Monthly Archives: February 2009

Geographic Resources Publication Listing

The James and Marilyn Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research, housed in the Department of Geography at Texas State University, announced this week the availability of a “Geographic Resources:
Publication Listing” of over 200 geography, or geographically-oriented publications and their website links. The listing resides on:

The listing is composed of information obtained from the World Wide Web, library holdings, and the Center’s Occasional Paper No. 1 ( At present, the material is organized alphabetically and includes any publication known to accept and publish material that includes a geographer as first author or as a co-author.

- Joseph Kerski, ESRI Education Manager

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Subscribe to ESRI Publications

Did you know that you can subscribe to ESRI print and electronic newsletters online? Publications from across ESRI, including six different education publications are available. Even RSS news feeds from ESRI can be found at this one-stop for ESRI News and Publications.

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Our World Level 1 lessons now available for ArcGIS

In summer 2008, ESRI Press introduced the Our World GIS Education series. This series of books is considered the “next generation” of GIS lessons that update and extend the popular curriculum presented in Mapping Our World: GIS Lessons for Educators.

Educators from elementary school teachers to college and university instructors have responded enthusiastically to the introductory GIS lessons presented in Thinking Spatially Using GIS, Level 1 of Our World GIS Education. Unique to the series, the lessons in Thinking Spatially Using GIS utilize ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education (AEJEE) software to provide an entry into the exploration of spatial problems with GIS.

The AEJEE software required by the lessons is free, it works on both PC and Macintosh computers, and is relatively simple to set up and use. AEJEE is the right solution for teachers who are beginning to explore the use of GIS in the classroom.

However, for teachers at a school with a site license, ArcGIS Desktop may be a more natural choice of software to have their students work with. In response to requests by such teachers, ESRI Press has created a new set of ArcGIS-based materials to go with this book.

The new materials include ArcGIS-based student workbook pages, teacher notes, map documents, and a few revised data layers. The materials can be downloaded for free from the Thinking Spatially Using GIS Web site. Please note: the materials in the download do not stand alone. Users will still need the data provided on the CD in the book to complete the ArcGIS lessons.

- Laura Bowden, ESRI Educational Services

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What's Coming in ArcGIS 9.3.1?

ArcGIS 9.3.1 improves the performance of dynamic map publishing and increases the sharing of geographic information.

    * High-Performance Dynamic Map Publishing
    * Better Sharing of Geographic Information
    * Enhanced Support for Java Developers
    * Easy to Install

Learn more about ArcGIS 9.3.1

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Fun with GIS using AGX #16: Island Reef Application

Many people have heard about “the best job in the world“, a promotion by Tourism Queensland. About 34,000 people have applied. I decided to as well, building my application using ArcGIS Explorer (or “AGX”), ESRI’s free, downloadable, 3-D geoexploration tool. Rather than try to “out-zany” the entire world, I chose to use the power of a geographic presentation.

Since my application had to be a movie of no more than 60 seconds, I developed a short tour, with different views of the world, and images linked from special points. The pop-ups appear where they are set when the AGX file is saved, so I pulled the Results off to the right and closed the rest of the Contents window, then customized each pop-up. The hardest part was choosing the sequence, with only enough as could reasonably fit in a minute. To make video capture be as smooth as possible, I visited each site several times, to ensure the cache was in place.

I recorded a script on my PDA, then played it while I recorded the video of my personal tour. After one take of each, I imported the audio into the video, and saved the combined file.

Take a look at my movie and think about students preparing a geoexploration of their own. They don’t need to apply for a job, but they do need to think about the important features, resources, and locations to present, and how might the viewer best understand the presentation. Enjoy!

- Charlie Fitzpatrick, ESRI K-12 Education Manager

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ArcLessons Interface Redesigned

ArcLessons is a library of lessons and data that are authored by educators for educators. Its contributors include university and community college professors, educational consultants, the ESRI education team, and primary and secondary school teachers. It has steadily grown over the past decade to include more than 200 lessons, and includes software and tools such as ArcGIS, AEJEE, ArcGIS Explorer, GPS, and more. Most ArcLessons are packaged with data sets, so once downloaded, are ready to use in the classroom in a wide variety of settings. These lessons may be used as written, mined for just the pieces needed, or used for the wealth of data that they are bundled with. The ArcLessons library’s diverse content that includes natural hazards, population, transportation, agricultural security, and other topics reflects the utility of GIS as a tool for helping teach about and understand the relevant issues of our 21st Century.

