Skip navigation
All Places > Education > Blog > 2020 > March

Esri Academy is now offering a Cartography MOOC course that will start on April 22 to June 3, 2020.   This no-cost online course is an excellent way to learn how to make beautiful maps using ArcGIS Pro,  from wherever you are, with coaching from the experts. Registration is open now.  All data and Esri software are provided.


Cartography MOOC


Visit this webpage to:

  • View common question about Esri MOOCs
  • Submit a question

Struggling to engage students who are stuck at home? Esri offers mapping and analysis tools free to schools for instruction. "But, I'm a 'suddenly-teaching-parent,' while my kids' teachers are trying to learn to teach online! We need something relevant, and interesting, and fast!"


"Mapping Hour" is a collection of 20 informal one-hour instructional videos about ArcGIS Online for parents and teachers, with chunks that scaffold concepts and skills. They cover desires from the basic "I need a map my class can see" to the lofty "How do I help my child use these final weeks of high school to do something powerful?" Videos posted starting Monday April 6, with access remaining open to all, for free.


Watch Trailer


Charlie Fitzpatrick, Tom Baker, Kylie Donia, and Joseph Kerski, all from Esri's Education Industry team, present to parents and teachers a suite of software tools, academic content, and instructional strategies that help students from grade school to grad school learn to spot patterns, illuminate relationships, and build captivating presentations. A steady climb through ArcGIS Online, Survey123, Dashboard, Business Analyst, and StoryMaps, using resources from the Training, Learn ArcGIS, and Schools teams, will show viewers what is possible and equip them to engage young minds eager for opportunity.




  1. Mapping Hour videos roll out starting Monday April 6, at ((Update: All 20 videos are in place as of Saturday April 25.))
  2. The first three hours engage ArcGIS Online without requiring a login. Remaining activities require an ArcGIS Organization login to replicate. Any user can use your own Org login ("Publisher" or equivalent), teachers can request software for your school (be sure to check your school's status on the map first), and parents or teachers without access can request a temporary Org login (Publisher level) from Esri Schools program (must be 18 or over).

As part of our continued efforts to support students and educators amidst COVID-19 university closures, we will offer free Student licensing until August 31st, 2020 – via Learn ArcGIS


The following Press Release was published, feel free to share widely - Esri Offers Students Free Access to Software for Continued Education through Coronavirus Closures.


In essence, we’re extending the Learn ArcGIS membership from the standard 60 days to August 31st, and anyone who signs up will have that extended access. The membership includes access to ArcGIS Online and over 20 apps including ArcGIS Pro, along with a library of lessons that are available in seven languages. New lessons on public health have just been added. To sign up for a membership in Learn ArcGIS, visit


This offer is retroactive for Learn ArcGIS users who registered since March 1. Any new signups may not see an immediate message communicating August 31 as an end date, but that is the effective end date. Messaging will be communicated later. 


Below is a lists of FAQ we have seen from Educators, please feel free to ask additional questions. For additional questions please check our Student Access FAQs.


Q: What is Learn ArcGIS?

A:  Learn ArcGIS is a free resource for learning to use ArcGIS in the context of real-world problems.  It provides hands-on lessons for many products, such as ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, Story Maps, Survey123, and more – over twenty in all.   

Lessons can be filtered by capability (e.g., mapping, spatial analysis, real-time visualization); productindustry; resource type; or geographic region.  Learn Paths are curated collections of resources on a given topic, such as spatial analysis or health, providing easy access to a series of activities. 


Q: My institution already provides ArcGIS, how is this different?  

A: If your institution already has ArcGIS deployed successfully, we recommend that students utilize the institution-provided licensing that is already in place. Therefore, this offer may not be applicable.  However, there are still students worldwide, who do not have access. Hence, we wanted to provide access for them.    


Q: Does this offer create another ArcGIS Online account? Are they related? 

A: This offer creates an account in the ArcGIS Online organization managed by Learn ArcGIS. This account is separate, and not related to any ArcGIS Online account provided by the university. To minimize confusion, if your institution already provides student licenses via their institution agreement (i.e. site license) AND if students are leveraging this free student license offer, please ensure that they are aware that the two accounts are separate.  


QHow do I copy content from my Learn membership to my university account? 

ACurrently there are three ways to copy content from one organization to another - 1) ArcGIS Online Assistant, 2) GeoJOBE Admin tools, 3) ArcGIS API for Python 

Q: Where do I get the installation files/executables to install ArcGIS Pro?  

A: Instructions will be sent via email when students register.  Students will receive one email message to activate their account, then a second message with instructions to download ArcGIS Pro Once you've received your account information, log into the Learn ArcGIS Organization and go to 


Q: Does my Learn membership include ArcMap?  

A: ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) is not included.  ArcGIS Pro is the desktop application included in the Learn membership.


Q: What support is offered (e.g., download and installation, general software use), and how do I get help? 

A: Community support is available in the Learn ArcGIS GeoNet community .  You can ask questions and search for information in the Content feed.


Q: I’m younger than 18 years; can I use this offer? 

A: No, this offer is available only for students 18 years or older, based on Esri’s Privacy Policies.  If you’re a student under age 18, a parent or guardian can create an account on your behalf. 


For additional questions please check our Student Access FAQs.

The first time I go into a classroom of younger kids we explorer imagery on a map. They love seeing places they know! I've put together a digital version of that exercise, so try it out and let me know how it goes! Parent and child doing indoor mapping

In a world turned upside down, here is some stability. The ArcGIS School Bundle will be renewed through July 2025, at no cost to users. All School Bundle licenses showing any online or desktop use in the last couple of years will be automatically renewed. Existing ArcGIS Online subscription users and their content will be maintained. Users do not need to do anything to make this renewal happen.


Map of US ArcGIS School Bundle sites


Across USA and around the world, primary and secondary schools and formal youth clubs can acquire and use the software for instructional purposes for free. Thousands of US schools started using GIS after Esri made it available for free in 2014. Thousands more schools around the world joined when Esri launched its global program in 2018, supporting activities like that seen on stage at Esri UC2019. And today, with distance learning and "school at home" mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands more are engaging with free resources, discovering what is possible.


