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Some enhancements to ArcGIS Online are big and others are very small. My favorite one from the September update is very, very small. It’s a tiny checkbox that only ArcGIS Online administrators would ever see. Here it is in all its glory:

 

 

If you’ve not run into it yet, log in as an administrator of your organization, and have a look at Edit Settings, and choose the Credits tab. If checked, the "Show each member's available credits on their profile page" will allow users to see how many credits they have when they visit their profile page.

 

profile with credits

 

Sometimes, we ArcGIS Online administrators, who are often educators, want to be stealthy. We don't want students to know about or worry about credits. Most of the time in the Esri MOOC program, that's the case. But in The Location Advantage, when students have access to all the GeoEnrichment tools in ArcGIS Online and all of the wonders of ArcGIS Business Analyst Web App, they tend to get excited and run lots of analyses as they learn about location analytics. We want them to do that! But we also want them to understand what credits are and how they work. So, for that MOOC, we are enabling this feature for our students starting with the April 2018 offering.

jkerski-esristaff

What is GIS?

Posted by jkerski-esristaff Employee Apr 13, 2018

What is GIS?

It may seem odd to still be discussing “what is GIS” nowadays, given the fact that GIS has now passed its 50th birthday.  But, considering that GIS has evolved in many ways and will continue to do even more rapidly in terms of its functionality, platform, data, application areas, audience, and social context, perhaps we continually need to revisit what it is.   In addition, GIS is also at the same time, a set of tools, an approach to understanding the world, a discipline, and part of other disciplines such as geodesign and GIScience.  Furthermore, new audiences are continually discovering GIS and applying it to new fields and problems.  Yes, it does make sense that such a topic needs to be defined and understood.

As is most likely the case with you reading this essay, I so firmly believe in the power of GIS to make our world more efficient, healthier, and happier, and I never tire of talking with people about what GIS is.   I do so wherever I have the opportunity—in workshops, presentations, courses, books, and even in everyday life such as on airport shuttles, community functions, and on elevators.  I encourage you to work on your “elevator speech” if you don’t already have one, as I have here and here

Another way of introducing people to the definition of GIS is through a video.  These videos have been important teaching resources going back to Roger Tomlinson’s Data for Decisions films from 1967 through today.  Besides that of Dr. Tomlinson, some of my favorites are those from Esri, Rebekah Jones, GIS Videos TV, and Esri Ireland.  but I also recently created my own video on the topic with my own interpretation of what GIS is, and why it matters to education and society.

Many of us remember the core GIS definitions from our university textbooks, which usually included the following: GIS is composed of hardware, software, data, methods (tools, models, and procedures), and people.  Another useful and oft-cited definition is, “GIS is a system for collecting, management, manipulation, analysis, and presentation of spatially referenced data.”  Still another definition is that a GIS enables us to help capture, model, store, manage, and present complex systems.

Another way to conceptualize GIS—Geographic Information Systems—is to break apart its three words:  The “G” or “Geographic” component refers to the location-component that GIS has—everything in a GIS is referenced to real-world coordinates.  These coordinates can define a single point, or a line or polygon.  They can also define the starting point and extent of a grid, or image.  The “I” or “Information” component refers to the informational database behind the spatial data; a geo-database, usually stored as a table or set of related tables, containing spatial fields (such as latitude-longitude or street address or city names), and aspatial fields (such as housing type or number of people between 10 and 19 years old).  The “S” or “System” component ties the “G” and the “I” segments together—one can select a feature via using the map, or via a row in the data table.  The “S” component ensures that a GIS is not just a set of graphics floating around in cyberspace, but that the attributes are always linked to the mapped feature.

By combining the spatial with the aspatial data, we create a holistic view of the world.  GIS data are analyzed in layers, which can cover such themes as land use, land cover, hydrography, zoning, ecoregions, transportation, elevation, climate, and more.

The process-oriented definition of GIS is that:  A GIS is a computer-based system that provides for the collection, storage, analysis, and display of georeferenced data.  A problem-solving definition of GIS is:  A GIS is a decision support system involving the integration of spatially referenced data in a problem-solving environment.

GIS is sometimes defined in terms of the questions it can answer, including:
Location:  What is at………….?   This question seeks to find out what exists at a particular location. A location can be described in many ways, using, for example place name, post code, or geographic reference such as longitude/latitude.

Condition:   Where is it………….?   The second question is the converse of the first and requires spatial data to answer. Instead of identifying what exists at a given location, one may wish to find location(s) where certain conditions are satisfied (such as an unforested section of at-least 2000 square meters in size, within 100 meters of road, and with soils suitable for supporting buildings).

Aspatial Questions:  "What's the average number of people working with GIS in each location?" is an aspatial question - the answer to which does not require the stored value of latitude and longitude; nor does it describe where the places are in relation with each other.

Spatial Questions.  "How many people work with GIS in the major neighborhoods or centers of Delhi" OR " Which centers lie within 10 km of each other? ", OR " What is the shortest route passing through all these centers". These are spatial questions that can only be answered using latitude and longitude data and other information such as the radius of the Earth. GIS can answer such questions.

About five years ago, Esri and other organizations began focusing on a transformation in GIS from a set of tools that are changing into a platform, here, and here.

More recently, some presentations have focused on GIS moving from a system of record to a system of engagement.

Each of these definitions has its place—they all help us conceptualize what GIS is and contribute to the richness of its evolving nature.   My own definitions as I speak about in this video are as follows:

GIS is part of the geotechnologies.  Back in 2004, the US Department of Labor identified three hot, key, growing fields for the 21st Century:  Nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, and geotechnologies.  GIS, along with GPS, web mapping, and remote sensing, are part of the geotechnologies.  Some people and programs prefer the terms geodata, location analytics, geoinformatics, or geomatics.

GIS is all about solving spatial problems in our world from local to global scale.  Thus, it is an application of geography.  Spatial problems all have to do with the “where” question.  Where are the fire hydrants in my community? Where do natural hazards occur and how do they affect communities?  How could sea level rise impact coastal lands? Energy, water, migration, biodiversity loss, sustainable agriculture, human health, city planning, and other issues of our 21st Century world can be better understood and solved using GIS.  

GIS is composed of several key elements—hardware, software (which is increasingly on the web), spatial data (also increasingly on the web) including real-time feeds, tools, methods, and people.  People apply GIS in decision-making environments, in nonprofit organizations, private industry, academia, and government organizations to make a positive difference in our world by solving problems. 

GIS is a key technology for our world, as increasing pressure exists on the environment through resource use and population.  GIS is all about critical thinking, spatial thinking, and making our world more sustainable, healthier, and happier.

A few of my other videos about GIS include its application to education and geography,  and reflecting on GIS at a giant cube, why GIS is better than paper maps, my TED talk on mapping, and making every day GIS day.

What is the definition of GIS that you find to be most useful?  How do you think GIS will change in the coming years?

Some people are natural teachers. Kids (and even adults) flock to them because they are friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, hard workers, and effective communicators who deal with the people first and tasks second. They stand out like neon lights, and are found in all grade bands and subject areas. Science teacher Erika Klose, of Winfield (WV) Middle School, is one of those. But Friday was Erika's last day teaching her cherished kids. She is stepping up.

 

Erika and devices

 

As a middle school student, Erika became obsessed with the just-rediscovered Titanic, helped her father restore old houses, and expected to study art in college. After a geology course captivated her during first semester of college, she got a BA in earth science, then an MS in geology and geophysics … which included a class in GIS. That one GIS class (1999, command line ArcInfo) got her an internship at USGS Woods Hole. It was a "trial by fire" project on coastal vulnerability for the whole US, managing huge amounts of inconsistent data, with a presentation to give at a big international conference in just six weeks. It led to six years of seafloor mapping and data crunching. "I had two Macs, two PCs, and two Linux machines running constantly in my office … just me and six computers," she laughs.

 

"But one of my tasks was outreach, and I began going into middle schools … and LOVED it. I knew I had to make a change. I went to West Virginia, got my Masters in teaching, and the day I finished student teaching, my cooperating teacher resigned." She took over in January 2008, and has spent the last decade teaching science to students in grades 6-8, mostly 7th grade. "I have kids for a semester, about 160 per year. And last Thursday, I stood in the hall, and 147 kids got in a line one by one and hugged me. It was great, and awful, and I just came back in the room and cried." Because Erika is stepping up, for teachers across the state.

