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K12 Instruction

5 Posts authored by: tbaker-esristaff Employee

This graphic is intended to help new educators sort out the GIS tool most applicable for a given part of the typical student research cycle.  These tool recommendations are not absolute; in the hands of an experienced student or educator, there can be a great deal of fluidity.  This chart may be considered a starting point.


GeoTools for Inquiry

As of October 1, 2019, the following software is available globally in the Esri School Mapping Software bundle. It is free for classroom and club instruction of youth.

  • ArcGIS Online (Organization Subscription)
    • Living Atlas data
    • ArcGIS Story Maps
    • Survey 123
    • Collector
    • Quick Capture (software info)
    • Operations Dashboard
    • WebApp Builder and Configurable Apps
  • ArcGIS for Desktop (with several extensions)
  • ArcGIS Pro (with several extensions)
  • Community Analyst
  • Insights for ArcGIS (software info)
  • City Engine (software info)


ArcGIS Online is the primary software used in 95% of school settings.


U.S. schools and youth clubs may sign-up with this form to request the software. Non-U.S. schools need to check with the local Esri distributor, see  For more information on licensing, see this blog.

Educators interested in complimentary evaluation book copies from Esri Press, may now request ebooks. Esri works with VitalSource, a powerful digital textbook delivery platform that enables qualified educators to examine books with ease.


· If you do not have an account with VitalSource, you can get a free account here:  (Because the platform collects name and email address, this is not meant for minors such as K12 students.)


· After establishing an account, college instructors can get access to books directly through VitalSource. K12 instructors just need to send an email to and request a code for a specific Esri Press title (or titles), then "redeem" the code within your VitalSource account … simple! You can access your VitalSource Bookshelf library via multiple devices, including mobile devices, and your progress and notes sync. It's awesome!


· To view titles and descriptions, you can do it on VitalSource (which will expose books from publishers other than Esri Press, but Esri can provide codes only to Esri Press titles) or check on the Esri website, (which shows just Esri Press titles).

Talking and working with teachers around the country, I commonly hear ideas and suggestions.  Today, I've explored building a proof-of-concept out of a few of those ideas.


  1. Schools are heavily using Google Docs (and Google Forms), the hands-down standard in K-12 education.  
  2. Many teachers have asked about making GeoInquiry questions digital (form-based).
  3. Still others have recommended putting the questions and map on the same webpage.


One way to achieve this is to place the questions in a Google Form and share it publicly - embedding it, along with the GeoInquiry map into a storymap. The results aren't too bad and the data collected by the form would ideally flow into a spreadsheet on the teacher's Google Drive.


Of course, Survey123 could replace the Google Form and perhaps another story map template (gen 1) would work better in this case.


Related links:

Check out the new "GIS in CTE" Learn path!  This new path is intended to help educators and students in general GIS CTE classes get an understanding of the broad, technical landscape of GIS.  If you have feedback about what is or is not in the path, send an email to