Esri User Conference 2019 student presentation


It's a challenging time around the world. The ability to grasp changing conditions, spot patterns, illuminate relationships, and identify alternative strategies for moving forward is essential for our survival. All students will be able to engage the ArcGIS School Bundle to support this for free for instructional use, for at least the next five years, anywhere, on any device with internet access (computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone), whether issued by a school or owned by the family.

COVID-19 outbreaks are bringing the use of GIS technology to the forefront.  Many field surveys, maps, data, , dashboards, and story maps have been deployed by multiple agencies to better understand the coronavirus impacts and to inform the public.   As educators, students, and institutions migrate to online learning, these COVID-19 GIS resources are excellent for teaching and learning, and for student projects to help the local community.   


Official Esri Website for COVID-19

This official Esri website for COVID-19 is dedicated to helping you monitor, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. It allows you to request GIS help, access GIS resources, view global maps and dashboards, get insights, and learn best practices on responding to COVID-19.


5 Steps to COVID-19 response. Take this proactive approach to understanding the potential COVID-19 impact on your organization or community.

Step 1: Map the cases– Map confirmed and active cases, deaths, and recoveries to identify where COVID 19 infections exist and have occurred.

Step 2: Map the spread– Time-enabled maps can reveal how infections spread over time and where you may want to target interventions.

Step 3: Map vulnerable populations—COVID 19 disproportionally impacts certain demographics such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Mapping social vulnerability, age, and other factors help you monitor at-risk groups and regions you serve.

Step 4: Map your capacity to respond—Map facilities, employees or citizens, medical resources, equipment, goods, and services to understand and respond to current and potential impacts of COVID 19.

Step 5: Communicate with maps—Use interactive Web maps, dashboard apps, and StoryMaps to help rapidly communicate your situation.

More on How your GIS department can respond to COVID-19.


GIS Resources for Educators on COVID-19

These GIS resources on COVID-19 can give some ideas for student projects or as teaching materials.




Finding Data

Authoritative Maps and Data - Explore authoritative geospatial data sourced from the global GIS community and our trusted partners, including  COVID-19 Provider Practice Locations from NPI.


Building ArcGIS Hub Sites, Infographics and Solution Templates


Best Practices


Learning Resources







Educator Community Support

  1. COVID-19 Educator Support GeoNet Page – Visit this GeoNet page with curated content and resources for educators migrating to online learning. Connect with other colleagues, ask questions, and start a discussion.
  2. Higher Education Virtual Office Hours - If you have direct question related to tools, data, curricular materials, and teaching approaches in higher education, visit our virtual office hours.
  3. Questions on license agreement? Many higher education institutions have an Education Institution Agreement with Esri that provide access to many products. Contact your account manager with questions.
  4. Share Your Work - We want to hear from you. Send us your maps, apps, hub sites and story maps on COVID-19. We will share with the Education GeoNet community. 
  5. VitalSource Helps program – Students can take advantage of free access to Esri Press e-books now through May 25, 2020.
  6. Free student licenses via Learn ArcGISAs part of our continued efforts to support students and educators amidst COVID-19 university closures, we will offer free Student licensing until August 31st, 2020.
  7. How to Access Esri Technology while working from home - A video by Esri Canada


If you need any further assistance, contact the Higher Education Outreach Team at or the K12 Outreach Team at


Post examples of your students’ work on the Education GeoNet Space so others can learn and be inspired!


Together, through teaching, learning and research,  we can help to turn this challenging situation into an opportunity, to adapt, excel and make impactful contributions to the community and the world. 


Stay safe and well.

There are some great books out there (for children and adults) about journeys, and as we read we follow the characters across a map. Some books show the map, some don't. When reading a book like that, I find myself picturing the map as part of the story and what I know of the places adds to the world the story is building for me.


One such children's book that I really like is The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Joe Cepeda. Oliver is a man (made out of wood) who goes on a journey across the US. It's not hard to draw a connection from that storyline to a map! The book even has a map showing where Oliver went on his journey, but it's not front, center, or even in the main pages of the book - it's at the end.


In the fall, our local library was having an event and Joe Cepeda was one of the guests. My daughter and I made a story map of the book. While the book itself tells the story through a series of letters, we took Oliver's point of view, and we brought the map into view more -- and made it interactive! Check out our story map: 


ArcGIS StoryMaps > "My Journey" by Oliver K. Woodman 


While you don't have to know the original book to enjoy the story map, there are a few ways you could get it now. It is an AR book, and Accelerated Reader has it as a read-aloud book on YouTube: The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison journeys lesson 23 AR read aloud - YouTube. It is also available on Kindle, and some libraries might have digital copies available for you to borrow, too.


What next?

What book do you like that could be turned into a story map? It could be a fun project to do! 


Or if you want to play with maps and books, check out some activities we have for seeing maps about some popular American Lit books - GeoInquiries for American Literature | High School Inquiry-Based Activities 

Like many of you, I'm currently working at home assisted by my children (7 and 4 years old). My oldest has had some GIS days in her classroom, but my little guy hasn't. So I was thinking of mapping things to do with them and approachable ways to even start talking about GIS. The result was some fun exploration of favorite color, and also wanting to see your favorite colors! So read our story map and add your favorite color to the map: 


ArcGIS StoryMaps > Mapping Favorite Color  

(Note: this might not be working well on all iPads right now... I'm looking into it)

When my kids first saw this story map, I had the favorites of some friends and family shown. My daughter's first observation was that so many people like blue. Ok, really that was second - first she wanted to know why I didn't include teal as a choice, and how, because of that, she wanted to pick two colors. So if you have two favorite colors, fill the survey out twice! And you can put your dot at your city, or state - don't feel you need to use your exact location - it's up to you exactly where you put your dot on the map.


As you read our story map, you'll find that we didn't just put our favorite colors on the map and look at colors other people like. We also did some analysis - first using a dashboard to see counts of the different colors, and how many people have added a color. And then we used hotspots to learn a bit more about the data (my son might have wondered off by that point, but my daughter wanted to play with the filters and see different datasets). 


I hope you enjoy our story map, and we'll check back to see what color is in the lead once you've added yours.

