at ArcGIS.com. This allows you to tell your geocaching stories, your way.
- Preparing a geocaching event? Use a GIS to map and manage your caches. Cache type, location, activity or purpose fields help explain where and why a cache is placed. (image below)
- Print out your GIS map and take it with you for reference while geocaching. Selecting the best base map can often lend helpful data to your hunt!
- Report out! Add your GPS track, routes, and waypoints to your geocache coordinate map to see how well you did finding caches – in ArcGIS Online. (first image)
- Report out! Take all the photos and video you want while geocaching. You can place media in “notes” and geotag to document your trip.
- Learn GIS career skills while enjoying a great geo-hobby!
By the way, both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts now offer Geocaching badges, each at certain age levels.
- Tom Baker, Esri Education Manager
David Jonassen (1995) described seven qualities of meaningful learning with technology. They are: active, constructive, collaborative, intentional, conversational, contextualized, and reflective. These are valuable not only to keep in mind when teaching with GIS, but to be purposeful, asking before each class, “How can I be active in my teaching with GIS today?” “How can I be conversational?” and so on.
Those I know who teach with GIS are good examples of putting these qualities into practice. Their teaching is never just for the technology’s sake, even when it is with the goal of increasing the students’ GIS skills for career readiness. They teach in context and with a purpose, asking students to reflect on problem-solving, data, scale, critical thinking, and more. Jonassen and others make a strong case for the value of situated learning, or learning in context, which is exactly what teaching with GIS entails.
Jonassen’s three assumptions about technology are also instructive. These include the following:
- Technology is more than hardware; it consists of the designs that engage learners.
- Learning technology is any environment of a definable set of activities that engages learners in knowledge construction.
- Knowledge construction is not supported by technologies used as conveyors of instruction that prescribe and control all learner interactions. Rather, technologies support knowledge construction better when they are need-driven or talk-driven, learner-initiated, and when interactions with the technologies are conceptually and intellectually engaging.
Technologies as toolkits enable learners to build more meaningful personal interpretations and representations of the world.
According to Jonassen, learners and technologies should be “intellectual partners”, an intriguing concept in which the cognitive responsibilities for performing are distributed by the part of the partnership that performs it best. Let’s say you are studying the relationship between elevation and rainfall on the windward and leeward sides of mountains. Calculating how much rainfall occurs at different elevations and on the western versus the eastern sides of the mountains through overlay would be something you would let the GIS software do. But your final assessment that incorporates multimedia and a presentation relies more heavily on your own input and reflection—not something that the software can do. This is one of my favorite things about teaching and learning with GIS. The software is the enabler and the GIS user provides the solution.
How are you incorporating elements of Jonassen’s seven qualities in your own GIS-based instruction?
- Joseph Kerski, Esri Education Manager
Jonassen, David H. 1995. Supporting communities of learners with technology: A vision for integrating technology with learning in schools. Educational Technology. July-August, pp. 60-63.
Many great new features have been added to the mapping tools (ArcGIS Explorer Online and the ArcGIS.com map viewer) found at ArcGIS.com over the summer. For example, we can now easily map tracklogs created by GPS units and smartphones, save, and share.
On a recent summer trip, I was fortunate to ride in a hot balloon in northern California. The first thing I did? I turned on my smartphone GPS application of course! I used Motion-X GPS to capture my position in a tracklog. Motion-X GPS is a great smartphone application but any similar app will do. Throughout the balloon ride the smartphone was tracking my position and when we landed, I stopped the recording and emailed myself a copy of my route in a GPX format.
At my desk, I used a browser to go to the ArcGIS.com map viewer. Pressing the “Add” button and selecting “Add Layer from File” is all I needed to do. I located the GPX file that I saved to my computer and voila!