 

Periodic Table atop WV map

 

At an "Intro to ArcMap" training in 2010 for teachers exploring GIS, reluctant participant Erika was discovered in the back row quietly building the periodic table atop a map of West Virginia, in GIS. One of the leaders looked at her and asked "Who ARE you?" Since then, Erika has attended Esri's Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS Institute and led GIS instruction of teachers across WV (and other states), first in desktop and then online GIS. She has helped update some state standards to include use of GIS. She earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, is incoming president of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, earned a $10,000 prize for her school via the Day of Code challenge, and was Esri Teacher Video Challenge awardee in September 2017. Then, in October 2017, she was a Milken Family Foundation award winner, one of 47 nationally (with a great surprise video).

 

So now? "Starting Monday, I am 'Coordinator for STEM and Computer Science' for the WV Dept of Education." She has to work on redesigning standards, upgrading current teaching, growing the pipeline of well-trained teachers, and bridging diverse communities. "I think my ability to solve problems is one of my greatest strengths. I'm not afraid of things, like breaking software (just uninstall it if you kill it), or building stuff, or getting dirty. My parents gave me that. They let me DO a lot of things … and, I'll have a lot to do here."

 

Geogeek Erika

 

So what of teachers and kids and GIS? "They are different as learners. Teachers come in with the idea they need to be expert to present it in their class, and that's a barrier that is really hard to break thru, because teachers are also coming at it from the logistical side … software, controls, data, institutional barriers. Really, they just have to learn just this much" [cupping her hands together as if to enclose a baseball] "and just let kids go. Kids just do it. They're not afraid. They focus on the contents and yell 'Look at this!', and don't care about the software. They just do it, and LOVE GIS!"

 

Will this new job be a challenge? "I'm ready for the challenge. I've said 'I'm a teacher' for so long that that's what I still am. My heart hurts leaving, but one of my friends said 'You're the one that should go and do this, for us, and for the kids.' So I'm ready. I'm there to make a difference, for all of 'em out there."

I recently wrote about my experience giving a TED talk about the Whys of Where--the importance of digital maps, GIS, and geography in education and society.  Let's say you want to use some of the text of my presentation in your own advocacy and promotion efforts, and let's say you also wanted that text in Spanish (El Por Qué de Dónde).  I have provided them both below and provided a video version in English and in Spanish.  The translation may not be perfect and certainly my narration es muy mal, but I hope they inspire you to be a champion for spatial thinking and GIS in education in a wide variety of settings. 

 

Slide Number

Slide Content

Narration in English

Narration in Spanish

1

Joseph Kerski appearing in front of a map

More than just about anything else in our modern world, maps are all around us.

Más que cualquier otra cosa en nuestro mundo moderno, los mapas están en todos sitios.

2

An airport map

Maps are something that people are willing to look at long enough…

Los mapas son algo que la gente está dispuesta a mirar por mucho tiempo...

3

A route to Vail map

… to learn something from …

...para aprender de ellos...

4

A bus system map

… and even prompt them to take action.

y hasta pueden incitarlos a tomar medidas.

5

Belize students research results on a map

Maps engage, maps inform, maps inspire. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, I submit that a map is worth 1,000 pictures.

 

Los mapas cautivan, los mapas informan, los mapas inspiran.  Si una imagen vale 1000 palabras, presento que un mapa vale 1000 imágenes.

 

 

6

Clay tablet map

Maps have always been rich sources of data, communicating a large amount of information in a small amount of space—whether that space was—in the past, stone tablets…

Los mapas siempre han sido una rica fuente de datos, comunicando una gran cantidad de información en un espacio pequeño---no importa si ese espacio fue---en el pasado, como tabletas de piedra... 

7

UK geologic map by William Smith

.. in the dirt, on wood blocks…

...en barro, o en bloques de madera...

8

Von Humboldt North American Map

… paper, film, and now, in digital form--on our tablets, laptops, phones, in our cars, on our buses, …

… en papel, en fotografia y hoy en día, en formato digital-- en nuestras tabletas, computadoras portátiles, teléfonos, o en nuestros automóviles y autobuses. 

 

 

9

Map on a streetside Kiosk

in our neighborhoods.

...en nuestras comunidades.

10

 

Joseph shows paper map and slide of paper map

How many of you have lots of paper maps at home?  I do.  Paper maps are useful, but limited.  We cannot easily update them, add information to them, or change their scale.  They aren’t easily transported.. or folded.

¿Cuántos de ustedes tienen muchos mapas de papel en sus casas? ¡Yo si! Los mapas de papel son útiles, pero tienen sus limitaciones.  No podemos actualizarlos fácilmente, o añadir información, o cambiar su escala.  Tampoco son fáciles de transportar. …  o doblado!

11

Show map on phone

Today’s digital maps are much more useful, mobile, and versatile.  They are revolutionizing how we navigate our world…

Los mapas de hoy en dia son mucho más útiles, móviles y versátiles. Están revolucionando cómo navegamos nuestro mundo...  

12

Map of airport

…how we understand our world…

...  cómo entendemos nuestro mundo...

13

3D terrain map

and how we can better enable our world for the future.

… y cómo podemos mejorar el futuro de nuestro planeta.

14

City of Rocks in New Mexico

Paper maps are still handy in the field, though, because technology can fail!

Sin embargo, los mapas de papel todavía son útiles en el campo, cuando la tecnología puede fallar. 

15

A Hurricane map

Maps don’t just tell us WHERE things are, but help us understand WHY they are where they are.   Why do hurricanes occur where they do?

Los mapas nos solo nos dice el DONDE están las cosas, pero también nos ayudan a entender la razón porque están donde están. ¿Por qué los huracanes ocurren donde ocurren? 

16

A flood swipe story map

Why do landslides occur more frequently along certain slopes?  How high are the floodwaters down the street from my home right now?

¿Por que los deslizamientos de tierra  ocurren más frecuentemente a lo largo de ciertas pendientes? ¿Como de alta están las aguas de una inundación en la calle próxima a mi casa en este momento?

17

A zebra mussels map

Why are invasive species like zebra mussels spreading in these directions?

¿Por que especies invasivas, como los mejillones cebra, se está extendiendo en estas direcciones. 

18

A geo-database.

Today’s maps are not just graphics floating in cyberspace—they are tied to a powerful computer database—a geodatabase—a Geographic Information SYSTEM.

 

Los mapas de hoy en día, no son solo gráficos flotantes en el espacio cibernético-- Están atados a poderosas computadoras--- base de datos--- a datos geoespaciales--- a un Sistema de Información Geográfico.

 

 

19

Bio-Nano-Geo Technology graphic

The US Department of Labor identified 3 fast-growing, key fields for the 21st Century:  Biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and geotechnologies.   Today’s maps are part of geotechnologies.  Geotechnologies include GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS (Global Positioning Systems), Remote Sensing, and Web Mapping.

El Departamento del Trabajo de los Estados Unidos identificó las 3 áreas de más rápido crecimiento en el siglo 21: Biotecnologías, nanotecnologías, y geotecnologias.  Los mapas de hoy día son parte de la geotecnología. Geotecnologias  incluye: los sistemas de información geográfica (SIG o GIS por sus siglas en inglés), Sistemas de Posicionamiento Global (GPS por sus siglas en Inglés), teledetección, y mapas en el Web.     

20

GIS network graphic

GIS is like an elevator—it works behind the scenes -- you don’t think about it; you just use it.  GIS ensures that your phone got assembled with the right parts:  Supply Chain Management.   GIS enables your package to get delivered to you and millions of others today the safest, most fuel-efficient manner possible.  GIS allows you to pull up an app that says that Bus F will be at your stop in Vail in 4 Minutes 30 seconds.

GIS es como un elevador---funciona tras bastidores---usted nuncas piensa en el, solo lo usa.  GIS garantiza que su teléfono fue fabricado con las piezas correctas. Manejo de cadenas de distribución. GIS garantiza que sus paquetes sean entregados a usted y millones de otras personas a tiempo y de forma segura y de la forma más eficiente economizando combustible.  GIS le permite el uso de una aplicación que les dice que el autobús F llegará a su parada en Vail en 4 minutos y 30 segundos.   

21

Plate Tectonics 1

Let’s examine the world’s plate boundaries, volcanoes, and the last 30 days of earthquakes, asking the “whys of where” questions as we investigate.  What are the reasons for this pattern?  What is the relationship between earthquake locations and magnitude?