In summer 2012, teachers sufficiently skilled in desktop GIS could let an anonymous user create point data in an online map. I demonstrated this in the blog "Crowdsource Your Fieldwork," using a "breakfast beverage map."


breakfast beverage map


At the time, it was exciting, but tedious; documenting the steps to create a feature service, publish it, make it accessible in an app, and test it required a lengthy doc. Today, creating a vastly better experience is really easy, all online, on a PC/Mac/Chrome device, for viewing and doing also on tablet or even smartphone, using Map Viewer, Survey123, Dashboard, and StoryMap ... tools provided free to schools in the ArcGIS School Bundle.


app icons


Especially in times of school disruption and social distancing, educators may find the process particularly engaging for learners (of any age), since they get to generate data and see their results quickly, and in different ways. Educators can experience this by recording your current situation via, in a separate tab.


education and coronavirus survey imageClick to see StoryMap


Construction was a basic design experience: Conceive, sketch, build-test-tweak-repeat, release. The workflow in this case was:


  1. Conceive the end product (the storymap as the container, with a survey feeding a map feeding a dashboard). What end product data should users be able to explore? How will they be able to explore? What data need to be generated, in what format?
  2. Identify the products needed (the survey, the map, the dashboard, the story map) and the components to engage in each step.
  3. Build, in this case, as follows:
    1. Design the survey questions and choices, optimizing for "valuable data" (in a format the dashboard could make dance) and ease of use for the survey taker.
    2. Submit enough test data so each possible choice is engaged at least once.
    3. Set permissions of the survey.
    4. Generate a new map with the test survey data; symbolize the data, set the popups, set the bookmarks; save the map, share the map to a dashboard.
    5. Build the dashboard components, optimizing for power and interest; configure interactivity.
    6. Build the story map, optimizing for ease of use, engagement, and power.
    7. Share all components and test each step and link as an anonymous user.
    8. Delete all test data.
  4. Release and promote.


As usual, the hard part is conceiving the end product with enough clarity to build efficiently. It takes some familiarity with each of the tools in order to see how they work together, just like in cooking a family meal, planning an event, or building a doghouse benefit from some previous practice. Participate in/ View/ Study the story map and process above and see if you -- or, better yet, your students -- can replicate the process with something simple ... even just asking people their location, age, gender, and favorite breakfast beverage.

To support distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis, Esri Press e-books are made available at no charge for the students through the VitalSource Helps program starting on Monday, March 23, 2020


Info for Students


  • For students to participate, the school has to be a 2-year or 4-year college or university. You can find a complete list of eligible schools on this site.
  • Students will have access to up to 7 titles of their choice (from any publisher, but a total of 7 titles)
  • Students have to sign up with VitalSource and access e-books through Bookshelf using their school-assigned email.
  • Access is provided now  through May 25, 2020. After that, the e-book(s) will disappear from their Bookshelf library. Notes will still be downloadable
  • This program is currently extended to students in the US, UK, and Canada. For others, please contact


More details




Info for Educators


Esri continues to provide Educators instant access to Esri Press' library and immediate desk copy request.  Educators new to VitalSource must sign up here first.  Please use school-assigned email address when registering.


For more info or questions, contact us at

Explore the map of state mandated US school closings from COVID-19 or add the feature service to your own maps. Data from March 18, 2020.






Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), many colleges/universities are moving to fully online classes. 


In this webinar, select educators will discuss their approaches of moving a course online.  New media and delivery technologies must be adopted along with shifts in pedagogy – all while keeping course goals and program objectives at the forefront.   We’ll focus on what is practical in a short time-frame and highlight readily available resources.  We’ll hear from both veterans of online learning and educators who have just started teaching online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Presenters include: 

  • Patricia Carbajales, Clemson University
  • Peter Knoop, University of Michigan
  • Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, University of Miami  
  • Joseph Kerski, University of Denver/Esri
  • Jennifer Bernstein, USC/UCGIS


What: “Moving Your Course to Distance Learning”  Webinar 

When:  Tuesday,  March 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm EDT / 4pm PDT 





  •      The Webinar recording can be found here.



  •      The slides from each presenter can be found here.

Given recent events, how can you effectively teach GIS online?   Join Esri higher education team to learn about tools, data, curricular materials, and teaching approaches during these informal virtual office hours.   We’ll present resources and take your questions. Sessions will be recorded so you can watch it asynchronously if you wish.


Schedule and recordings: 


THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2020 AT 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific

TUESDAY 24 MARCH 2020 AT 12 Noon Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific

THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2020 AT 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific

TUESDAY 31 MARCH 2020 AT 12 Noon Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific

THURSDAY 2 APRIL 2020 AT 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific

TUESDAY 7 APRIL 2020 AT 12 Noon Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific

THURSDAY 9 APRIL 2020 AT 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific

TUESDAY 14 APRIL 2020 AT 12 Noon Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific

THURSDAY 16 APRIL 2020 AT 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific

TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2020 AT 12 Noon Eastern, 11am Central, 10am Mountain, 9am Pacific




Go to  > JOIN A MEETING > enter code 437260684  


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
    Password: 016251

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +13462487799,437260684#  or +16699006833,437260684#

Or Telephone:
    +1 346 248 7799 (US Toll)
    +1 669 900 6833 (US Toll)
    +1 253 215 8782 (US Toll)
    +1 301 715 8592 (US Toll)
    +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)
    +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
    855 880 1246 (US Toll Free)
    877 853 5257 (US Toll Free)
    Meeting ID: 437 260 684
    International numbers available:

Esri created the COVID-19 GIS Hub site to share authoritative content and information to our global community. 

You can build your own Coronavirus Hub site with the new ArcGIS Hub Coronavirus Response template.  The template is provided for free for any customer with ArcGIS Online subscription as part of ArcGIS Hub Basic license.  All you need is an ArcGIS Online account with Publisher role.  Once you are logged to ArcGIS Online, follow these instructions:


  1. Go to the app launcher
  2. Navigate to ArcGIS Hub
  3. Click new site
  4. Browse the gallery
  5. Activate the Coronavirus Response template


The template is highly customizable and an effective way to share information to your community.  


Refer to this newly published blog titled How to Launch a Coronavirus Response Website Today for step-by-step instructions on how to get started using the template. 


Coronavirus Response ArcGIS Hub Template


ArcGIS Hub Premium license

If you need to go further and incorporate community engagement into your Hub site, an ArcGIS Hub Premium license provides community user accounts that can be issued to community members to provide a secure account in your Hub.  This enables them to contribute data, create maps and story maps, and participate in initiatives. 

ArcGIS Hub Premium is included in the Higher Education Institutional Agreement.  Contact your institution’s Esri license administrator for information about access to your institution’s Hub.

