Tag Archives: Maps
Wouldn’t it be amazing if thousands of people could learn about the power of mapping, start making their own web maps, and begin thinking spatially in new ways? MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) make it possible for universities to open higher education to many more students than was previously possible. Beginning 17 July 2013, Dr. Anthony C. Robinson, Geography Professor at The Pennsylvania State University, will offer a MOOC entitled “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution.” This MOOC uses the Coursera platform, which Penn State will be using for 4 other courses as well. Since Coursera launched in April 2012, 1.45 million students are enrolling in courses each month on their platform. Other platforms such as Udacity and EdX also attract large numbers. Not only are these statistics revolutionary, but the idea of mapping as a platform for the efficient functioning of society is also revolutionary. Why?
According to Robinson, this past decade has seen an explosion of new mechanisms for understanding and using location information in widely-accessible technologies. This Geospatial Revolution has resulted in the development of consumer GPS tools, interactive web maps, and location-aware mobile devices. These radical advances are making it possible for people from all walks of life to use, collect, and understand spatial information like never before.
This course is designed to help you rethink what maps are and what they can do, create your first map to tell a story, evaluate and critique the design of maps, explore what is revolutionary about Geography. This course runs for 5 weeks and will have you making maps, analyzing issues and patterns from natural hazards to ecoregions to population change, using exciting new tools such as ArcGIS Online.
Interested? Examine the excellent video series from Penn State on the geospatial revolution. Follow @MapRevolution on Twitter for updates. And most importantly, join the course!
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
Scale Matters, 2 of 2
Several types of scale exist in geography. Cartographic scale refers to the size of a feature on a map relative to its actual size in the real world. Cartographic scale can be expressed as a verbal statement such as “one inch equals one mile”, or graphically as in a scale bar, or as a representative fraction, such as 1:24,000 scale. A small scale map (such as 1:1,000,000) shows a great amount of area but not much detail. A large scale map (such as 1:24,000) shows a great amount of detail but not much area. This may seem counterintuitive but it is because the ratio 1:1,000,000 (or 1/1,000,000) is smaller than 1/24,000. A small fraction means a small scale map. Confusion sometimes occurs because when we discuss large scale phenomena, we usually are referring to things operating over a large area, like hurricanes. But if we were to map all of the hurricanes in a year over the North Atlantic, the map would actually have to be at a small scale to see them all at once. To clarify, I often use the terms “fine scale” and “coarse scale.”
Analysis scale refers to the size of the unit at which a particular problem is analyzed, such as on a scale of a watershed or neighborhood. Phenomenon scale, as referred to by UCSB’s Daniel Montello, is the size at which human or physical earth structures or processes exist, regardless of how they are studied or represented. They are interrelated. For example, choices concerning the scale at which a map should be made depend in part on the scale at which measurements of earth features are made and the scale at which a phenomenon actually exists.
Therefore, scale is important far beyond the map. It is important in deciding at what scale to analyze a problem. For example, for analyzing river systems, is it most appropriate to study whole drainage basins, or select a sample of watersheds? For languages, should you study dialect areas or whole language regions? We often use terms such as local, micro, meso, macro, and global in discussing scale. The idea of nesting is also important – blocks nest inside block groups, which nest inside census tracts which nest inside counties for US demographic analysis based on US Census Bureau geography. Sometimes we have to generalize features and phenomena to really see the pattern, simply because there is too much detail at a local level, and so generalization has to do with scale as well.
I discuss all of this in a video on: http://esriurl.com/scalematters. GIS contains many functions that can be effectively used in teaching about scale. How might you use GIS to teach about scale?
-Joseph Kerski, Education Manager
A principal aim of geospatial analysis is examining and understanding change over space and time. One of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do in ArcGIS desktop (www.esri.com/arcgis) or in ArcGIS Online (www.arcgis.com) is to visualize change over time by studying change based on different basemaps created on different dates.
For example, I recently conducted a GIS workshop for educators at Northeast Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. While on campus, in ArcMap, I added satellite imagery as well as the USGS topographic map. I determined the date of the topographic map (1971) by accessing the USGS Map Store. I found the date of the satellite imagery (2009) by using the Identify tool in ArcMap on the imagery layer. I used the swipe tool so I could scroll back and forth across the map to easily compare the different basemap images.