New ArcLessons interface for the lesson and data “On the Road Again: Transportation Analysis of the USA.”

The ArcLessons graphical user interface has recently undergone a redesign. In response to educators’ needs, we have included a graphic along with metadata that helps educators decide whether the lesson is suitable for his or her needs. These elements include the file size, the file type, the topic, the GIS level for which the lesson is designed, the target audience, the geographic scale, the location, a description, the software used, estimated time required to run the lesson, the lesson’s language, date, focus, style, author, organization, and contact information. In addition, the search utility has been improved. Keywords search all fields and helps one quickly locate an appropriate lesson.

Look for additional improvements in ArcLessons to follow, including a system for rating lessons, and more. Keep your ideas coming. They help us make these resources more useful for the entire GIS education community.

- Joseph Kerski, ESRI Education Manager

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ESRI's New ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight to be Released at the ESRI Developer Summit

The beta release of the ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight will coincide with the 2009 ESRI Developer Summit in Palm Springs, California, to be held March 23-26. This new API allows application developers to integrate ArcGIS Server and Microsoft Virtual Earth services and capabilities in a Silverlight application.

More information.

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Mapping Geotagged Pictures with ArcGIS Explorer

“Geotagging” is the process of adding location information to digital media. Most often, geotagging refers to adding latitude/longitude to digital picutres. Some people find knowing “where” a picture was taken, as valable as knowing “when” it was taken. For this reason, I’ve begun adding lat/long to some of my pictures, such as a recent trip I took to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, where I was on safari.

As the ArcGIS Explorer team blogged, adding geotagged pictures to ArcGIS Explorer is really easy! Just insert the “Add Photo” task and then begin adding your photos that you’ve geotagged. You can save my giraffe picture below (that I’ve already geotagged) and practice. Geotagging pictures from a school field trip to the zoo, a school yard inventory, or community investigation can be great fun for students of all ages.

- Tom Baker, ESRI Education Manager

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GI Summer Schools in Vancouver and Tuscany

Summer schools offer the perfect opportunity to recharge both body and mind: a mini-sabbatical! Among the multiple opportunities for GI learning at summer schools here are two international events that we especially like for 2009. (Full disclosure: I had a hand in the second.)

The Canadian research network GEOIDE (GEOmatics for Informed Decisions) is running a “summer” school with three separate themes–Distributed Sensors Networks, Urban Geomatics, and Modelling—during the week of 20-25 May. One of the things we like about these GEOIDE events, is that they are organized by graduate students for graduate students. GEOIDE has been running these summer schools for a number of years, to rave reviews.

More information on the GEOIDE summer school:

The Vespucci summer institute

for Geographic Information Science also has been successfully running for some years, 6 to be exact, and for 2009 the olive oil farm in Fiesole (Tuscany) will host two 1-week sessions (29 June – 10 July): “Cognitive processing and representation of place, space and time”, and “INSPIRE Implementation: building a
spatial data infrastructure in a global perspective”. The latter has a European focus however the SDI topics covered apply equally to all regions. What we like about the Vespucci event is that it is very debate and group-project oriented, with big-name “facilitators” rather than “teachers”. Also of note is that GEOIDE co-sponsors the event, funding Canadian attendees; NSF funds American students as well under an IGERT grant.

More information on the Vespucci summer institute:

- Mike Gould, ESRI Director of Education

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Love ArcLessons? Get a load of this!

ArcLessons, ESRI’s database of lessons, activities, data and more, has just undergone Phase One, of several upcoming updates. In this update, a database-wide search was added as well as detailed information pages for each resource. A rating and review system has also been added, giving you the opportunity to tell everyone which resources are the best!

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