If you are your institution’s Esri license administrator and need information about activating your Hub Premium license, contact your Esri Account Manager or Customer Service representative for details.   You can only have one ArcGIS Hub license per ArcGIS Online subscription ID.  Please include the ArcGIS Online Subscription ID when requesting an ArcGIS Hub license.  


Additional resources


There is tremendous potential for students to use GIS for analysis and visualization of the COVID-19 outbreak.  We would like to hear from you.   Send us links to your Hub sites, dashboards, or story maps on the topic, or contact us at for more info or questions. 

With COVID-19 causing colleges and universities to close doors for in-person courses, educators are seeking information on approaches to transition to a fully online classroom.


There are many challenges – providing access to technology in absence of the trusty physical classroom, providing licensing, adjusting our teaching style for the virtual classroom – all needing to be solved in a short timeframe!


Amidst of all the disruption, there is a tremendous opportunity ahead of us. While intimidating, this gives us an opportunity to re-invigorate our courses and to innovate.


Now is the time to identify and focus on your course's learning objectives and consider how ArcGIS Online (SaaS) instead of ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap (desktop GIS) will help you meet those objectives.  ArcGIS Online (and other apps) have minimal hardware requirements and run on Macs, tablets, and phones, making them more accessible than desktop GIS.  Web and mobile apps generally have a simpler user interface (fewer buttons and menus) that can be learned more quickly, keeping the focus on concepts and content.


Some more advanced objectives (most likely in advanced GIS course work) may still require desktop GIS; in these cases, consider a blend of SaaS and Desktop GIS.  ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro are designed to work together, so moving between the two is easy.  Starting with SaaS can buy additional time for you and/or your IT support staff to explore virtualization and remote access solutions for desktop GIS. That said, please consider moving your course activities to SaaS – ArcGIS Online and Apps – for which students only need an internet connection.  


A few items to think about:


  •      Desktop-only GIS is a thing of the past - for a while now, we have encouraged the use of SaaS technology such as ArcGIS Online and associated apps. Many educational institutions are highly leveraging apps like Story Maps, Survey123, Collector, among many others. These are now the starting point for geospatial technology in the classroom. And fortunately, there are many online learning resources to get us started quickly.


  •      The technology has grown immensely over the years - many capabilities are possible with ArcGIS Online and Apps. We can maintain our current learning objectives and map them to some of these newer online learning resources. Some examples:
  •      Symbology and Visualization –plenty of basic concepts can be covered with ArcGIS Online and apps such as Insights for ArcGIS.
  •      Spatial analysis –ArcGIS Online has fundamental capabilities for querying and summarizing data, calculating proximity, and overlaying layers.
  •      Field data collection workflows – there are many apps available to collect locations and attributes, such as Collector and Survey123.

Bottom line: Use some of these lessons and e-learning/web courses as a base, as opposed to re-writing your existing materials, then pose additional challenges for your students.


  •      Today’s students are fast learners - they have no problem with new technology and will welcome the opportunity to experiment. In addition, the SaaS technology and apps are easier to work with than desktop applications.


  •      This is a forgiving time – if something doesn’t work, that is OK. Students will be open/receptive in this time of disruptive change. We are not going to design a perfect online course in such a short timeframe, it is not realistic. We need to do what is practical and feasible.


Here are a few quotes from Higher Education colleagues that support the above.


  •      Clemson University: In our pilot to test moving a course to fully online, we limited instruction to ArcGIS Online. This is my advice if institutions haven’t virtualized yet, have little experience with it, and had to rush to move online, as students might not have the right computer/access/space) etc.


  •       NC State University: If our in-house virtual environment were to become overloaded for some reason and all else fails, we would look for ways to supplement our instruction with more ArcGIS Online examples where we can, particularly at the undergraduate level. 


  •      University of Minnesota: ArcGIS Online removes much of the stress associated with quickly moving my in-person courses to all online.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing many universities and colleges to virtualize their classes.  Recently we have fielded many questions on how to virtualize ArcGIS, to support the moving of labs, assignments and activities to a complete online setting.  Fortunately, the virtualization of Esri technology, especially ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap, is well tested across many platforms; on-premise and in the cloud.  


Esri Virtualization Team has provided information on various virtualization options for ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap in their newly published blog titled Virtualization of ArcGIS from the Cloud and On-Premise platforms to support Higher Education.


The blog includes information on:

  • Special considerations to virtualize ArcGIS Pro
  • Using ArcGIS Pro on Mac
  • Virtualization On-Premise (technology and hardware options)
  • Virtualization in Cloud (options and providers)
  • Connecting the Virtual Machine (VM) to the client


Much of this information is also available in the newly published Esri ArcGIS Pro Virtualization White Paper.

In addition, hear from the experts in this "Enabling Remote Access to ArcGIS in Higher Education" webinar. View webinar recording.

Presenters include:

  • Peter Knoop, University of Michigan
  • Peter Wiringa, University of Minnesota
  • Seth Peery, Virginia Tech
  • Jim Detwiler, Pennsylvania State University
  • Wendy Guan, Harvard University

If you have additional questions on virtualizing ArcGIS Pro, please email

Teaching online entails more than recording face-to-face content and placing it in an online environment.  Pedagogical shifts need to take place while keeping student learning, course goals, and program objectives at the forefront.  Fortunately, GIS has a 20-year history of online education, so there are successful models to follow.   Advice for teaching online is widely available, and selected resources are below.   And although designing a online course takes time and planning, don’t try to design a perfect online course right now.  Focus on what is essential. Realize that many students will access materials on their phones and with limited internet, so videos may not be practical.  Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.


Selected guidelines about teaching online: 


Recent advice about placing your courses online in light of the health emergency: 


Resources for converting to online courses from several universities: 


Lessons learned from years of online teaching, from Muki Haklay, University College London: 


Brief guidance from Inside Higher Ed: 


For more tools, books, data, and other instructional resources, see attached.  Updated 20 March 2020. 



An increasing number of articles have been published on the Internet with unclear and sometimes misleading information concerning one of the primary dashboards for awareness concerning the spread of the Coronavirus.  To be clear, the online map posted by Johns Hopkins University at  does NOT contain any malware (and NEVER contained malware).  This popular dashboard web application is hosted by Esri as part of our ArcGIS Online offering.