The nearly 40 years of changes revealed by comparing the topographic map to the satellite imagery indicated that the name and the location of the college had changed. The college had changed from Sterling Junior College to Northeastern Junior College, and had expanded from the northeast to the southwest. The current location of the college is the former Logan County fairgrounds. After mapping the route we took during our fieldwork with GPS receivers that day (shown in dark yellow on the map below), we discovered that we were on the old fairgrounds track. We could trace the fairgrounds track and then walk that same route on the current campus, noting what had changed.
Comparing the two basemaps revealed changes beyond the campus, including the direction that Sterling had expanded over the decades, the expansion of commercial zoning into former residential areas, and even the renumbering of the interstate from I-80S to I-76. In ArcMap, we measured the areal extent of the city in 1971 and today, compared the percentage of expansion to other communities in the area and other communities of a similar size in the region, and examined population data of these communities.
How might you analyze change over time using topographic maps and imagery of an area you are interested in?
-Joseph Kerski, Education Manager
1. Use a technology with which you’re comfy. If you’re completely new to digital mapping, I’d suggest using a web-based GIS, like ArcGIS Explorer Online. While web-based tools don’t have the extensive functions and analysis tools of a desktop GIS, they are fast to learn and easy to use. I really like the multiple BaseMaps available and the Map Notes feature. (Tech note: ArcGIS Explorer Online is not the same tool as ArcGIS Explorer (desktop). The later is a Windows desktop virtual globe.)
2. Use the GIS to teach a curricular concept that has a geographic component with readily available data. While this may sound like a “no-brainer”, GIS can be used to support the instruction of nearly any biology, Earth Systems, history or anthropology topic. Many topics in math, technology, English, and other social sciences can also be greatly enhanced. Pick an obvious and straight-forward topic that clearly needs a map, at least the first time you use a GIS. If you use ArcGIS Explorer Online, use the Search tool to discover available data before you get too far into lesson planning.
3. What level of integration works the best? Will a simple interactive map work the best? Will you present the map/concept to students or send the students out to the web on their own computers? Perhaps you need more and want to add “Map Notes” to denote specific locations in ArcGIS Explorer Online. Need to add a photo to a Map Note to really drive home the concept? Or, do you need the Cadillac solution: create a full presentation in ArcGIS Explorer Online? Consider what you need the GIS to do, in order to meet your pedagogical goals. Keep it simple the first time and then build on what you learn.
4. Plan ahead. If you decide to use ArcGIS Explorer Online, create an account at ArcGIS.com ahead of time. This will allow you to create your maps or presentations and save them online, allowing you to login from school and make your presentation with ease. Be sure to test your map or presentation sooner than the day you need it. Why? Not all schools have the required browser plug-in, Microsoft Silverlight, installed. This plug-in must be installed and correctly working before you can access ArcGIS Explorer Online.
5. Discover your personal learning network at the forums. If you run into trouble the Esri Education Community has many learning resources and places to collaborate with other educators. For example, post your issue to the new Esri Education Discussions Forums for suggestions from other users and Esri staff. You can also search the Education Community blog, containing hundreds of ideas for using GIS in the classroom.
- Tom Baker, Esri Education Manager
The Map Gallery at the 2010 National Conference on Geographic Education will be an exhibition of maps and posters that highlight the many ways GIS is being used and integrated in educational settings at all levels – K-12, undergraduate, and graduate study. Our goal is to showcase the power and value of GIS in the exploration and analysis of data in all disciplines. While the Gallery is an exhibition rather than a contest, exemplary submissions will be recognized by a panel of experts and gallery visitors will be able to vote for a “Peoples’ Choice” award.
We welcome maps of all sizes!! But the maximum dimension on any side (L or W) is 48″. Any of the following standard sizes will qualify for entrance into the Map Gallery:
24″ x 36″
32″ x 36″
34″ x 44″
36″ x 48″
1. If you are planning to attend the NCGE conference (www.ncge.org) in Savannah, PLEASE consider bringing one or more maps with you for our Gallery? Since the Opening Reception and Map Gallery will be on Thursday evening, Lyn Malone or Anita Palmer would need to have possession of them by early Thursday afternoon.