What a great way for students to share summer trips! Even fall trips to the zoo, public gardens, parks, or nature centers would make for a great map-based story. Or used as-is, this trip makes for an interesting way to start exploring northern California’s agriculture. We floated over tomatoes, sunflowers, soy, and more. Try leveraging high-resolution imagery as a basemap beneath the balloon’s path.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a link to the original GPX file of my balloon ride. Try recreating and improving upon my map. Notice there’s even an elevation field in the GPX file which could be a very nice addition to the map. Post links to your trip and story maps below!
- Tom Baker, Esri Education Programs Manager
I have created a new series of videos on the Esri Education Team’s YouTube Channel and on my geography channel that describes the process of gathering field data with GPS and mapping and analyzing it with GIS in educational contexts. The videos feature explanations and demonstrations not only on the technical procedures involved with gathering data on locations and characteristics of data and then analyzing its spatial patterns, but also the pedagogical advantages to using these technologies within the context of spatial thinking in instruction. In short, they focus not only the “hows”, but also the “whys”.
Topics covered are suitable for all levels of education, formal and informal, in multiple disciplines ranging from environmental studies to geography, history, mathematics, and earth and biological sciences. The videos span multiple tools, from the Minnesota DNR Garmin program to ArcGIS desktop, ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Explorer Online. The videos span multiple methodologies and discuss the merits of each. For example, one discussion illustrates the advantages of keying in field data and coordinates versus cabling the information to a computer, and the advantages of linking maps to multimedia taken from a standard camera versus that taken from a smartphone. Embedded throughout the series are issues of data and project management, scale, accuracy, precision, metadata, and appropriateness. At present, the videos include the following 25 titles with more to be added in the future:
- Introduction and goals of the video series.
- Considerations before embarking on a field data collection project.
- Collecting positions and attributes in the field with GPS and other devices.
- Considerations during and after conducting field investigations.
- Advantages to using a combination of GPS and GIS in the educational curriculum.
- Reflections on which tools and methods are most appropriate for use in specific educational settings.
- Cabling location and attribute data to a computer using the Minnesota DNR Garmin application; software considerations.
- Cabling location and attribute data to a computer using the Minnesota DNR Garmin application; hardware considerations.
- The difference between GPS tracks and waypoints.
- Accessing and using GPS-gathered waypoints and tracks.
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS Online.
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS Explorer Online
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS Explorer virtual globe.
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS Explorer virtual globe, part 2: Completed project: A Mojave Desert Joshua Tree example.
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS desktop (version 10).
- Mapping and analyzing field data with ArcGIS desktop (version 10), part 2: Symbolizing and linking to multimedia.
- Using a smartphone for location, photographs, and video in gathering and mapping data.
- Using a smartphone for location, photographs, and video in gathering and mapping data, part 2: How to email photographs and videos from the field via a smartphone to a GIS to map and analyze it spatially.
- Using a smartphone for location, photographs, and video in gathering and mapping data, part 3: How to automatically geotag photographs and videos from the field via a smartphone to a GIS to map and analyze it spatially.
- Using a smartphone for location, photographs, and video in gathering and mapping data, part 4: Discussion and demonstration of how to automatically geotag photographs and videos from the field via a smartphone and a GeoRSS feed to map and analyze it spatially in a GIS.
- The positional accuracy of a smartphone versus a GPS receiver. Results of experiments comparing the positional accuracy of these two devices.
- Drawing with GPS, Mapping with GIS. Introduces and demonstrates how and why to draw letters and shapes with your GPS and mapping them with GIS.
- Dragging and dropping GPX files into ArcGIS Online locally.
- Dragging and dropping GPS files into ArcGIS Online internationally.
- Dragging and dropping text files with latitude-longitude coordinates into ArcGIS Online.
How might you be able to use these videos, and more importantly, these methodologies, in your instruction?