The confusion comes from an issue where a malicious person created a downloadable Windows-based application containing malware whose display is practically identical to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus browser-based dashboard.  Whomever posted the malicious downloadable app is attempting to take advantage of the hype around the Coronavirus, but it requires the user to either download the app executable, or it could be distributed by email for the user to then install onto their local Windows system.


Here is the Authoritative full blog on the topic from Esri.  Feel free to share with your campus security team so they understand the difference and not blocking the access to the online/browser maps (which can impact your own web maps).   


As always, feel free to contact us for concerns, comments or questions.


Thank you.  



Best Regards,


Canserina Kurnia | Solution Engineer | Education

Esri | 380 New York St | Redlands, CA 92373 | USA

T +1 909 793 2853 x6764 | M +1 909 283 5757 | |



Is your school or district rapidly planning to move courses online?

General K12 resources for COVID-19 moving courses online


Specific resources to consider as educators move courses online

District school administrators and educators are moving quickly to form plans to increase their use of online instruction as the potential for corona virus increases in the United States. While district and state administrators may wish to consult the Esri COVID-19 GIS Hub, below we offer suggestions for resources from Esri that can easily be included in your online or face-to-face courses – this spring or next fall.


1. Pre-built online learning plan: Get to Know GIS for Secondary Students (6.25 hours)

Learn the basics of GIS. Work with ArcGIS Online to interact with GIS maps, explore real world problems, and tell a story. Find out how workers use GIS and what it takes to become a GIS professional. Explore >>

2. Semi-built online activities: GeoInquiries (20-30 minutes each)

Use the Esri GeoInquiry student worksheets to structure online learning of standards-based content with web-based GIS, in short, easily usable learning chunks.  Learn more >>

3. Pre-built online short course: ArcGIS Online Basics (2 hours):

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based geographic information system used to map data, share content, and collaborate. This course will give you a foundation for working with ArcGIS Online. You will learn what ArcGIS Online is and the benefits that you and your organization can gain by using it.  Explore >>

Note: Free ArcGIS Online account required

4. Semi-built online activities: Teach with GIS (variable times)

Explore this collection of nearly 200 learning activities that use ArcGIS Online. Some activities require an ArcGIS Online login.  Discover more >>

5. Wide-open: GeoProjects

Build a class data collection project to which students can submit data – allowing students to explore a range of research questions from the safety of their own home. This resource also includes links to short courses on several field data collection apps from Esri.  Explore the hub >>

The ArcGIS platform with its data feeds, online tools, and wide array of maps makes it easy and powerful to teach and learn about the spatial and temporal aspects of the grim situation surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

See the video I created that walks you through these tools.  One fast way to engage with these tools is to use the existing dashboard set up by Johns Hopkins University.  The situation is changing rapidly, and you can use this video to visualize the changes between January and March 2020.  


Another way to teach, learn, and understand the situation is to start with ArcGIS Online (  Start a new  Map > Modify Map > Add Data > Search for layers in ArcGIS Online > find the Coronavirus COVID-19 cases by CSSE GIS and Data at JHU, and add it to the map.  The data will look like this, in my map as an example, below.

Coronavirus data in ArcGIS Online

Coronavirus data in ArcGIS Online.


Since this map is in ArcGIS Online, you can perform many tasks on it:  You can open and examine the table, sort on specific attributes such as "cases", filter the data for specific criteria, change the base map, and add data to the map such as ecoregions, population density, airports, and more.  Once you save the map into your ArcGIS Online organization, you can run spatial analysis tools on it, such as Summarize Within, Overlay, and Enrich. 


You can share the map with others and create a multimedia storymap from it.   This storymap updated daily from the Esri storymaps team, for example, shown in part below, is a powerful teaching tool and could serve as an idea for your own storymap that you or your students could create.

Sections of the Coronavirus Storymap

Sections of a Coronavirus Storymap.


You can also bring the layer into a 3D scene, as I did here and as shown below.

Coronavirus 3D scene

3D Scene from the JHU Coronavirus layer.



You can also create your own dashboard from the map, as I did here, containing a map, gauges, and graphs, shown below.   To learn how to create a dashboard, see my lesson guiding you through surveys, maps, and dashboards, here

Dashboard created from ArcGIS Online map.

Dashboard created from ArcGIS Online map.  


You can also bring the data into ArcGIS Pro for even further analysis.


New mapping applications are appearing daily, such as this dashboard connected to news articles  and shown below.


Coronavirus dashboard with news feed

Coronavirus dashboard with news feed. 


Another way of understanding the Coronavirus, and to develop skills in Business Analyst Web, is to create a state-based infographic showing cases, as explained here



Lastly, a landing Hub site about COVID-19 apps, data, and resources also exists on:

Webinar recording: Enabling Remote Access to ArcGIS: Options for Higher Education


With the coronavirus (COVID-19) causing colleges/universities to move classes online, educators are asking how to provide access to ArcGIS software for students working remotely.


This webinar presents options for remote access, emphasizing both on-premises virtualization (e.g., Citrix, VMware) and Cloud virtualization (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Azure). Learn from your colleagues with experience supporting ArcGIS in virtual environments.


Presenters include:

  • Peter Knoop, University of Michigan
  • Peter Wiringa, University of Minnesota
  • Seth Peery, Virginia Tech
  • Jim Detwiler, Pennsylvania State University
  • Wendy Guan, Harvard University


What: Enabling Remote Access to ArcGIS: Options for Higher Education Webinar
When: Thursday March 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm EDT / 11:00 am PDT


View webinar recording.

Last week (see Fun with GIS 262) I posted strategies for schools to consider when disruption happens. School closings (and more) across the states (and globally) in the wake of Coronavirus/COVID-19 call for even more attention. Since many people are hurriedly shifting instructional tactics, here are some frequently asked questions.