Vamos a examinar las localización de los límites de las placas en nuestro planeta, volcanes, y la localización de terremotos en los últimos 30 días, preguntándonos, “El por qué de donde” según investigamos. ¿Cual es la razón de este patrón? ¿Cuál es la relación entre la localización del terremoto y su magnitud?”  

22

Plate Tectonics 2

What is the relationship of earthquake locations and depth?

¿Cual es la relación entre la localización del terremoto y su profundidad?

23

Plate Tectonics 3

What is the relationship of earthquake locations to volcanoes and to plate boundaries?  How many major cities are within 50 km of these earthquakes?  How many occur in the oceans?  Why should we care?  Ah, tsumanis!

¿Cuál es la relación entre la localización de terremotos con volcanes y los límites de las  placas tectónicas?  ¿Cuantas ciudades estan a menos de 50 Km de estos terremotos?  ¿Cuántos terremotos ocurren en el océano?  ¿Por qué debemos preocuparnos? Por supuesto, Maremotos!

24

Plate Tectonics 4

We live in a 3D world so we have created 3D GIS tools, here, symbolizing magnitudes as cylinders.

Vivimos en un planeta tridimensional por lo que hemos creado herramientas de GIS tridimensionales, como en este mapa, simbolizando magnitudes como cilindros. 

25

Demographics 1

Let’s investigate population characteristics—demographics—at  scales from national to local.  Median age:  Blue, older.  Red, younger.  Why is Maine older than Texas?

Vamos a investigar características de la población---demografía a escalas representado desde naciones, a escala local.  Edad media: rojo para representar población adulta, azul para jóvenes. ¿Por qué el estado de Main tiene más población adulta que Texas?          

26

Demographics 2

Scale matters!  When we enlarge the scale, we see different patterns.  Why are the Great Plains older than the West?

La escala es importante!  Cuando aumentamos la escala, podemos apreciar diferentes patrones.  ¿Por qué en los Grandes Planos hay más población adulta que en el oeste de los Estados Unidos?

27

Demographics 3

.. and now at the census tract or neighborhood level.  Why is this neighborhood in Vail older than those to the north and west?

… y ahora mirando los datos del Censo de los Estados Unidos a nivel de distrito y a nivel de vecindario. ¿Por qué el vecindario de Vali tiene una población de adultos mayor que al norte y al oeste?

28

Demographics 4

We can add other variables including those that are crowd sourced - such as median income or commuting patterns – to plan effective services, housing, transportation.  The goal?  Sustainable communities.  We are asking a lot of questions, aren’t we?  Agood map teaches you to ask a better question.

Podemos añadir variable que pueden incluir las que provienen de fuentes múltiples como ingreso medio o los patrones de transportación para la efectiva planificación de servicios efectivos de alojamiento y transporte. ¿Cuál es la meta? Comunidades sostenibles. ¿No cree que estamos haciendo muchas preguntas?  Un buen mapa te enseña a hacer mejores preguntas. 

29

Map of TEDxVail attendees.

Let’s map where everyone attending this TED talk is from.  Is this the pattern you expected?

 

Thanks to a web GIS called ArcGIS Online, this took me all of 5 minutes to create AND share. 

Vamos a localizar en un mapa el lugar de procedencia de todos los participantes de TED Talk ¿Es este el patron que esperaba ver?

 

Gracias a un GIS en el Web llamado ArcGIS Online, solo me tardó 5 minutos el preparar Y compartir este mapa.

30

Discuss global challenges

What would be in your Top 10 list of serious challenges facing our world?  Water quality and quantity, Natural hazards, climate, crime

Energy, migration, Political instability  human health,

Economic inequality   biodiversity loss

 

They all have a geographic component.  Hence they can be understood using GIS.  We can use our “Whys of Where” investigations to solve these global problems that increasingly affect our everyday lives.

¿Cuál será la lista de los 10 retos más serios en nuestro planeta?  Cantidad y calidad de agua, Peligros naturales, clima, crimen, energía, migración, inestabilidad política, salud humana, desigualdad económica, pérdida de la biodiversidad.

 

Todos tienen un componente geográfico, por lo que pueden ser entendidos mediante el uso de GIS.  Podemos usar nuestro “Por qué de Dónde” para  investigar cómo resolver estos problemas globales que cada día afectan más nuestras vidas.     

31

A CDC map of disease patterns

Here, the CDC is using GIS to examine the pattern of health variables not just to treat patients, but to build wellness.

En este mapa, el Centro de Control de Enfermedades usa GIS para examinar patrones de variables de salud, no solo para tratar patrones, si no para fomentar salud.

32

GIS is becoming the  language of the planet

By applying GIS to solve problems in an ever-expanding number of disciplines, maps through GIS are becoming the common language of the planet.   Even in your local government! – Zoning working with assessors, transportation, parks and recreation – around a common set of mapped data. The goal?  A smart city.

El uso de GIS se está expandiendo a ser usado en un gran número de disciplinas para estudiar problemas.  Mapas creados mediante GIS se está convirtiendo en el lenguaje universal del planeta. Inclusive a nivel de gobiernos locales - Desde consultores trabajando en  zonificación, transportación, parques y recreación - Todo girando alrededor de datos en mapas. ¿Cuál es la meta? Una ciudad inteligente.

33

Web GIS platform-data-maps-but: -PEOPLE are most important component.

But data and technology are only 2 parts of it.  For PEOPLE to effectively use these tools – we need a population that can:

 

●     think spatially and critically,

●     that have been immersed in deep and rich field experiences,

●     that can think holistically and across disciplinary boundaries.

Sin embargo, los datos y la tecnología son solo 2 partes de todo esto.  Necesitamos una población que pueda:

●      Pensar espacial y críticamente,

●      Que han sido altamente expuestos a ricas experiencias de campo.

●      Que puedan pensar holísticamente a través de disciplinas.

 

34

Joseph teaching geography Class

Think of your last geography course.  It may bring memories of mind numbing memorization—what are the major exports of Peru?  The capital of North Dakota?   Conversely, it may have sparked your interest in our world.    I hope this was your experience.

Piensen en el último curso de geografía que ustedes tomaron. Puede traer recuerdos de muchas memorizaciones aburridas.  ¿Cuales son las mayores exportaciones de Perú?  ¿Cuál es la capital de Dakota del Norte? De alguna forma,  Por el contrario, puede haber despertado tu interés en nuestro mundo.  Espero que esta haya sido tu experiencia. 

35

Educators working with GIS.

But if geography is fundamental to understanding the world through these mapping tools, why is geography so neglected?

¿Pero si la geografía es tan fundamental para entender nuestro planeta a través de estas herramientas de mapeo, por que se descuida tanto la geografía? 

36

Students working with GIS/GPS outside.

Our high-stakes assessment-focused, subject-divided school system leaves little room for the type of problem-based learning that GIS is a part of.   That’s what these Native students and I were doing on the Santo Domingo Pueblo.  In a semiarid region where soil is a precious resource, they measured gully erosion rates with GIS and GPS.

Nuestro sistema escolar se basa en lo que consideran alta importancia  enfocado en la evaluación y dividido por materias lo que solo deja espacio limitado para este tipo de aprendizaje basado en problemas del que GIS forma parte.  Esto es lo que estábamos haciendo este grupo de estudiantes Nativos y yo en la región de Santo Domingo Pueblo en el estado de Nuevo Méjico, Estados Unidos.  Una región semiárida donde el suelo es un recurso preciado.  Ellos midieron erosión de cárcavas mediante GIS y GPS.   

 

37

Map of schools using GIS in USA.

But by working closely with faculty, students, parents, and administrators, schools are now using web-based mapping and field apps in history, geography, language arts, science, technology, engineering, and math classrooms.   

The education community needs your help in turning these thousands of schools using GIS mapped here into TENS of thousands of schools.

Sin embargo, trabajando en estrecha colaboración con los profesores, estudiantes y administradores, las escuelas están ahora usando mapas basados en el web y aplicaciones de campo en sus clases para estudiar historia, geografía, idiomas, ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas.  

La comunidad educativa necesita tu ayuda para convertir estos miles de escuelas utilizando GIS en este mapa en  decenas de miles de escuelas. 

38

Image:  A mentor with student.

Geomentoring is one way to assist a school in their use of mapping technologies.

Geomentoria es una forma de ayudar las escuelas en el uso de tecnología de mapas. 

39

Image:  Working together

Your expertise in advocating for and modelling deep learning in schools, after-school clubs, and universities is needed.

