Daily Archives: April 18, 2011

Fun with GIS #81: AGX Shows Where Matters

“Is geospatial tech useful to instructors of all fields in community colleges?” That was the question I sought to answer in a speech to several hundred instructors from Virginia last week. The subtitle for the talk was “Where Matters,” with apologies to English teachers for a purposefully ambiguous phrase.

While my recent blogposts have emphasized web-based tools, for this task I chose ArcGIS Explorer Desktop (“AGX”), for its flexibility, power, and presentation capacity. What a powerful tool this is!

I created notes linked to external or local web pages, pdf files, images, and movies. I used local shapefiles and layer files, plus downloaded layer packages. I used a banquet of online web services by themselves or with image files of legends. I meandered across the planet, exploring data, applications, problems, analyses, and strategies for thinking about a few of the countless issues of today, using the exploding repositories of data. Finally, I captured the frames ahead of time and built a doc to run on my iPad with a few notes to keep me on track.

AGX is much more powerful than the strictly web-based apps I’ve emphasized in “Fun with GIS” # 49-80, and takes more getting used to. But it is a perfect “three-foot high jump” to come after the “one-foot high jump” of ArcGIS.com Map Viewer and “two-foot high jump” of ArcGIS Explorer Online. Students and educators who have mastered the web-based tools and yearn for more power (on a strong computer running Windows) should look here for the next step. Search for ArcGIS Explorer lessons in ArcLessons, check out the AGX Resource Center (especially the blog), and look for “20 Minute GIS” from GIS ETC for a set of classroom activities using AGX. Help other students and educators discover why “where matters.”

- Charlie Fitzpatrick, Co-Manager, Esri Schools Program

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