      1. Q: "I see on the Esri Schools map ( that our school has software, but nobody knows who. How do we learn who has it?" A: Email "" with school name, city, state, and zip, and we can help connect you.
      2. Q: "We received software. How do I set up logins for students and teachers?" A: The ArcGIS Online Organization first needs to be "activated" (a three-step process), then the Org admin can set up logins. See guidance in Pay attention to "single sign-on and CSV." People will use these logins constantly, so be thoughtful about this process, do it carefully, and document what you do.
      3. Q: "One of my students can't see his content when he logs in." A: Ensure the student has logged into the proper location. Students MIGHT also have created their own public login as well, and gotten the two confused. After logging in, what does the URL show to the left of ""? Does it look like "" or like ""? The first is public, the second is an Organization. A single email address can be used for multiple logins. Just like if you have two accounts at a single bank/store/socialmedia/etc, make sure you log into the correct one.
      4. Q: "Students and teachers alike forget logins and passwords and we don't have 'single sign-on.' How do we help them out?" A: There are three possible steps to try, in sequence.
        1. STEP1: Go to and enter your email address to get a list of usernames attached to that address. (If the user's email is not used in the username profile, the user should confer with the Org admin.)
        2. STEP2: Go to and request a password reset for a given username. If the username had been operational, an email with a link will be sent to the email address attached to that username (might be the user, or the Org admin, or an email alias, depending on how the Org was set up). Click the link in that email to establish a new password (must be sufficiently strong), and record what password is established!
        3. STEP3: If either step above doesn't work, contact "," and clarify the situation (provide school name/city/state/ZIP, Org admin name and email, user's name and email, etc), and wait for a human to respond.
      5. Q: "The info from the troubleshooting page says 'Esri access not enabled.' What do I do?" A: There are two important locations for Esri technology. Those including “” are sites where mapping happens. Those including “” are sites about mapping. "Esri access not enabled" does not mean a username is locked out from making maps; it just means that ArcGIS Online Org admins have not granted to that particular username the permission to sign into special places on, such as to converse on GeoNet (, or to take courses on Esri's Training site ( That username may still make maps, publish data, and share items, to the limit allowed by the Org admin. The default setting for any new username is "Esri access disabled" (even for the admin), and an admin must proactively change that if s/he wants to allow those special privileges. See "Managing Esri Access" (p.30) of See also
      6. Q: "Some users in our Org have an 'Analysis' button and some do not. How do I let others do analysis?" A: Doing analysis is a process that generates services, which get stored in one's contents. That process requires the user to have a role in ArcGIS Online with "publishing privileges." Org Admins and the standard "Publisher" role can publish, and thus do analysis; other roles lack that privilege. Custom roles might or might not have received the privilege. See (p.9-11 and the links to the online help).
      7. Q: "We have our logins, but can't figure out how kids can collaborate on a project." A: See the summary in Fun with GIS 227. That document does not mention the new StoryMap template but the same rules apply. There are ways to collaborate; you just need to know what works and what doesn't.
      8. Q: "How do I know that each student actually did his or her own work?" It's always hard to tell anytime you're not seeing the activities being done. Note the usernames attached to contents. If students work in groups, have them comment on their portion, and how it looks and works, and comment on others' components. Have students do a project storyboard first, then individual tasks: design, creation, analysis, documentation. Easiest, everyone does their own project.
      9. Q: "We made a spreadsheet and saved it as a CVS {sic} file but it won't drag and drop on the map or even add to contents like I've seen people do. What gives?" A: See this doc: This is usually a sign of an improperly constructed CSV (comma separated values) file. A good table needs correct structure, carefully adhered to in each cell.
      10. Q: "Where can I find good instruction to learn to do cool things with ArcGIS Online?" A: There are multiple resources, depending on how much you know, how much time you can spend, and what you want to learn. See:
        1. ((Last week's blog on disrupted instruction))
        2. ((Training: ArcGIS Online: Getting Started items))
        3. (("Teach with"-focused portion of
        4. ((Path for Teachers in
        5. ((K12 Org))
        6. [And, as of April 01, 2020] ((Mapping Hour))

With COVID-19 causing colleges and universities to move their courses online, educators are seeking information on how to provide access to ArcGIS software for students working remotely, and at times, needing additional licenses.   


At Esri, we are fully committed to providing enough licenses to support continuity of courses and ensure no disruption. Below is an outline of availability of licenses and recommendations on how to deploy to students.


In short, Colleges and Universities who already have Education Institution Agreement (former Site License), should have enough licenses for the entire campus. Colleges and Universities with a small or medium Departmental Agreement, or an older LabPack license, can receive a Large Departmental Agreement, to provision sufficient ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap licenses. 


Colleges and Universities with Education Institution Agreement (former Site License):


  •      Use on any device – please encourage students, faculty and staff to install ArcGIS on their own devices (ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap). With the new Institution Agreement (former site license), now technology can be installed and licensed on any student-owned device.
  •      Best way to distribute executables and single use licenses – please use your institutional file share to distribute any desktop executables and licensing (ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap) – GoogleDrive, Box, OneDrive, etc. We recommend licensing ArcGIS Pro via ArcGIS Online Named User. For ArcMap, please share the executable on your institutional file share, and the same single use license file can be used by everyone on campus (total of 5,000). Please read this blog for further information.
  •      Unlimited ArcGIS Online Named Users for teaching and research – with the updated Institution Agreement, we have unlimited named users available for teaching and research. If your institution has not migrated to the new institution agreement, and you are running low on Named Users, please contact your Education Account Manager. We will provision additional Named Users to you, to support your courses.
  •      Provision ArcGIS Online Named User licenses for ALL new users – please leverage New Member Defaults in ArcGIS Online. Ideally, you would work with your IT colleagues to setup Single Sign On (enterprise logins) for students to use their university credentials, but if this is not feasible in a short time frame, New Member Defaults can still be used for ArcGIS-only named users. This enables any new students who login to ArcGIS Online to be provisioned for any licensing.  


Colleges and Universities with a small/medium Departmental Agreement, or older LabPack license (limited licenses):


  •      We will be offering a donation of a Large Departmental Agreement to our customers with a term end date of 08/31/2020. This will provision (100) each ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, and ArcMap licenses. Please license ArcGIS Pro via ArcGIS Online Named User. 
  •      To request the donation:

            -  If you are outside the United States, please contact your local Esri Distributor.

            -  If you are inside the United States, please fill out this form. Please disregard the “Site License” notation.                We will make additional licenses available to all customers, not just those with a site license.

  •      Please consider moving to Institution Agreement in the future, as it provides unlimited allocation of named users along with many other benefits. Please contact your Education Account Manager or local Esri Distributor with questions.
  •      Please follow the above recommendations for distributing executables and licensing (desktop and Names Users).