- Joseph Kerski, Education Manager
May 11, 2011 at 9pm EST/8pm CST
Dr. Joseph Kerski presents web-based GIS ideas that you can use in the classroom tomorrow! Explore engaging, one-day, classroom activities that use cutting-edge Geo-Web 2.0 tools. We’re highlighting the web-based mapping tools that will inspire students to learn, even with the last days of school fast approaching. Join Dr. Joseph Kerski, 2011 NCGE President and an Esri Education Manager as he leads this webinar. The face-paced, intriguing nature of the Geo-Web 2.0 Tools will be sure to turn your students’ minds to learning before they can grab their flip flops and plan their summer vacations. Don’t miss it!
The early 21st Century is an age of contrasts. Opportunities for recreation have never been more numerous. During my childhood in western Colorado, not one person went mountain biking or jet-skiing, and yet those activities are enjoyed by the thousands each month. However, an intimate connection to landscape and place is less likely to be a part of a part of our common human experience than ever before. We laughed in the movie Vacation after Chevy Chase reached the edge of the Grand Canyon, took a breath, and said, “OK, kids, back in the car!” Yet how often do we fail to allow ourselves to really experience a place? How often do we take a photograph and then quickly plot a course for the next waypoint in our GPS receivers? Do we even have the skills to experience place any longer? Why is it important to do so?
<IMG alt=”My src="http://downloads2.esri.com/blogs/images/info_6533.jpg" Picture?
A new book entitled Putting Interpretation on the Map by Heidi Bailey, published by the National Association of Interpretation (NAI), explores how we connect with places, particularly through maps and geographic tools. I wrote the Foreword to this book because after participating in several NAI conferences and projects, I was struck by the close alignment of the everyday tasks of park, museum, and historical site interpreters to the discipline of geography. Indeed, holistic thinking has always been a part of both interpretation and geography. As environmental scientist David Orr said, “We need people to think big picture, to pick apart the trivial from the important.” For decades, interpreters have been geographers in action, applying the geographic themes of movement, region, human-environment interaction, location, and place to real places, real events, and real people. Interpreters can and do make a difference. In the wake of widespread, documented declines in student fieldwork and general public connection to the landscape in this electronic age, interpretation not only enhances experiences but also can reconnect the general public to landscape, history, and place. And interpreters are turning to GIS technology as a key tool to help them in their important work.
–Joseph Kerski, ESRI Education Manager
Scientists and decision-makers are using a greater variety of tools and data than ever before to investigate and respond to our changing planet. With an increasing amount of these tools and data becoming publicly available, students have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in scientific research that explores Earth’s evolving environment.
The 2010 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, an activity of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, awards cash prizes to secondary school students (grades 9-12) whose projects demonstrate the best use of satellites and other geospatial technologies or data to study Earth.
Three cash awards will be given: 1st place — $2,000; 2nd place — $1,000; and 3rd place — $500. Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams. In the case of team entries, the cash award will be split equally among the winning team members.
In addition to prizes for the winning students, the teachers of the first-, second- and third-place students or teams will receive a $200 amazon.com gift card. If participation is part of an after-school club or other activity independent of school, the student or team can identify an adult “coach” who would be eligible for this award (e.g., a parent, club leader, etc.).
Entries must be postmarked April 5, 2010. IGES plans to announce the winning entries by May 12, 2010. Entries will be judged by IGES staff.
Eligible geospatial tools and data include satellite remote sensing, aerial photography, geographic information systems (GIS), and Global Positioning System (GPS). The main focus of the project must be on the application of the geospatial tool(s) or data to study a problem related to Earth’s environment.
Geospatial technologies and data have numerous uses in science research, ranging from climate prediction to archaeology. They can be used to improve our understanding of the Earth system, including interactions among the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere. They can also be used to improve the quality of our lives by supporting weather prediction, natural hazards monitoring, agriculture, land-use planning, coastal management, transportation, public health, emergency response and other fields.
