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2018

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.

     

  • Here's the latest from Charlie, who got a new Chromebook (5/18). "I splurged on what Laptop Reviews called their pick of the year for “budget student device” ($240) — Samsung Chromebook 3 with 4gbRAM, Celeron processor, and 32gb internal flash drive. Setting it up took — seriously — 1 minute. Turn it on, sign in, and all my software (since it’s all online) settings and browser memory is in place. I fired up with version 56 ChromeOS and the longest process (4 mins) has been an OS update that I initiated, going from 56 to now 66. I don’t like the new keyboard quite as much as the old (it’s a little wider, with a little bigger keys and more distance between) but not bad. The new machine fires up faster, the screen is gorgeous, brighter and crisper even at the same size and resolution, and everything works faster. Oh ... and Google gives me 100gb for 2 years, which would be $47/yr [if purchased separately].

 

  • What to recycle the old one? "Google will take it back, no charge. ...Google sent me a shipping label."

 

  • Chromebooks can now run Android apps! That means you can run, for example, Explorer for ArcGIS on a Chromebook. Says Charlie: "Can be phone-shaped or full-sized, and possibly in between."

    running explorer on a Chromebook

 

 

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

 

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