Other recommendations:

  •      We realize that not all students have personal computers, and even if they do, ArcGIS Pro has certain system requirements which may not be met with older hardware. Please check our COVID-19 Educator Support space which lists additional resources, such as this Virtualization of ArcGIS: On-premise and Cloud Options for Higher Education blog.  
  •      Run ArcGIS Pro on a Mac – please refer to the documentation, many students successfully run ArcGIS Pro on Mac machines.
  •      If it is not possible for students to run desktop software on their own machines, and not possible to virtualize ArcGIS in a short timeframe, please consider moving to SAAS – ArcGIS Online and Apps, where students only need an internet connection. The technology has grown immensely over the years, and many capabilities are possible with ArcGIS Online and Apps. While intimidating, this gives us an opportunity to re-invigorate. Please check this blog for many online learning resources - keep your learning objectives and competencies, and map them to some of these existing resources.

Connecting components of modern GIS, including field surveys, dashboards, interactive maps, and multimedia maps, can help foster spatial thinking, critical thinking, and rigorous use of GIS tools and data.  This lesson guides you through the creation of a survey in Survey123, mapping the resulting data in ArcGIS Online, creating and using a Dashboard, and creating a story map.  


This lesson focuses on walkability--the degree to which communities are perceived as walkable by pedestrians, those in wheelchairs, on scooters, on bicycles, and other non-vehicle modes.  However, the same concepts can be used for any theme, from local to global—pedestrian and vehicle counts, water quality, weather observations, housing or business type, zoning, light poles, recycling bins, invasive species, litter, and other features or issues in the natural or built landscape. 


This lesson is organized in 4 parts:  
Part 1:  Creating a field survey using Survey123.                                            

Part 2:  Creating and analyzing a map from your survey data.

Part 3:  Creating a dashboard from your survey data.

Part 4:  Creating a storymap from your field data.


The attached zip file contains the lesson (in PDF and also in DOCX format so it can be easily modified) plus the images that are used in the lesson. 


Would you consider this location "walkable"?  That is the focus of this lesson.

Would you consider this location walkable?  That is the focus of this lesson.  The lesson guides you through the creation of a survey, map, dashboard, and storymap. 

COVID-19 has impacted us in many ways. There is an increasing number of institutions who are temporarily postponing or cancelling in-person courses, and on-ground faculty may be faced with having to migrate their courses to online learning. Of course, planning, available support, and clear communication are paramount to helping make such transition and ease both faculty and student anxiety.


We wanted to share several online resources that are available to supplement online learning. You likely know many of them, but they could be a lifeline for those faculty who have not utilized them, as many of these resources are conducive to remote and self-paced student learning.



We would like to express particular appreciation and support to the many colleagues whose role is to support educators across campuses leverage geospatial technology. Folks sitting in libraries, instructional resource centers and technology support offices, may be faced with increased demand to provide support for moving courses to remote instruction. 


Further, we have a close community of GIS educators – a community who has inspired and supported one another. If you have advice to offer, or need advice on approaches to transition courses, please feel free to post here. If a virtual meeting space is a desired mode to share practices, we can help facilitate that. 

Sometimes, the simplest things in GIS are incredibly wonderful.  Such is the case with the ability of creating a feature layer from a group of geotagged photographs.  In plain language, this allows you to point to a folder of photographs for which you have a location attached to them (because you have taken them from a phone with location services turned on, for example), and map the entire set of photos as a set of points in ArcGIS Online.  As my colleague explained in his blog here, this capability has existed since 2019, but I wanted to make sure that you, the education community, know how to teach and conduct research with these tools.  My video explaining these tools is here. 


To do this, first zip your photos into a zip file.  Then, go to ArcGIS Online > Add Item > Add items from my computer > Photos with Locations.  Supply a title and some tags.  The result is stored as a feature layer, explained here, which is a powerful content item that can be brought in to ArcGIS Pro for further analysis.  At the current time, the photos need to be geotagged JPG photos with standard EXIF GPS metadata.  What if your photos are not geotagged?  I have used GeoImgr in the past with success, and other tools exist as well both online and as apps for your phone (but use caution especially with online software tools to do this, making sure you read the reviews and that there is no malware). 


When done, your photos will be hyperlinked to each point as shown in this example below.  


Photos with locations But let's say you want the photos to appear as thumbnails inside the popups.  For example, see this map and screen shot below containing photos I took on a hiking trip to beautiful southwest Colorado.  I did this by (1) configuring the popup, and (2) in the attribute expressions zone of the popup configure tools, I added a few lines of Arcade expressions as explained by my colleague Jennifer Bell, here.  In essence, each photo is stored as an "attachment" in ArcGIS Online, and each is stored with an ID number.  The Arcade expressions (1) Calculate the attachment ID for each feature, and (2) Configure the pop-up to display the attachment URL as an image.


My expression has the following appearance:


var Part1 =
var ObjectID = $feature.OBJECTID
var Part2 = "/attachments/"
var AttachID = $feature.AttachID
When($feature.CountAttachments > 0, Part1 + ObjectID + Part2 + AttachID, null)


In the map, I have, fittingly, used the USGS topographic maps as a base map, via Modify Map > Add Data > search for and add "USA Topo Maps".  I have clicked on one photo in the screenshot below, but using the map link above, you can interact with it and examine more photos on this amazing landscape.  In each popup, you can click on the link for the full sized image.   One of the full sized images is here, for example, and also shown at the end of this essay. 


Photos with locations

There are several advantages to the "photos with locations" method in education and beyond.  First, the photos are stored in ArcGIS Online, so there is no need to use Flickr or other photo sharing tools, which, as I have documented here on GeoNet, frequently present challenges.  Second, the resulting layer is a feature layer, rather than simply points being stored in a map, and so has some powerful functionality--you can bring the layer into ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Insights, or Community Analyst, to perform additional analysis on it. In my case, bringing the layer into a 3D scene is especially appropriate, as shown below.  You can also use it in a storymap.  Third, the popups are automatically configured.  You can of course add additional information to the popup.  Fourth, maybe the best part of all, the whole process takes mere minutes from the zipping to the mapping.  


Photos with locations 3D scene

3D Scene of the photos with locations layer.


Consider using these techniques to map something of interest to you and your students.  It could be places where you test water quality, litter, invasive species, types of clouds, street signs, types of cafes, recycling bins, places of concern in your community (such as broken sidewalks or dangerous intersections), or something else entirely. 

