Monthly Archives: July 2014

Esri Mapping Lab at National Conference on Geography Education

Esri is pleased to offer three days of hands-on workshops as part of a Mapping Lab at the upcoming National Conference on Geography Education.  Staff from the Esri education group as well as some of our dear friends in geography education will be on hand to teach a series of first-come, first-served free 45 minute workshops!   These workshops will demonstrate the ease and power of spatial analysis that is possible on the web within ArcGIS Online.  The workshops will be held in the Louis XVI Room of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 31 July, 1 August, and 2 August 2014.

Never used ArcGIS Online?  We’d love to see you.  Experienced with ArcGIS Online?  We have something for you, too!

Why are we doing this?  Because we firmly believe in the connections between web mapping and rigorous geography education, and its connections to inquiry, fieldwork, community, 21st Century skills, STEM, and more, we believe that a hands-on approach is the best way to engage in these tools and methods.  The contents of the workshops will include investigations in community demographics, global earthquakes, climate, common core and Geography for Life standards, AP Human Geography, change over space and time, storymaps,  business analytics, watersheds and rivers, fieldwork, and more.  We will also be hosting an exhibit at the conference that will be perfect for longer discussions about the mapping tools.

Mapping Lab at NCGE conference

Stop by the Esri Mapping Lab at the NCGE conference!

We look forward to seeing you there!  And if you cannot attend the conference, keep an eye on the Esri Education Community, where all of the workshop activities will be posted.

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Investigating land use change over time with the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

Investigating land use change over time has always been a mainstay of geography and environmental education and research.  Recently, several new ways of accessing more than 175,000 historical USGS topographic maps through ArcGIS Online make land use change even more accessible to students, educators, and researchers.  In this essay, I will focus on the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer, and in future essays, discuss some of the other ways that you can easily access these maps in ArcGIS Online.  As a former USGS geographer, I consider the arrival of these maps in ArcGIS Online as one of the most exciting announcements of the past decade.

The USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer is a customized application that runs in a web browser that shows the dates and scales of the available USGS topographic maps for any area of the USA below a chosen area of interest.  Simply by selecting individual maps using this application, changes in coastlines, river flow resulting from the construction of reservoirs, urbanization, and much more can be examined.  In the example below, I explore one of the most rapidly urbanizing areas of the country, Plano, Texas, comparing the current topographic base map to the 1960 USGS topographic map.  As is evident, many additional maps of the area at different scales and dates are available.

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer.

Give it a try!  How can you use this in your instruction and teaching?

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7 Ways to Map Your Field Data

Mapping field data can serve as project-based learning environments that promote environmental, social, and technological fluency, as I wrote about in Earthzine, and as others such as Richard Louv have written about much more eloquently than I.  What are seven easy ways in which you can map field-collected data?  I have recorded a three-part video series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) wherein I describe all seven ways.

These ways include (1) via files and spreadsheets that are stored locally on your computer, (2) via files and spreadsheets that are stored online, (3) via shared web forms, (4) via smartphone apps, including the Collector for ArcGIS app, (5) via editing of ArcGIS Online map notes, (6) via uploading of your geospatial data to ArcGIS Online, and (7) via editable feature services. which enables true citizen science mapping in the sense that you can “crowdsource your fieldwork” as my colleague Charlie Fitzpatrick has written about.

As I hope these videos demonstrate, it is very easy not only to bring in your field-collected data into ArcGIS Online, but to map and analyze it there.  But I can’t give all of the details away:  Watch the videos to find out!

7 Ways to Map Your Field Data, including Crowdsourcing Your Fieldwork

Seven Ways to Map Your Field Data, including Crowdsourcing Your Fieldwork.

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Staying connected and the Esri EdUC

A reminder that Esri education hosts a GIS Higher Education Facebook Group for students and faculty at:  

We’re nearly at 3,000 members!  Discussions range from software use and coding to event details and best practices in using GIS in instruction.

For other GIS education social media options, explore:

Also note that the upcoming Esri Education GIS Conference can be followed on Twitter: or Facebook: 

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Self-Organized Sessions at Education GIS Conference

If you attended last year’s Esri Education GIS Conference, you recall that we introduced “unconference” sessions.  So many attendees approved that we’re including a track of self-organized sessions again this year. Our goal is to let participants have a say in the conference program.

The self-organized sessions will take place Tuesday afternoon, July 15, in the Marriott Hotel, Marina Salon F.  Drop by between 11:30 am – 1:00 pm to propose a discussion topic of your choice.  At 1:00 pm we’ll select topics and assign meeting spaces for the sessions.

The first self-organized sessions will run 1:30 to 2:45 pm. All discussions will take place in one big room, with each discussion having its own roundtable.  At 2:45 pm we’ll invite each discussion leader to report out to the entire group.

The second round of sessions will run 3:15 to 4:30 pm, followed again by reports. Reports could take the form of a lightning talk or a post here on the conference Facebook page

What discussion topic might you propose?

  • One of the themes of the Plenary Sessions (K-12 Education Policy, the Future of Higher Education, or Sustaining Learning Spaces);
  • Esri’s new ConnectED initiative;
  • Our new “ArcGIS Online for Higher Education Coaching Points” wiki;
  • Or any other GIS Education topic you have in mind!

Please plan to join us Tuesday afternoon!

Posted in Education, Higher Education, Informal Education, Schools | Tagged | Leave a comment