2. If you cannot get them to us by early Thursday afternoon OR if you are not attending NCGE, but have maps to contribute, we would still like very much to display them. There are two alternatives:
A. Mail your maps/posters unfolded and in a tube to Lyn Malone at her office for arrival no later than Saturday, Sept.25. She will transport all maps that are mailed to her to Savanna. Address is Marilyn Malone, 53 Riverside Dr., Barrington, RI, 02806.
B. Mail them directly to the conference hotel:
Savannah Marriott Riverfront, MARILYN MALONE, Hotel Guest
100 General McIntosh Boulevard, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Please have them arrive at the hotel no later than Tuesday, September 28.
We know what fantastic things you are doing in your respective settings – help us spread the word.
3. Finally, please email Marilyn Malone (email@example.com) or Anita Palmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) the student names of the maps/posters that you are sending beforehand or bringing to the event. Please include in your email if you are mailing the posters to Marilyn Malone, the Savannah Marriott Riverfront Hotel, or if you are bringing them with you. If you have not registered for the NCGE Conference and would like to attend, it is not too late. Visit www.ncge.org for more information on what promises to be a stimulating, educational and fun event.
Gallery Exhibition. Outstanding submissions will be recognized with a few selected prizes.
Sometimes, you just want to have fun with maps! ArcGIS Explorer Online is the tool for that, on Windows or Macintosh! I spent last week at a family reunion, with as many as 12 people and 6 dogs at a cabin in Minnesota. Eating, fishing, eating, cutting fallen trees, eating, slapping bugs, eating, going to the stadium … eating AT the stadium.
My brother grabbed my iPhone and snapped a pic of me chowing on a Polish Sausage before game time. (Yes, it was good! Yes, we won!) So I whipped up a small map with a few data points and a photo. I posted the photo on my personal website, then linked to it from the data point for the stadium. It took only a few minutes to piece together a quick map, showing the office, a favorite restaurant near the office, the airport, the stadium, and the cabin.
Try it out with your family vacation ! If you have questions about how to use ArcGIS Explorer Online, refer to the help system by clicking the blue question mark icon in the upper right. It tells you everything you need to know. Have some fun with GIS!
- Charlie Fitzpatrick, Co-Manager, Esri Schools Program
On Friday, July 9, the National 4-H GIS Team
assembled at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge for a day of service learning, prior to the ESRI Education User Conference. The refuge consists of about 1,000 acres of costal wetlands with a host of endangered plant and animal species. The 4-Her’s were tasked with locating and mapping two invasive plant species that U.S. Fish and Wildlife work to control in the refuge: Fennel and Rumex.
To accomplish the task, 4-H youth used GPS receivers to mark locations around the refuge where they located Fennel or Rumex. In cases where the invasives had grown over a larger area, the 4-Hers added some dimension comments to the waypoint, taken from the center of the growth. Using DNR Garmin, they loaded the data onto the computer, cleaned it, and brought it into ArcGIS. The resulting map shows identified Fennel and Rumex locations across the refuge.
Learn more about GIS in 4-H efforts and the ESRI 4-H Grants Program.
ArcGIS Explorer Online is available for testing, on both Windows and Macintosh, as I described last week. But ArcGIS.com also allows users to make, save, and access maps in an even simpler way, through its built-in viewer. For my 50th column in this series, I want to emphasize the “fun” part.
From the front door of ArcGIS.com, I chose “Make a Map”. I switched to a different basemap, then chose to “Add” and, keeping the search location at “ArcGIS Online,” simply typed in “weather.” From a bunch of options, I chose “RIDGE Precipitation Radar.” Cool!
I wanted to try sending a link to this, so I hit the “Link” button above the map. A screen popped up indicating I needed to save the map before I could email it. Makes sense. So I clicked “Save”, then I was popped over to the “Member Sign In”. Ah, that makes sense, too … it’s going to save my maps under my “ESRI Global ID” (a free ID that works for all kinds of resources on the ESRI site). I signed in, saved the file, made sure to choose to share it with everyone, and then returned to link to it.
It presented a screen with a long URL. I simply copied that, pasted it into an email, and sent it to myself. Over on the Mac side, I opened my email and clicked the link.
It will be key for educators to remember that saved files must be specifically set as “share with everyone” in order to allow users to view without requiring a login.
There are going to be lots of ways for educators to use these capacities! Start planning now for the new year!
- Charlie Fitzpatrick, Co-Manager, ESRI Schools Program