And there is more to come!  In the new map viewer, popups have been improved in many ways, as explained here. See the improvements already in the beta release, below, you will notice a decent sized thumbnail for every one of my points without any custom code or manual insertion of URLs.  The default popup mode is "list", which shows a tiny thumbnail, but if you use attachments > and uncheck "show as list", the images convert to a "gallery" mode, shown here. 


Photos with locations in Map Viewer beta

Images in popups as shown in the new ArcGIS Online Map Viewer. 

 Photos with locations sample image

Ah! Now go out there, do some fieldwork, take your own photos, and start mapping and analyzing them!

Disruptions come in all magnitudes, durations, formats, causes, and degree of foreseeability. After coping with life trauma and handling the logistics around disruptions great and small, how can GIS help students engage in school, learn, even progress? Esri provides schools and districts a great raft of free content, tools, and instructional activities that teachers and students can use, together or separately. Here are some options.


If the students don’t have ArcGIS Online logins available…


1. For the teacher: Visit Explore “Instructional Resources” first, then “Educator Support.” Open the “Getting Started for Educators” item and go through #1-9 in sequence, quickly, and eventually through #15. In #14, determine if the school/district has software, and, if not, request software for the school. Use the “AGO Orgs for Schools” doc to guide implementation and set up student logins. Meanwhile, continue with items below.


2. Have students go through a GeoInquiries activity of relevance, using the prepared text or teacher-generated instructions. (If you have not used GeoInquiries, see the GeoInquiries StoryMap. If this is students' first time with GeoInquiries, have them first watch the “About GeoInquiries” video.) Have them arrange the map to show what they choose, create three screenshots, annotate the screenshots If desired using image software, and use a word processor to assemble the images into a story with explanatory text.


3. Have students use ArcGIS Online Map Viewer to assemble a single map of personal content, with a set of Map Notes (points, lines, areas, text) about a specific topic (e.g. personal history, review of previous topic, item of personal interest, etc). Create screenshots with specific assemblages of content displayed (turned “on”), and use a word processor to assemble the screenshots into a story with text.


4. Have students explore the collection of public Story Maps, use one or more as content to study, take appropriate screenshots, and use a word processor to construct a summary.


5. Have students explore four Story Maps (one each of four different formats) from the public gallery and create a summary of characteristics and capacities noticed within the technology. What techniques tend to yield effective story maps?


6. From the results of the ArcGIS Online Competition for US HS+MS Students, have students explore four different story maps. What commonalities exist in the state and national awardees? What are some situations in which a student could have been more successful with a different technique?


If the students have ArcGIS Online logins available…


7. Have students go through a GeoInquiries activity, then save the map into their contents, then build a Presentation of at least 3 frames explaining the importance of the content and the patterns and relationships visible.


8. Have students assemble a “personal map and Presentation”: Use Map Viewer to assemble a single map of their choice, creating or uploading or accessing data, then create a “Presentation” of at least three frames out of the elements.


9. Have students with publishing credentials create a Survey123 form through which to gather data about a relevant topic. Have them share the survey with all members of the class.


10. Have students build a StoryMap, using classic templates or the new template. Topic options could include:

  • focus on the class (e.g. review the year to date)
  • focus on the disruption (e.g. tell the story of the event causing disruption)
  • assemble your life geography (e.g. where have you been and what factors led you here)
  • share a topic of personal interest (e.g. “if I had 2 weeks to focus all day on a topic of influence on my life today, including to prepare a presentation about it, it would be about … and go something like this …”)
  • design a research project (e.g. plan out the project steps and timelines)


ArcGIS Online allows users to explore, create, analyze, and integrate endless content across disciplines, then design presentations, and share everything. For educators needing to adapt to disruptions in school, having resources that facilitate such work can generate significant value in place of potentially lost instructional opportunity, from a single “sub day” to an extended school closing.




- - - - -

Follow-up: Because so many schools are juggling their instructional calendar and methods, I am continuing this with "School Disruptions 2," posted Sunday March 15, 2020. - Charlie

And, see also Tom Baker's blog "Is Your School/District Moving Courses Online posted Monday March 16, 2020. - Charlie

Science relies on facts. We may differ in interpretations, but we should be able to agree on facts … gravity, temperature, numbers of items in a set, and so on. Facts are scientifically observable and describable by others.


Asked about a news item, one of my high school teachers asked "Is he lying if he points to his legs and says 'blood flows up one leg and down the other'? No, he is not, but neither is he wholly truthful, so you have to take time to listen and think carefully … decide what is not true, what is true but incomplete, and what is complete … and then act." Years later, teaching social studies, I asked my students to be Sherlock Holmes, be scientific, seek all the relevant facts, shape their interpretations to best fit the facts instead of the reverse, say what they saw/ heard/ understood, and why they made a certain decision, based on facts. Working with GIS helps one see, hear, and understand situations through multiple layers, patterns, relationships, and perspectives.


The world faces staggering challenges. We must rely on facts, science, data from credible sources, and methodologies of experts. Everyone should be able to explain how facts were determined, and how interpretations were reached, just like my students and I did with each other. We need to seek a holistic picture, unlike the proverbial blind men at different portions of an elephant describing the creature as a large fan, a wall, a tree trunk, and so on.


Case in point: the rapidly accelerating newest challenge: COVID-19 Coronavirus. In our ultra-connected world, it can race from country to country in less than a day. To combat it, we need an even more viral resource: knowledge, based on facts and science, which can spread at the speed of light. Unfortunately, so too can misinformation, which has the distinct advantage of not requiring painstaking assembly.


Esri has opened a new public website, the COVID-19 GIS Hub, linking content from experts: dashboards, applications, storymaps, data sets, news, relevant articles, and select social media. Of these, a key item for educators is the blogpost "Mapping coronavirus, responsibly." Maps are interpretations of data, meaning cartographers make decisions, and should map responsibly. Especially important for educators is that responsible producers of content tend to be critical thinkers about content from others, and vice versa; people who design interpretations learn about traps, why to avoid them, and how some take advantage of them, and become more critical consumers of information. Educators anxious to build critical thinkers and content consumers would do well to engage students in constructing, analyzing, and evaluating such content themselves. The necessary tools are free to schools for instructional use, around the world, in the ArcGIS School Bundle.


Coronavirus GIS Hub

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: