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After over 8 wonderful years, the Change Matters viewer recently had to be sunsetted (it was using old technology).  After testing several equivalent data sets and tools for a suitable substitute for teaching change-over-time, I settled on the Landsat Lens for introductory investigations.  It is a wonderfully rich tool that covers the planet as a series of images covering over 40 years of change.  For a follow-on activity, you could use the swipe tools that exist on the Landsat Explorer Esri app where you can build your own swipe image for your own customized dates.  And, finally, in ArcGIS Pro, there is no shortage of change detection tools that more advanced students can use.


Attached is the lesson I created that uses the Landsat Lens.  In it, you will examine change from natural and human causes in Abu Dhabi, Mt St Helens, the Aral Sea, and in Melbourne, but the most amazing thing about this tool is that it works everywhere on the planet!  Hence, you can use it to investigate changes in water levels in reservoirs, extent of glaciers, coastal erosion, urban sprawl, deforestation and reforestation, agricultural expansion and contraction, and much more. 


--Joseph Kerski

Examining change in Abu Dhabi using the Landsat Lens

Using the Landsat Lens for examining changes in Abu Dhabi.

This year at the Esri User Conference, we are offering university-level students full conference access at the discounted rate of $100! This is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the GIS community, network with peers and professionals, and learn the tremendous impact GIS is making in the world and how you can be a part of it! If you can't attend the entire week, there is also a 1 day option for students that is complimentary.


Your full conference registration (again, only $100 for university students!) gives you access to 5 days of expert-led workshops, sessions, networking events, hands on training and demonstrations on latest GIS technology, and so much more! Esri UC will take place July 8 - 12, 2019 in San Diego, California at the San Diego Convention Center.


Instructions for Esri UC student registration: 


1. You’ll need an Esri Account. If you don’t have one, please create an Esri account here.
2. Go to the 2019 UC Registration page and click “Register Now
3. Sign in to your Esri Account
4. Select if you are registering yourself or someone else
5. Under the heading “Customer Information,” select “I don’t have a customer number
6. Select that you are an Attendee
7. Select that you are attending UC and click Next
8. Select UC Student rate and click Next
9. Complete the required fields on the Personal Info page and click Review & Pay
10. Enter payment details. Payment by credit card or check is required prior to UC –no cash will be accepted onsite
11. Review the policy regarding personal information and check the box under the Notes field, if you consent
12. Review the cancellation policy and check the box , if you agree
13. Click Submit
14. Your registration has been submitted and is pending review


You will receive an automatic email with a link to book your hotel room at the conference rate. You will book your hotel online using this link provided in the automatic email. Each attendee has a personalized link, therefore, only one hotel reservation can be made per link. For hotel questions, please contact the Esri Housing Bureau.

We hope to see you there!

Administrators of an ArcGIS Online Organization account have important responsibilities. They control all permissions and settings in the Org, including invitations, entry, and privileges. So I am astonished when teachers seek assistance because the ONLY admin in the Org has left the school. I'm gobsmacked when I learn it happened months ago. Good Org management means there should always be someone who can get into the guts of the Org and do key administrative tasks within 24 hours. This is so easy to set up in advance, and so much harder after someone is gone.


Let's say Alex launches the Org. She invites 10 teachers into the Org, gives them Publisher status, helps them log in, and sets up single sign-on so all 7th graders can be Users in the Org. This is a good start, but not enough. Alex needs to find at least one helper, someone who can do tasks when she is out of contact. So Alex promotes Billie and Carly to admin. Done, right? Again, it's a good next step, but not enough, because Alex is still the only "primary admin."


Primary admins receive all important communications from Esri about ArcGIS Online in general or about this one specific Org. They receive emails when a user runs out of credits or requests a password reset. There is ALWAYS AT LEAST ONE admin set as primary. Any admin, and any number of admins, can be given primary status, or have it revoked, unless that admin is the only primary, and every Org should have at least two. To configure primary admins (shown below as "Designated Administrators"), follow the 1-2-3-4-5 click sequence in the image here.


Org administration page


Esri is happy to provide an ArcGIS School Bundle free to schools and clubs for instructional use. It's a powerful instructional resource. But as fans of a certain "superhero web guy" know, "With great power comes ... great responsibility." Good ArcGIS Online Org administration is a process, not an event. See more essential considerations for good Org administration for schools at

Last week, Minnesota lost a key player in the rise of GIS in K12 education. Scott Freburg retired from the MN Dept of Education. But the state hasn't lost as much as it might seem. Freburg has been a difference-maker, and such folks often stick around, making more waves.


He had his first experiences with remote sensing and GIS in college in the mid-1980s, and started going to conferences and getting to know people. After doing GIS for several organizations, he joined MDE in 2006. In addition to building a strong enterprise GIS, over the years he has helped a number on staff get into using GIS regularly. A quiet and behind-the-scenes guy, he played a key role in getting a state license started for MN just as ArcGIS Online Organizations were becoming available to states.


His "cannonball into the swimming pool" event was in fall of 2013, talking to the MN GIS/LIS group, asking who might be willing to help local teachers by running a simple workshop. The next summer, 25 volunteers ran 40 events across the state, for almost 300 teachers. That wave still ripples today.


Scott Freburg

At Esri's 2014 T3G educator institute, Freburg temporarily closes the laptop to focus on tablet and smartphone.


In fall of 2015, Freburg's dream took a next big step, launching the Minnesota GIS Educators' Day, a one-day training for educators, during the school week, at the front end of the state GIS/LIS event. Teachers' substitute costs and travel costs are paid by the GIS community, and GIS professionals join the teachers for lunch, hear educators and students and mentors speak, and hear the call again to join forces. The 2015 event was a success, which grew in 2016, and again in 2017, and bigger still in 2018. Through quiet conversations, helping people over the years, sharing good ideas, and showing up, Freburg has fostered in Minnesota's professional GIS community a commitment to the K12 teachers who bring thousands of students into GIS.



Freburg (front right) and teachers at 2015 MN GIS Educator Day


"The GIS/LIS group had a scholarship fund for higher ed folks for years, so it wasn't hard to get agreement on allocating funds for K12 as well," he said. "Four of those scholarship winners in eight years have become teachers. And, y'know, one is the teacher whose kids won Esri's national high school competition both years. So it all comes around. It's gonna keep building." (See also AAG's GeoMentor profile.)


What's in store for Freburg? Maybe a little more baseball and golf, a little less database management. There's a first grandchild soon. But there are also teachers to visit, all over the state. "We'd like to visit all the state parks in Minnesota … and … maybe schedule some trainings around them." Could be even bigger waves ahead.

Effective teaching and learning about demography and population change is enriched through the use of web mapping tools and spatial data.  These tools and data sets foster critical thinking and spatial thinking, learning about content, scale, change, and systems. In the attached document, I describe 8 short activities: Comparison of urban areas around the world, exploring population change at multiple scales, and investigating community demographic characteristics using a variety of spatial analytical tools and interactive online maps and charts.  Feel free to use these tools in your own instruction from secondary to university level. These activities and a thorough description of each will soon be published in a special issues about the 2020 Census in The Geography Teacher journal.


These activities have 6 common themes:  They all use interactive maps; freely accessible with no log in via the web.  They all focus on real-world investigations, inquiry and problem solving, use a variety of themes and scales, highlight change over space and time, and foster learning about interconnected systems (the carbon cycle, weather and climate, population dynamics, commerce).  


--Joseph Kerski

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