Necesitamos su experiencia como expertos en la materia para abogar y desarrollar modelos de aprendizaje en las escuelas, programas después de la escuela y universidades

 

40

Image – Joseph with question and map.

Maps are the WHYS of WHERE.

Maps are more relevant than ever before.

 Will you be a champion for mapping and spatial analysis in education and society?

How do I end this talk?  I don’t … you do.

Los mapas son el  “Por qué de Dónde”.

 Los mapas son más importantes que nunca antes.

¿Estará usted dispuesto a aceptar el reto de ser un líder en la educación usando mapas y análisis espaciales?

¿Como puedo terminar esta presentation?  Yo no lo hago, lo hace usted.

 

 

Huge thanks to our presenters, Orhun Aydin (Esri) and Kimani Mbugua and Brian Hilton (Claremont Graduate University) for sharing their knowledge, projects and examples of AI/ML.  

 

 

Below are a few other items we discussed:

 

Please post any questions or further follow up here. 

The evolution of geographic information system (GIS) technology to the web presents an excellent opportunity for the geography community to foster spatial thinking among colleagues, students, and administrators. The use of web maps, spatial data, and analysis tools to examine local to global issues has never been so powerful and easy to embrace. It also provides a means for the community to promote geography as an essential twenty-first-century subject to the general public.

 

With the upcoming 2018 AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans in April, these web maps and analysis tools can be used by anyone to thoroughly explore the city in order to enhance the time spent there and in the surrounding area.  These same tools and maps can be used to explore any location around the globe.  This article also appeared in the AAG newsletter.

 

The following examples illustrate the use of geographic data and tools in an inquiry-driven environment. These maps cultivate the three legs holding a bench that I believe constitutes geographic literacy: content knowledge, skills, and the geographic perspective.
Bench of Geoliteracy
Figure 1: Geoliteracy can be conceptualized as being supported by content knowledge, skills, and the geographic perspective.


Teaching with these tools can foster students’ knowledge of core content, including concepts (scale, diffusion, patterns, relationships, systems), regions, and themes (geomorphology, watersheds, demographics, ecoregions). Skills include the use of maps, analyzing data, assessing data quality, charting, collecting and analyzing field data, symbolizing maps, and communicating geographic content. Through use of these tools, the geographic perspective—in which geographers see the world working through a series of interwoven, changing spatial relationships operating at a wide variety of scales—can be promoted.

These tools can also promote the idea that big data exists at our fingertips, but it is of varying quality. Mapped data is distorted due to its map projection and may have gaps in attributes or resolution and scale. Inquiring about the data’s origins, date, scale, and other characteristics and examining metadata are key to data’s effective use. Discussions about copyright, location privacy, data aggregation, interpretation, dissemination, and communication can be interwoven with the following maps and activities. Through each, students can see that every issue in our world and communities has a geographic component.

To start, let us focus on a few easy-to-use yet powerful tools, modeling how to use these resources in instruction. As an example, we will explore New Orleans and the surrounding region, but these tools can be used to study other regions as well.

Examining Change over Time Using Photographs and Satellite Imagery

The Esri ChangeMatters Viewer

Historical and current satellite images can be compared via the Esri ChangeMatters viewer. Its Landsat images are recorded in infrared wavelengths, providing a springboard for discussion about the electromagnetic spectrum and what different wavelengths reveal. Because the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have been operating the Landsat satellites since 1972, over 45 years of earth changes are viewable with this single tool. These images can be interacted with in a three-panel view with time period one on the left, time period two in the center, and the change detection image on the right.

Esri ChangeMatters
Figure 2: Shown above is New Orleans, from Landsat imagery in 1975 (left), in 2010 (center), and as a change detection image from 1975 to 2010.


What has changed, and why has it changed? What will this area look like in 10 years? Is it changing more quickly or more slowly than other parts of the world? Why? How does the land use here compare to elsewhere in the world? What influence does population, climate, or coastlines have on land use? Can you estimate the population in the area shown? What type of dwellings exist, and how do these dwellings compare in size and density to other regions?

As an example, the intersection of such issues as irrigation, politics, climate, and internal drainage can be discussed by examining the shrinking Aral Sea in Central Asia over the past 40 years. The physical characteristics of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the regrowth of some surrounding vegetation, and the volcano’s proximity to Portland and other regional volcanoes can be examined with the same tool. The urban growth of Las Vegas or São Paulo, the construction of the Three Gorges Dam and other dams, the expansion of center-pivot irrigation in the United States and Saudi Arabia, agricultural and mining expansion and reclamation, and changes in coastlines and glaciers are just a few of the themes that can also be examined using the ChangeMatters viewer.

The USGS Esri Historical Topographic Map Explorer

Physical and human-induced land-use and land-cover changes can be examined at a variety of scales using tens of thousands of USGS maps stretching back 100 years with the USGS Esri Historical Topographic Map Explorer. Enter a US-based location, click on the map, and choose from the historical maps covering that area, comparing them to the present-day topographic basemap. Each map’s transparency can be adjusted, allowing changes to be investigated. In New Orleans, the construction of levees, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, and draining of wetlands can be seen, along with below-sea-level contour lines that allow the physical setting of the city to be studied.  

Supplementing the topographic map viewer with historical ground photographs can be instructive. Ground photographs taken in the same location during two different time periods can be used to analyze changes in land use, land cover, transportation, styles of clothing, the things that society values, and much more. Sources and maps include SepiaTown, WhatWasThere, and Historypin. Some historical street images are embedded in Google Street View scenes via a slider.

USGS Esri Historical Topographic Map Explorer
Figure 3: Changes in New Orleans can be examined using the USGS Esri Historical Topographic Map Explorer, comparing the 1891 topographic maps (left) with the 2018 topographic basemap (right).


Urban Observatory

The Urban Observatory is a web-mapping application that allows 100 cities to be examined on dozens of variables. Created by Richard Saul Wurman, RadicalMedia, and Esri, the Urban Observatory provides a synchronized set of up to three maps, all showing the same theme and at the same scale. With this tool, you can analyze senior population, land use, current traffic, current weather, parks, and more. Up to three city maps can be viewed at once, and the maps are synchronized, making comparisons easy.

Urban Observatory
Figure 4: Users can compare city park scores (developed by The Trust for Public Land) using the Urban Observatory for New York, New Orleans, and Denver. ParkScore maps show which areas of a city lie within a short walk of a park, and areas that are not served by a park.

 

Demographic Analysis of New Orleans and Beyond

ArcGIS Online is a web-based mapping platform from Esri containing analytical tools, maps, data services, and databases, which are behind most of the mapping tools described in this article. Start with ArcGIS Online > Map > Modify Map, then search for and add data on median age and median income. In the resultant interactive web map, shown below, examine the spatial pattern at the city level, such as New Orleans, or at a regional or state level—with no login required. The transparency of any map can be adjusted; the basemap can be changed from the topographic map pictured to a satellite image, OpenStreetMap, or others. Layers such as hydrography, ecoregions, or land cover can also be added. The classification method, variable, number of classes, and symbology can all be changed to help students understand the relationships among various datasets. What patterns are evident, and why do they exist? How do the New Orleans patterns compare to those of other cities? How do the patterns change as the level of geography changes between block group, census tract, county, and state?

Median Age and Median IncomeFigure 5: ArcGIS Online can be used to examine median age (left) and median income (right) for New Orleans. For more census maps in ArcGIS Online, see this gallery.

 

Migration touches the themes of physical geography (such as climate and landforms), cultural geography (political systems, political instability, boundaries, demographic trends), sociology (perception, push-pull factors), and change. Migration causes deep and long-lasting changes in culture, language, urban forms, food, land use, social policy, and politics. Migration is a global issue that affects our everyday lives. It is also a personal issue, because we all have a migration story to tell about our own ancestors and families. Part of the Esri Cool Maps gallery, the Migration Trends map is an interactive 2D and 3D web mapping application running in a browser.International Migration

Using data from the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Migration Trends displays out-migration and in-migration data for every country from the 1990s, 2000s, 2010, and 2013. Line thicknesses indicate the number of migrants, and the line endpoints indicate the countries sending people out or receiving people. The raw number and percentage of out- and in-migration for each country are indicated. After viewing the animation, you can select individual countries and time periods. Compelling cartography and the ability to switch between 2D and 3D make this a useful teaching and research tool.

Is climate-induced sea level rise the reason why a high percentage of Reunion Island’s population is moving to the United States? Why so much flow between Russia and the UK? Why does Australia have a high percentage of migrants, and how has in-migration to Australia changed recently? See my video for more questions to pose using this map. Explore the other maps in the Esri Cool Maps gallery; they change periodically, so check back often.

Migration Trends Tool
Figure 6: The Migration Trends 2D and 3D mapping and visualization tool.


Combining Fieldwork with Web Mapping

Survey123 for ArcGIS can be used on a mobile device to collect data quickly and easily in the field via a form that can be created using a web browser or an Excel spreadsheet. Students can collect information on tree height and species, water quality, pedestrian or vehicle counts, weather, graffiti, or anything else in the field. The results are immediately captured and displayed on interactive web maps, which can be symbolized, classified, and spatially analyzed. The maps can be crowdsourced so the public can add to the content.

Survey 123 app
Figure 7: Using ArcGIS Online and the Survey123 for ArcGIS app, citizen scientists can collaborate and use their smartphones to map trees. The interactive map is visible here.


Using and Creating Story Maps

People have told stories through maps for thousands of years, and the Esri Story Maps web mapping applications allow multimedia to be easily incorporated into mapping. A gallery of story maps includes New Orleans topics ranging from Hurricane Katrina, gauging US population change, sea level rise and storm surge effects on energy assets, and Alan Lomax’s video archive of the Deep South. Students can create their own story maps to present their own research through interactive maps, text, video, audio, and photographs. Story maps can be shared online and used on any device. Story maps can serve as assessment pieces in student portfolios; provide an alternative to PowerPoint or Prezi for students’ oral presentations; and be embedded in web pages, Sway presentations, or other types of media.

Hurricane Katrina Storymap
Figure 8: This story map shows one aspect of change in New Orleans more than 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.


Synthesis

Students who use web mapping in geography develop critical thinking skills and understand how to use and evaluate data. This is particularly important with geographic data due to its increasing volume and diversity and its often sensitive and politically charged nature. Students who are well-grounded in the spatial perspective through web mapping have the ability to use data at a variety of scales and contexts, think systematically and holistically, and use quantitative and qualitative approaches to solve problems and become better decision-makers. Students can use these tools to understand that the earth is changing and begin to think analytically about why it is changing. After using these web maps, students ask and grapple with value-based questions. Should the earth be changing in these ways? Is there anything I can and should do about it?

--Joseph J. Kerski, PhD, Instructor, University of Denver, and Education Manager, Esri


Resources

The Esri Education Community blog focuses on geotechnologies in education: tools, best practices, maps, and more.

The Spatial Reserves blog and the book The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, offer essays and activities on data sources, data quality, crowdsourcing, location privacy, and related topics.

I recently gave a presentation on The Whys of Where at a TEDx event.  The presentation, available here, focused on these core messages: 

 

1.  Maps help us understand our world--past and present, and help us plan for a sustainable future.

2.  Maps make our world smarter, healthier, and happier.

3.  Maps have always been rich sources of information but are more relevant than ever to our 21st Century world. 

4.  The digital mapping revolution through GIS affects our everyday lives--how we travel, what we eat, energy, water, health care, supply chain management, and much more.  Web maps produced with GIS have become the common language of the planet. 

5.  Maps are not just "where" things are but "why things are where they are"--relationships, patterns, and trends.  Maps are the "whys of where!"

 

The call to action in this presentation is:  The world’s problems require spatial thinking and geotechnologies in order to solve them.  Promote problem based learning, spatial thinking, and working with geotechnologies in your school, youth clubs, community colleges, and universities to empower our future decision makers to think critically and spatially.

 

It was a great honor to be asked to present at TEDx; I did so at the Vail event.  Over the 12 months of preparing for this event, I met visionary and inspiring people from all walks of life from all over the world.  I am now working with several of them to help them integrate mapping technologies to further their own work in humanitarian relief efforts, business, environmental filmmaking, and in additional fields. 

 

Before the event began, I participated in an event that sought to create solutions for hunger in local areas, including the Eagle-Vail valley in Colorado, called Race4Good.  I created a series of map layers on demographics, food distribution facilities, routes, maps of community gardens, and others, in ArcGIS Online and Business Analyst Web.  I think that mapping tools and data could be very useful in these efforts.  Just as importantly, our groups brought some viable solutions to the community; read more here.  And the best part was working with my fellow TEDx presenters and meeting the founder of Race4Good, Linda Cruse, a relief worker, great humanitarian, and inspirational human being. 

 

 

The complete text of my presentation is below along with the slide that I showed with each statement.  I hope the presentation is useful in your own efforts to promote the value of spatial thinking and geotechnologies in education and society.  I look forward to hearing your comments. 

 

1

Joseph Kerski appearing in front of a map

More than just about anything else in our modern world, maps are all around us.

2

An airport map

Maps are something that people are willing to look at long enough…

3

A route to Vail map

… to learn something from …

4

A bus system map

… and even prompt them to take action.

5

Belize students research results on a map

Maps engage, maps inform, maps inspire.

6

Clay tablet map

Maps have always been rich sources of data, communicating a large amount of information in a small amount of space—whether that space was—in the past, stone tablets…

7

UK geologic map by William Smith

.. in the dirt, on wood blocks…

8

Von Humboldt North American Map

… paper, film, and now, in digital form--on our tablets, laptops, phones, in our cars, on our buses, …

9

Map on a streetside Kiosk

in our neighborhoods.

10

 

Joseph shows paper map and slide of paper map

How many of you have lots of paper maps at home?  I do.  Paper maps are useful, but limited.  We cannot easily update them, add information to them, or change their scale.  They aren’t easily transported. 

11

Show map on phone

Today’s digital maps are much more useful, mobile, and versatile.  They are revolutionizing how we navigate our world…

12

Map of airport

…how we understand our world…

13

3D terrain map

and how we can better enable our world for the future. 

14

City of Rocks in New Mexico

Paper maps are still handy in the field, though, because technology can fail!

15

A Hurricane map

Maps don’t just tell us WHERE things are, but help us understand WHY they are where they are.   Why do hurricanes occur where they do?

16

A flood swipe story map

Why do landslides occur more frequently along certain slopes?  How high are the floodwaters down the street from my home right now? 

17

A zebra mussels map

Why are invasive species like zebra mussels spreading in these directions?

18

A geo-database.

Today’s maps are not just graphics floating in cyberspace—they are tied to a powerful computer database—a geodatabase—a Geographic Information SYSTEM.

19

Bio-Nano-Geo Technology graphic

The US Department of Labor identified 3 fast-growing, key fields for the 21st Century:  Biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and geotechnologies.   Today’s maps are part of geotechnologies.  Geotechnologies include GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS (Global Positioning Systems), Remote Sensing, and Web Mapping. 

20

GIS network graphic

GIS is like an elevator—it works behind the scenes -- you don’t think about it; you just use it.  GIS ensures that your phone got assembled with the right parts:  Supply Chain Management.   GIS ensures that your package got delivered to you and millions of others today the safest, most fuel-efficient manner possible.  GIS allows you to pull up an app that says that Bus F will be at your stop in Vail in 4 Minutes 30 seconds.

21

Plate Tectonics 1

Let’s examine the world’s plate boundaries, volcanoes, and the last 30 days of earthquakes, asking the “whys of where” questions as we investigate.  What are the reasons for this pattern?  What is the relationship between earthquake locations and magnitude?

22

Plate Tectonics 2

What is the relationship of earthquake locations and depth?

23

Plate Tectonics 3

What is the relationship of earthquake locations to volcanoes and to plate boundaries?  How many major cities are within 50 km of these earthquakes?  How many occur in the oceans?  Why should we care?  Tsunamis?

24

Plate Tectonics 4

We live in a 3D world so we have created 3D GIS tools, here, symbolizing magnitudes as cylinders.

25

Demographics 1

Let’s investigate population characteristics—demographics—at  scales from national to local.  Median age:  Blue, older.  Red, younger.  Why is Maine older than Texas?

26

Demographics 2

Scale matters!  When we enlarge the scale, we see different patterns.  Why are the Great Plains older than the West?

27

Demographics 3

.. and now at the census tract or neighborhood level.  Why is this neighborhood in Vail older than those to the north and west?

28

Demographics 4

We can add other variables including those that are crowd sourced - such as median income or commuting patterns – to plan effective services, housing, transportation.  The goal?  Sustainable communities.  We are asking a lot of questions, aren’t we?  A good map teaches you to ask a better question.

29

Map of TEDxVail attendees.

Let’s map where everyone attending this TED talk is from.  Is this the pattern you expected? 

 

Thanks to a web GIS called ArcGIS Online, this took me all of 5 minutes to create AND share.  

30

Discuss global challenges

What would be in your Top 10 list of serious challenges facing our world?  Water quality and quantity, Natural hazards, climate, crime

Energy, migration, Political instability  human health, 

Economic inequality   biodiversity loss

 

They all have a geographic component.  Hence they can be understood using GIS.  We can use our “Whys of Where” investigations to solve these global problems that increasingly affect our everyday lives.

31

A CDC map of disease patterns

Here, the CDC is using GIS to examine the pattern of health variables not just to treat patients, but to build wellness.

32

GIS is becoming the  language of the planet

By applying GIS to solve problems in an ever-expanding number of disciplines, maps through GIS are becoming the common language of the planet.   Even in your local government! – Zoning working with assessors, transportation, parks and recreation – around a common set of mapped data. The goal?  A smart city.

33

Web GIS platform-data-maps-but: -PEOPLE are most important component.

But data and technology are only 2 parts of it.  For PEOPLE to effectively use these tools – we need a population that can:

 

  • think spatially and critically,
  • that have been immersed in deep and rich field experiences,
  • that can think holistically and across disciplinary boundaries.

34

Joseph teaching geography Class

Think of your last geography course.  It may bring memories of mind numbing memorization—what are the major exports of Peru?  The capital of North Dakota?   Conversely, it may have sparked your interest in our world.    I hope this was your experience.

35

Educators working with GIS.

But if geography is fundamental to understanding the world through these mapping tools, why is geography so neglected?

36

Students working with GIS/GPS outside.

Our high-stakes assessment-focused, subject-divided school system leaves little room for the type of problem-based learning that GIS is a part of.   That’s what these Native students and I were doing on the Santo Domingo Pueblo.  In a semiarid region where soil is a precious resource, they measured gully erosion rates with GIS and GPS.

37

Map of schools using GIS in USA.

But by working closely with faculty, students, parents, and administrators, schools are now using web-based mapping and field apps in history, geography, language arts, science, technology, engineering, and math classrooms.    

The education community needs your help in turning these thousands of schools using GIS mapped here into TENS of thousands of schools.

38

Image:  A mentor with student.

Geomentoring is one way to assist a school in their use of mapping technologies. 

39

Image:  Working together

Your expertise in advocating for and modelling deep learning in schools, after-school clubs, and universities is needed. 

40

Image – Joseph with question and map.

Maps are the WHYS of WHERE. 

Maps are more relevant than ever before. 

 Will you be a champion for mapping and spatial analysis in education and society? 

How do I end this talk?  I don’t … you do.

 Joseph Kerski at the TEDx event.

It was a great honor to present at TEDx about the Whys of Where.

I recently created a mobile field data collection activity (available here on https://esri.box.com/v/survey123-jkerski-activityfor educators at a hands-on workshop I gave at a conference, and wanted to share it with the wider community.  The activity focuses on the Survey123 tools and app.  These are incredibly useful for educational purposes and far beyond--in natural resources, transportation, public safety, and in many more fields.  Indeed, many educators at the university, secondary, and even primary levels are using these tools to collect data on tree species, pedestrian counts, water quality, weather, noise, historical buildings, and much more in their own communities or on distant field trips.  These students gain skills in field data collection, citizen science, data assessment, mapping, and spatial analysis, and become connected with their own community and their role in the community in the process.  The activity begins by asking participants to add data to an editable feature service that I created with Survey123 on tree species, tree condition, and tree height. After examining the dashboard metrics and map, the next activity involves having participants create their own Survey123 using the web tools.  The activity then asks participants to use Survey123 to collect data in the field.  

 

The form and map for this activity are open for your use in your own classrooms, so feel free to use this activity to begin your map-enabled field data collection, or to enhance what you already know about these tools. 

 Some reasons why map-enabled fieldwork is important in education.

A few reasons why map-enabled fieldwork is important in education.  This slide is a part of the Survey123 activity I developed and describe in this GeoNet essay. 

You know the drill: You're in a course or a workshop, and one of the first things the instructor does to encourage community building is to "go around the room" (or if online, as a discussion topic), have people introduce themselves, explain their background, and discuss their goals are in taking the course.  I turned this tried-and-true activity into a mapping activity numerous times by mapping a few of the things people share about themselves.  I do this simply by asking course participants to add their information to a shared spreadsheet, and then mapping the results in ArcGIS Online.  After having used this activity with students from primary school through university level, and with faculty covering those same levels, I can confirm that this activity sparks discussion about citizen science, data quality, how to map tabular data, ways to symbolize and classify mapped data, but in particular, how fast and easy it is to make a map!  The spatial patterns are immediately evident, and you can use the opportunity to discuss the other kinds of information that can be mapped, including weather, tree species, noise, pedestrian counts, trash, water quality, and much more.  

 

As the instructor, you should set up the spreadsheet and make sure it is shared so that your course participants can add their information to it.  My sample spreadsheet with some data including points in Canada and Mexico to demonstrate that the geocoding works for any country is here.  I used Google Drive but other file sharing services such as OneDrive or Dropbox will work.  Notice that the first row in the spreadsheet contains the field names city, state, country items that will be used to map the data.  While you can use street address or latitude-longitude, I don't advise doing this for location privacy reasons.  Keep it simple and effective with city/country names, as shown below. 

 

Instead of initials, you could ask the participants to make up a nickname for themselves--just remember to keep location privacy in mind.  Or, leave off the initials and insert other data, particularly numeric data, that you could map as graduated color or graduated symbol, such as "how many times did you eat out last week?" or, "how many times have you been swimming in the past year?" or "how many countries have you visited in your lifetime?"  

 

Hometown spreadsheet

 

Next, with a projector so that the course participants can see what you are doing, go to your spreadsheet, save it to the web as a CSV (comma separated value) file, then go to ArcGIS Online > Modify Map > Add Data > Add from web – CSV – point to the your CSV file, and indicate which fields contain city, state, and country.   Save and share the map.  Symbolize the result in different ways, by initials, hometown name, or as a heat map.  Change the classification method and observe the differences.  Change the base map, label the features, and change the default popup.  The result is shown here, with the clustering utility turned on.  

 

 

Hometown map

 

If you have time on the same day or in subsequent days in your course, I encourage you and your course participants to dig deeper--try one or two of the many ways that exist in which to make a web mapping application, such as a story map, from the original map, or add a photograph of each of the hometowns to the data to practice your linking skills. 

 

Don't have time or access to shared areas such as Google Drive?  No problem--simply build a spreadsheet in Excel (or even in Notepad or other text editor, using commas to separate the fields) in front of your students based on their input as they are speaking, and then use "Add Data from File" in ArcGIS Online to map it. 

 

For more information, see my video explaining these procedures, step-by-step, this essay I wrote on participatory mapping, and other related education essays in this GeoNet space. 

 

Have you tried this activity or something related?  I look forward to hearing your comments. 

I received this question earlier this month: “My students use Chromebooks. Can we run ArcGIS Online on them?” I queried my colleagues on the education outreach team and here’s what I learned.

 

  • Yes, you can run ArcGIS Online on Chromebooks! One colleague “does it all the time, as do thousands of schools.”

 

  • “The only ‘outside apps’ that you can use are those that work in ChromeOS. So, get used to using Google Docs and Google Sheets [and other products] etc., instead of MS-Office or TextEdit/Notepad or the like.”

 

  • “The only adjustment I had to make was when we created a table to use, we had to use Google Drive, because [we could not] save anything locally.  But, in the end that was actually very good to do because then I could show them that their students could contribute to a Google Drive table in crowdsourcing mode.”

 

  • “Actually, you CAN save locally on some devices, but not on others. My [inexpensive] Chromebook has a built-in hard drive (as do many), and I can store locally. But you can also on Gdrive, and so, now that you can connect AGO to Gdrive, the key (as always) is ‘Where did you put it and what did you call it?’"

 

  • “My Chromebook, MacBook Pro, and Windows 10 Surface Pro3 all power up equally swiftly. I actually like the touch of my Chromebook's keyboard best of all the 5 physical keyboards I use.”

 

  • “For ArcGIS Online, the ‘biggest tiny aide’ (not counting a second display) to kids on ANY type of computer -- Mac, Windows, or Chromebook -- is having an external mouse. Kids are surprisingly good on touchpads, but a mouse on any device yields improved control, especially in 3D.”

 

  • “I often go to schools and look at the screens without looking at make/model or keyboard, and sometimes cannot tell if they are using Chromebooks or not.”

 

  • “My Chromebook is a 4-yr old ‘minimalist’ device, so it does not have as big a screen or as fast a processor or as much RAM, but can attach an external monitor and Ethernet cable. In running ArcGIS Online activities, it matches the performance of my Windows and Mac devices whether all three are hard-wired or on Wi-Fi. I have used it in exhibit booths right alongside my other devices, and people ask about ‘OK, but how does it work on a modest Chromebook’ because all they can see is the monitor, and are a little shocked, and pleased, to learn that's what they've been watching.”

 

  • Chromebooks have a built-in "end of life" and at some point will stop working with a message like this: "This device will no longer receive auto-update." When a device reaches Auto Update Expiration (AUE), it means that the product model is considered obsolete and automatic software updates from Google are no longer guaranteed.

     

 

I invite you to add other wisdom about ArcGIS Online on Chromebooks in the comments.

 

Across USA, a committed crew is making waves. In 2009, Esri launched Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS (or "T3G"), an Institute for educators anxious to help other educators use GIS for instruction. In T3G, exploring the latest tools goes hand-in-hand with investigating classroom content, modeling instructional strategies, discussing professional development, and sharing stories of problem-solving. Participants commit to spreading to others the power of GIS and Esri's free tools and materials, through workshops, presentations, mentoring, and beyond.

 

Online institute plus educator graphics

 

2017 launched the "synchronous online instruction" era for T3G (above). The 2018 event will be similar, with eight hours of activity spread over two consecutive Saturdays (July 28 and August 4). Participants need foundational comfort with using ArcGIS Online, teaching with technology, and providing professional development. T3G 2018 will boost participants' capacity to meld the three. The information page links to key resources for building those critical foundations in advance.

 

Requirements and resources

 

T3G 2018 registration opens March 1, with 60 slots available. Participation is free, and expects commitment to share with others during the coming years. T3G grads have taught educators across the country, amplifying the rising tide of users visible on the map of "ArcGIS School Bundles," building a collection of teacher videos, and encouraging students to engage in local projects and competitions. If you're anxious to help other teachers use GIS to transform education and improve the world, join us in T3G 2018!

Because the problems that GIS analysts work on such as biodiversity loss and water quality do not stop at disciplinary or political boundaries, the ability to connect the map or attribute table that you are working on to another map or table in the same geodatabase or another geodatabase is powerful.  One way of doing this is to join features.  This has been a core function and a chief argument for the use of GIS for decades.  But with the advent of ArcGIS Online, including its Join Features tool along with data layers in the Living Atlas of the World, the ability that you have at your fingertips for joining features just became a lot more powerful.  I first saw a demonstration of this at the Esri User Conference from my colleague Jennifer Bell and I thought, "this is a fantastic capability for educators... and people in other sectors of society."

 

Why is this so incredible?  In the past, to join your data to another data set, you had to spend some time downloading and formatting that data set; sometimes you had to add additional fields and populate them, before that data set was usable in your GIS.  But the bottom line is that you now have access to data sets in the cloud, for example, in the Living Atlas of World.  And, similar to the capabilities included in the Enrichment tool, these data sets do not have to be on your own device or in your own geodatabase to use them!

 

Additionally, you now have the capability of making choropleth maps from tabular data using the Join Features option.  Let’s say you have a CSV (comma separated value) table containing data for a set of polygons, such as ZIP codes in a state, or US states, or world countries.  If you add that table to ArcGIS Online and make a map out of it, your result will be a set of points, one for each record in your table.  If your table represents world countries, your map will show one point in each country.  This is a useful exercise if you are teaching about geocoding in a GIS course but not so useful if your goal is to obtain a choropleth map on specific variables for your desired set of polygons.  In the past, your choices at this stage would be to use Esri Maps for Office to turn your table into a set of polygons in ArcGIS Online, or to use ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro to join your table to a table associated with an existing shapefile or geodatabase.  But now you can also use ArcGIS Online to create a choropleth map!  

 

How can you do this?  You can do this via the Join Tables tool and by accessing the Living Atlas of the World.  First, log into your account in ArcGIS Online.  Then > Map > Modify Map > Add Data.  Add your spreadsheet.  Need a spreadsheet?  The World Bank has a wide variety of data sets by country in tabular form.  Indicate the field (such as country code) for your place-based table, and the result will be a set of points, similar to that below (shown on the colored pencil base map, which I love):

 

Point map

That is all good, but now for the really exciting part:  To make a choropleth map by country of this same data: Perform Analysis > Join Features, on step 1, select Choose Living Atlas Analysis Layer, and for step 2, choose your table, which  now resides in ArcGIS Online as a layer, and join on a common field. In this example, I had no common field, so I first had to add a field in Excel for the 2 digit ISO country code and populate that field with the code.  Why?  Because the ISO 2 digit code did not exist in the World Bank table.  This is a good example of knowing your data and what you need to sometimes do to enable joins to take place.  

 

Using the Join Features tool, 1

While running the Join Features tool, select the Living Atlas, search for World Countries, and choose World Countries, as shown below:

 

Using the Join Features tool, 2

Therefore, you are joining your agricultural land table (#2) to the World Countries (Generalized) from the Living Atlas, as shown below:

 

Using the Join Features tool, 3

Indicate the fields that will serve as your join fields, as I have done below.  I will be joining on the 2 digit ISO code.  When possible, join on a code rather than names (of cities, countries, and so on) due to spelling differences, which will adversely affect your match rate.

 

Using the Join Features tool, 4

The result is a map joined to your original table!  Now, with the map at your fingertips, you can map any of your table attributes, such as agricultural land by country for 2015, as I have done below. 

Resulting map

Now let's dig a little deeper.  Since we are working with agricultural land over time, we can create a custom Arcade expression that will allow us to visualize changes around the world.  I created a custom expression below, subtracting the 1980 percent agricultural land by country by the percent in 2015, as shown below.  Since the data are already in percent, there was no need to multiple by 100 (again, knowing your data is key!): 

Custom expression

 

I also want the popup to display the change over time, and so I will add the same expression shown above to the popup custom attribute display, as shown below:

Custom popup configuration

 

The resulting map and popup are shown here.  What patterns do you notice? Why the big increase in Saudi Arabia, for example?  You could zoom in, change the basemap to imagery, and investigate the new center pivot irrigated fields in the middle of that country.  You could pan over to Brazil and examine fields reclaimed from wetlands and rainforest.  You could examine urban spawl in the USA and elsewhere as part of your investigation into why agricultural land has declined in many areas of the world.  Because I believe a data set like this is valuable to teach many core themes in environmental science, economics, and physical and cultural geography, I have shared the table here. 

Map using custom expression for legend and for popup

 

For more information about the Living Atlas, explore it here.  For more information about the Join tool in ArcGIS Online, examine this document

By Adena Schutzberg

 

The last blog post with this title, part III, was published in June 2015. In it, David DiBiase, Director of Esri’s Education Outreach team, addressed the future of Esri’s MOOC program. I’m going to pick up where David left off. 

 

The MOOC portfolio did grow, as David suggested it would. Still unsure what a MOOC is? At Esri, MOOCs are massive, open, online courses on GIS topics that:

 

  • Cover a single theme
  • Involve four to six weeks of instruction, with two-three hours per week of study
  • Require registration but are free to take
  • Run once or twice a year with firm start and end dates
  • Provide certificates to students who complete the course material
  • Introduce students to subject matter experts from across Esri and its community

 

By the time I joined the Education Outreach team in July 2016, Esri offered four different courses. David introduced the first two, Going Places with Spatial Analysis and The Location Advantage in the previous articles. Two others made their debut in 2016:  Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps and Earth Imagery at Work. Each of those courses brought new topics and teaching and learning techniques to our students.  

 

Do-it-Yourself Geo Apps Encourages Student Directed Projects

  

Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps introduces Esri tools to build geospatially focused apps without coding. The MOOC was a departure from the first two courses in a number of ways. First, Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps is only four weeks long and all the content is available when the course opens. Second, the course offers guided exercises as did the first two course, but also encourages students to apply what they learned to a topic of interest in “Do-It-Yourself” exercises. Finally, students are encouraged to share their apps with one another and to provide helpful suggestions and feedback. The course continues to draw more than 10,000 registrations for each offering. Some of the most active participants have been high school students and staff at New York City Parks.

 

A student project from Do-it-Yourself Geo Apps: Mapping Genomes using GIS - DNA Lung Cancer Map

A student project from Do-it-Yourself Geo Apps: Mapping Genomes using GIS - DNA Lung Cancer Map

 

Earth Imagery at Work Lets Students Drive ArcGIS Pro, Interact More with Instructors

 

Earth Imagery at Work introduces students to the power of imagery in agriculture, utilities, disaster response and other disciplines. The exercises highlight imagery tools in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro. While we were excited to show off the imagery capabilities of ArcGIS Pro, we knew it added a layer of complexity for students. We were concerned that not all registrants would have access to computers that could run the software. Even if they could, they’d need to manage large downloads and navigate a named user license. We were very pleased that 70% of enrolled students successfully installed and gained hands-on experience with ArcGIS Pro that first time around. That percentage has remained steady in subsequent offerings. Many students worked with ArcGIS Pro for the first time during the initial offerings.

 

Instructor Kevin Butler interviews Susanna Crespo, Esri Agriculture Industry Manager in a video from Earth Imagery at Work.

Instructor Kevin Butler interviews Susanna Crespo, Esri Agriculture Industry Manager in a video from Earth Imagery at Work.

 

We added a new interactive elements to Earth Imagery at Work. Instead of lectures the instructor interviewed Esri staffers about how they use imagery. Further, we set aside an hour during the offering for an Ask Me Anything (AMA). During that time, Instructors and other guests are available, live, to answer student questions about anything! Participants type their questions and answers, so the event is easily accessible and completely self-documenting. You can see the topics covered in this AMA, hosted at GeoNet, from last October. Student feedback on the three AMAs held in recent courses has been very positive and we plan to offer them in all future MOOC offerings.

 

Cartography. Taps a Team of Mapmakers and the Creative Lab

 

As we launched Earth Imagery at Work we began exploring possible topics for the next MOOC. A few ideas came and went. One idea, a course on cartography, gained momentum. In time, key stakeholders were on board, and we started crafting exercises and videos. The Cartography. MOOC draws on the Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps idea of open ended exercises. It includes “stretch exercises” for those who want to see what they can do on their own. The course, unlike previous MOOCs, is team taught. Students will enjoy lively group discussions videos featuring five of Esri’s cartographers.

 

instructors Ken Field, Nathan Shephard, and John Nelson, three of the five-person teaching team, chat during a Cartography. video shoot. Esri’s Creative Lab, produced, directed and filmed each of the six course videos.

Instructors Ken Field, Nathan Shephard, and John Nelson, three of the five-person teaching team, chat during a Cartography. video shoot. Esri’s Creative Lab, produced, directed and filmed each of the six course videos.

 

As David noted in previous parts of this series, the MOOC program relies on the support of teams and resources across Esri. As we nailed down the vision for the discussion videos for Cartography., we were lucky to have the enthusiastic support of Esri’s Creative Lab. The Lab is responsible for Esri’s graphics and video productions. The producers, directors and editors contributed their talents to make the videos professional, entertaining and informative.

 

Growth Prompts a New Delivery Platform

 

With five MOOCs in our course catalog and more than 111,000 students enrolled, we took a hard look at the backend technology that powers our program. We’d partnered with a company called Udemy since the launch of the first Esri MOOC in 2014. Udemy provided our learning management system (LMS), which hosted the course content, kept track of student progress, and importantly, provided certificates of completion. As the number of courses and students increased, we were ready to explore a new delivery platform.

 

We turned to Esri’s Educational Services team and began imagining our dream LMS. We gathered input from students, instructors and other stakeholders to draft a specification. Programming began in 2017 and in February 2018 we offered Earth Imagery at Work directly from Esri’s training site.

 

Earth Imagery at Work was the first course to run on Esri’s own platform in Feb 2018. 

Earth Imagery at Work was the first course to run on Esri’s own platform in Feb 2018.

 

Hosting the MOOCs ourselves has several benefits. First, MOOC registration follows the same procedures as all other Esri training offerings. Students log into the training site, select a course, register, and see the course on their schedule. When they complete the course, their certificate is added to their dashboard. (A note for students who took MOOCs between 2014 and 2017: We are working to add past MOOC certificates from Udemy courses to each student dashboard this year.) Second, as MOOC students get familiar with the training site, they’ll see other seminars, courses and workshops of interest. Finally, we are looking forward to enhancing the platform to encourage more social learning.

 

Keeping MOOCs Fresh

 

We regularly review each course to keep it up-to-date as technology and student interests change. In some cases, courses refresh to highlight new features and options. The Location Advantage, for example, was updated in 2017 to show off new features in Business Analyst Web App. In other cases, we find demand for a “Season 2.” In a TV show, a second season means all new stories. In the case of our flagship course, Going Places with Spatial Analysis, Season 2 will include all new content, new exercises and new technology. In its first season, the course introduced spatial analysis using the core analysis tools of ArcGIS Online. In Season 2, coming in November, it will maintain a focus on spatial analysis but use the new workflows of Insights for ArcGIS.

 

We invite those new to Esri MOOCs, as well as our returning students, to learn with us throughout 2018 and beyond.

 

[If you are unfamiliar with the entire Esri MOOC story, please read the firstsecond and third parts of this series.] 

Thanks to Josh Joyner (Esri) and Dr. Brian Hilton, Salem Alghamdi, Abdullah Alleisa and Mansour Alzahrani (Claremont Graduate University team) for sharing their knowledge and projects on GeoEvent Server. 

 

  • The recording and slides are located here

 

Other resources of interest:

  • GeoEvent Server tutorials - we ran out of time to mention these, but they could be used as a stepping stone to get familiar with the technology. At Johns Hopkins we've used a couple of them to teach Real Time GIS via GeoEvent Server, which worked well. Each student had their own deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise with GeoEvent Server running in AWS, and started with the "Introduction to GeoEvent Server" tutorial, which contains 6 modules and provides an initial overview of this powerful capability.
  • ArcGIS GeoEvent Server Gallery - lots of other resources for learning/teaching GeoEvent. 

 

Please post any questions or further follow up here. 

One of the challenges to working effectively in GIS has been the difficulty of importing certain spatial data formats into a GIS.  To meet this challenge, Esri's Data Interoperability Extension has been a longstanding and useful set of tools that enables a wide variety of spatial data formats to be imported for use in a GIS.  It is an integrated spatial ETL (extract, transform, and load) toolset that runs within the geoprocessing framework using Safe Software's FME technology. It enables you to integrate data from multiple sources and formats, use that data with geoprocessing tools, and even publish it with ArcGIS Server.

 

I recently tested the Data Interoperability Extension in ArcGIS Pro and was thrilled with the results.  Read about how to install and authorize the extension here.  The extension does many things, but one that is particularly useful is that the extension creates a toolbox directly in ArcGIS Pro (graphic below).  I used this toolbox's Quick Import tool to import a SDTS Format DLG (USGS Digital Line Graph) file directly to a file geodatabase.  The tool, like other ArcGIS Pro geoprocessing tools, walked me right through the process:  I used Data Interoperability > Quick Import > pointed to my DLG files > named the resulting gdb (file geodatabase).  Once imported, I was then able to work with my hydrography, hypsography, roads, boundaries, and other data.

 

DLG files have existed since the early 1990s.  Why are we still working with them?  The reasons include that (1) they are dated but still useful vector data sets; (2) many geospatial data portals still host data only in this format, such as the USGS Earth Explorer.  See below for step-by-step instructions with screen shots.

 

data_interoperability

1. Use Toolboxes > Data Interoperability Tools > Quick Import, as shown above.

 

data_interoperability_use_for_dlg_screen1

2.  Using QuickImport pulls up a "specify data source" dialog box, as shown above.

 

data_interoperability_use_for_dlg_screen3

3.  In the specify data source dialog box, use "find other source" and then specify SDTS format.

 

data_interoperability_use_for_dlg_screen2

4.  Selecting SDTS format.

 

data_interoperability_use_for_dlg_screen4

5.  Pointing to the SDTS file (after it has been unzipped and un-TAR'd) and saving it into a geodatabase.

 

data_interoperability_use_for_dlg_screen5

6. Once the file has been imported into a geodatabase, it can be added to a new map in ArcGIS Pro.  The data is now ready for use, as shown for this hydrography example, above.