Investigate the Caribbean, GeoTag Your Photographs, Analyze Hurricanes, and More in the GIS Workshops at the National Conference on Geography Education
Come explore your community, region, and world using GIS in a series of hands-on workshops at the upcoming annual National Conference on Geography Education (www.ncge.org). The setting of this year’s conference—San Juan Puerto Rico—is the perfect place to analyze the climate, economics, natural hazards, and demographics of the Caribbean region. The workshops will also illustrate how GIS can be incorporated into geography instruction across all levels of formal education, in informal educational settings, and in all regions. My colleagues and I are teaching a series of workshops that are each one hour long that you can mix and match to meet your needs. These include: Mapping History Using GIS, Exploring the Caribbean With GIS, Gathering GPS Coordinates and Field Data and Modeling It Within A GIS Environment, A Birds Eye View, GeoTagging Ground Photographs, Mapping Patterns in ArcGIS Explorer, Remote Sensing Applications, Seeking and Finding Spatial Data, Analyzing Ocean Surface Temperatures, and Making GIS Accessible to All Using PDF Maps.
These workshops are part of a larger geospatial strand organized by Lyn Malone and Anita Palmer, which includes papers and posters on geospatial technologies of all kinds. Nearly 500 people will be gathering at this year’s NCGE conference and I hope you will take advantage of the field trips, exhibits, and networking opportunities there. The NCGE has been enhancing and supporting geography education since 1915, and its members include an international group of professors, teachers, students, businesses, and others who support and believe in geography education. This year, NCGE members have been involved in creating the geography map for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, updating the national geography standards, publishing journals including the Journal of Geography and the Geography Teacher, creating curricular materials, and a variety of other exciting projects.
For more information, visit http://www.ncge.org and navigate to the 2009 annual meeting. Hope to see you there. Buen viaje!
-Joseph Kerski, Education Manager, ESRI
From the ArcGIS Explorer Team blog:
A Live GPS task, written by Edan Cain of the ArcGIS Explorer team, has recently been posted on ArcScripts. You can download it directly from the ArcGIS Explorer section of ArcScripts, or by choosing ArcScripts from the Explorer Resource Center.
The task allows you to capture a live GPS location, or optionally start tracking your location based on a specified time interval. The locations are stored as results, and the result popup window displays the XYZ values and time stamp at each location, along with any additional information you may want to add. Other options allow you to dynamically center the map on the GPS position, and change the speed units from kilometers to miles. Additional details can be found in the task summary.
I recently conducted an inservice workshop for secondary-level instructors here at ESRI in Broomfield, Colorado. I find that including GIS and GPS technologies in the framework of inquiry-based lessons fits quite well with the goal of modeling how to teach applied geography—investigating culture, people, landscapes, natural hazards, biodiversity, urban sprawl, and in this case, land cover and land use.
On campus here, we took some GPS readings, and noted the natural land cover, current land cover, and current land use. We wrote down the latitude, longitude, natural land cover (in this case, shortgrass prairie), current land cover (in this case, grass lawn with some native longstem grasses planted), and current land use (office park). Once back in the lab, we created a spreadsheet of this data, saved it as a CSV file, and used Tools? Import File to map it in 3-D using ArcGIS Explorer. We downloaded the photographs from the camera and uploaded them to a website (alternatively, we could have uploaded them to the local computer). Next, we added the following text to the popup content window for a selected point:
<B> View to the Flatirons from ESRI Broomfield </B>
Shortgrass Prairie Ecoregion <BR>
<IMG height=250 src=”http://www.josephkerski.com/images/back_lawn.jpg” width=430>
Quick help guides abound on the Internet for writing simple HTML scripts like the one above. For example, the <B> tags </B> make the text bold. The size parameters in the IMG SRC (image source) tags reduce the size of the photographs on the popup windows so they won’t take up the whole screen.
We then right clicked on each data point and told the software to show the popup window. The result is below:
The activity took only 45 minutes, but could be expanded to include additional points, or linking to videos, scanned landscape sketches, URLs about the land use of this area, observations about each point written as text files, and more.
If this whets your appetite for doing more, see the ArcGIS Explorer blog: http://blogs.esri.com/Info/blogs/arcgisexplorerblog/
- Joseph Kerski, ESRI Education Manager