Why Maps Matter

How would you explain to fellow educators, to students, parents, or the general public why Geographic Information Systems (GIS) matters in education and in society?  One idea is to start with a document entitled “Why Maps Matter“.

While spatial thinking is much more than “maps”, I aimed at a phrase that would attract people to this workshop.  I frequently choose similar presentation titles depending on my audience, such as “Mapping Your Educational Research” or “Mapping The Social Studies.”

Themes of this workshop include:  Maps foster understanding, tell stories, and enable decision making.  I included my favorite maps and map books for a personal touch. Topics include population, land use, urban, economics, health, and natural hazards, with frequent mention of scale, systems thinking, critical thinking, time and space, and place. The workshop is taught through an inquiry-driven, hands-on, problem-based format.

I’ve posted related resources in the form of three videos and 20 resources for sharing GIS with others.  I look forward to hearing how you share “why maps matter” with others.

Why Maps Matter Presentation

Why Maps Matter Presentation and Workshop.

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
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