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Esri Frequent Contributor

A new series of videos focused on the theme of "GIS Helps" is now online in the following playlist: 

These videos have been created in time for you to show at your upcoming GIS Day event, or beyond GIS Day, in instruction, or to your colleagues or employees, or in other settings.  During these times of health, wildfire, and other challenges, GIS is more needed than ever before, and hence the message that "GIS Helps" seems especially relevant. 


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Esri Contributor

The following FAQ will answer some of your commonly asked questions as it relates to using ArcGIS Notebooks in the cloud (ArcGIS Online).  This list will continually be updated. 

Introduction to ArcGIS Notebooks

Q: What is ArcGIS Notebooks?

A: ArcGIS Notebooks provides a Jupyter notebook experience optimized for spatial analysis. 

Q: What are benefits of using ArcGIS Notebooks?

A: ArcGIS Notebooks ships with hundreds of open source Python libraries alongside the ArcGIS Python libraries, ArcPy, and the ArcGIS API for Python. Other benefits include:

  • Provide easy sharable, consistent Python environment.
  • Reduces time spent in managing dependencies.
  • Direct access to web maps and apps.

Q: What are options to work with ArcGIS Notebooks in the ArcGIS platform?

A: Options to work with ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS platform are:

  • ArcGIS Notebooks for Enterprise (server)
  • ArcGIS Notebooks in the cloud (ArcGIS Online)
  • ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro (workstation)
  • ArcGIS Notebooks for Developers (Builder plan and higher)

Q: What are the differences between ArcGIS Notebooks Standard, Advanced and Advanced with GPU Support?

  • Standard– includes the ArcGIS API for Python and hundreds of open source libraries; appropriate for administrative tasks, data engineering, and light analytics. While standard notebooks themselves are free to create and run, anything that would ordinarily consume credits in ArcGIS Online still does when performed in a notebook (running analysis or accessing premium content).
  • Advanced– includes everything offered in Standard plus ArcPy; offers a larger instance size (more compute and memory resources); appropriate for most workflows including large scale data engineering, advanced analytics and some machine learning workflows; credit rates apply.
  • Advanced with GPU– includes everything in Standard and Advanced along with a GPU powered instance that offers the highest amount of compute and memory resources; appropriate for computationally intensive workflows such as big data analytics, model training and model inferencing; credit rates apply.


Enabling Access to ArcGIS Notebooks

Q: Is a custom role needed to enable ArcGIS Notebooks access? How do I enable access to ArcGIS Notebooks for all the members in ArcGIS Online?

A: Notebook privileges are assigned through the role settings. To assign privileges that allow users to access standard or advanced notebooks in ArcGIS Notebooks, you’ll need to create a custom role in your ArcGIS Online Settings (by Administrator).  You can create the custom role based on any of the default roles such as Publisher role.   Once a new custom role is created, you will need to add notebook create and user privileges to your new custom role:

  • Under Role privileges, expand the Content group and turn on Create and edit notebooks. This allows the user to create and edit standard notebooks.

  • Expand the Premium content group and turn on Advanced Notebooks. This allows the user to create Advanced Notebooks that use ArcPy or access the GPU-enabled notebook runtime.

Once you’ve created a custom role with Advanced Notebooks enabled, you can make that role the default role for new users (Settings > New member defaults).   All users joining the organization from this point forward will automatically have access to ArcGIS Notebooks.  You will also need to assign that custom role to the existing members.  

Q: Is there documentation on how to set up access to ArcGIS Notebooks I can give to my Administrator?

A: Yes. This PDF lesson provides a step-by-step instruction on how to setup access to ArcGIS Notebooks by an Administrator.

Q: Is there any way to control this default setting? It seems like if you enabled Advanced access, when you spin up a Notebook, it defaults to Advanced.  Can the default change to Standard, even for users with Advanced access?

A: No, not with the current release. The Product team is working on a new launch experience that will make it easier for users to not accidentally pick an advanced runtime if that is not what they desire. 

Credits Calculation

Q: How is credit usage calculated with Advanced and Advanced with GPU?

A: Credit is charged per minute so if you divide those rates listed in the doc by 60, you will get the per minute pricing. Knowing the hourly rates makes it easier to do quick estimation.

Use this as a reference:


Standard:                            0 credits/minute                            

                                                                $0 USD/minute                                               


Advanced:                          .05 credits/minute         

                                                                $0.005 USD/minute                                                       


Advanced with GPU:       .5 credits/minute                                                           

                                                                            $0.05 USD /minute             

Q: Can you give examples of credit usage for using ArcGIS Notebooks for a class?

A: The credit usage will depend on the amount of time Notebooks are used. It also depends on the number of users and whether Notebooks are being used a few hours a week in a class or being used in a research project (many hours per week for an entire year).

For example, if a class of 20 students uses Notebooks for an average of 4 hours per week for a 16-week long course, the credit usage would be:

  • Advanced Notebooks:   3,840 credits total for course = 20 students x 4 hours x 16 weeks = 1,280 hours = 76,800 minutes @ 0.05 credits/min
  • Advanced Notebooks with GPU:  38,400 credits total for course = 20 students x 4 hours x 16 weeks = 1,280 hours = 76,800 minutes @ 0.5 credits/min

If an individual researcher uses Notebooks an average of 20 hours per week for a year (excluding a 4-week vacation), the credit usage would be:

  • Advanced Notebooks:   2,880 credits total for course = 1 researcher x 20 hours x 48 weeks = 960 hours = 57,600 minutes @ 0.05 credits/min
  • Advanced Notebooks with GPU:  28,800 credits total for course = 1 researcher x 20 hours x 48 weeks = 960 hours = 57,600 minutes @ 0.5 credits/min

Thus, in a classroom setting, you may want to budget 200-500 credits per student for Advanced Notebooks or 2,000 – 5,000 credits per student for Advanced+GPU.

In a research setting, you might want to budget 3,000 – 5,000 credits per person for Advanced Notebooks or 30,000 – 50,000 credits per person for Advanced+GPU.

Working with ArcGIS Notebooks

Q: How long can a notebook be open before it goes idle and automatically disconnects? 

A: 20 minutes. We do not charge for idle time, credits are calculated based on the last activity within the notebook.


Q: What happens if I forgot to close the Notebooks?

A: The notebook will time out and disconnected after 20 minutes of being idle.


Q: Can I use local data with ArcGIS Notebooks in ArcGIS Online?

A: Yes, you can.  On the Files component in ArcGIS Notebooks, you can upload your local data into /arcgis/home. You can also use the Python API to create a new folder and add data there.


Q: Can I create a new file folder under Files?

A: Yes, but you must do it using the ArcGIS API for Python. Adding new files to this location will also require the use of Python code.


Q: Is there a limit to how much data (rasters, shapefile, file geodatabases) I can upload into ArcGIS notebooks?

A: This depends on how you bring in data, using the ArcGIS API for Python to add data will allow you to bring in larger file sizes. The current file size limit using the upload UI under Files is 20MB. A new big file uploader is on the roadmap to increase the file size allowed by the upload UI.


Q: Can you schedule notebooks?

A: No, not with the current release.


Q: Can I download a notebook from ArcGIS Online?

A: Yes, here are two options:

1) In the Notebook, under File > Download As

2) Find the notebook  item in your Content > Open the item details page > Click Download button


Q: Can I upload a notebook into ArcGIS Online?

Yes, In the Content,  choose Add Item > From your computer.  It will add as a new item.  Be aware that any notebook uploaded will automatically use your default runtime unless you explicitly change it in the Item Details page.

Q: Are there some samples Notebooks? Where can I find them?

A: Samples are included in ArcGIS Notebooks.  There is a link to the Samples on the top right of your Notebooks in ArcGIS Online.


There are sample notebooks for categories: data science and analysis, content management and ArcGIS Online administration.

ArcGIS Notebooks Resources

Q: Do you have resources for teaching with ArcGIS Notebooks?

A: Yes.  Learn ArcGIS provides a learning path for teaching with ArcGIS Notebooks. You can also refer to this webpage for educators.


Q: Do we have resources for self-learning ArcGIS Notebooks?

A: The MOOC, Spatial Data Science: The New Frontier in Analytics uses ArcGIS Notebooks to teach Spatial Data Science. There are also several new Learn lessons under development.


Q: Is there a community where I can post questions or get more information?

A: You can join ArcGIS Notebooks community on Esri GeoNet and follow ArcGIS Analysis on Twitter.


Q: Where can I find more product information and resources on ArcGIS Notebooks?

A: Visit ArcGIS Notebooks product page.


Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions about accessing ArcGIS Notebooks in my university?

A: You can contact


Q: How do I submit an enhancement request or report a bug?

A:  Bugs should be reported through tech support, enhancement requests can also be submitted through tech support. Additionally, you can use the GeoNet community to share ideas and engage with the broader ArcGIS Notebooks community.

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Esri Frequent Contributor

In a recent post, I introduced the idea of spatial environmental education, using map-based analysis to teach and learn environmental studies.  I hope to strengthen this idea in this column by showing how spatial analysis can foster learning about environmental content and relationships.  One of the central themes of environmental studies is examining the interaction between humans and the environment. How does the environment affect people, through such characteristics as daily weather and long-term climate, native plants and animals, landforms, the availability of water, local and regional natural hazards, and predominant soil type?  Conversely, how do humans affect their environment?


IS can be used to teach and learn about environmental content and relationships.  Photograph by Joseph Kerski, out on the landscape in Wyoming.

Another central environmental theme is change. The Earth is a dynamic planet. Comparing land cover change based on examining Landsat satellite imagery, comparing the variation in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes by year, or investigating population change in an urban area are three of the many ways in which change can be examined using maps within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS), starting with ArcGIS Online.

Because environmental phenomena interact, move, and change, it is not enough to know content only:  Relationships and processes are critical to understanding the environment.  GIS can foster each of the Center for Ecoliteracy’s six core ecological concepts: networks, nested systems, cycles, flows, development, and dynamic balance. GIS allows variables to be input, modeled, and modified so that the dynamics of environmental processes can be studied. Hungerford and Volk (1991) defined nine key ecological concepts that they said were necessary for environmental education programs, including (1) individuals and populations, (2) interactions and interdependence, (3) environmental influences and limiting factors, (4) energy flow and nutrient cycling, (5) community and ecosystem concepts, (6) homeostasis, (7) succession, (8) humans as members of ecosystems, and (9) the ecological implications of human activities and communities.  GIS can enhance the teaching of each of these concepts.

An NSF-funded project from the NAAEE resulted in a definition of environmental literacy that includes four interrelated components: (1) competencies, (2) knowledge, (3) dispositions, and (4) environmentally responsible behavior. By using the same tools used by scientists, GIS aids in the first two of these, and by investigating real issues in their communities and beyond, GIS aids in helping with the last two of these components.

Students who use GIS in tandem with environmental studies develop key critical thinking skills. These skills include understanding how to carefully evaluate and use data. This is especially critical in assessing environmental data, due to its increasing volume and diversity, and given its often sensitive and politically charged nature. Moreover, crowd-sourced data appears regularly from “citizen science” initiatives all over the world on pine beetle infestations, the appearance of monarch butterflies each spring, phenology, birds, and a host of other topics.  These data are more frequently being tied to real-world coordinates that are mapped and analyzed. Students and graduates using GIS and who are grounded in environmental studies will be in demand to help make sense of this deluge of incoming data.

Students using these tools can map phenomena and features such as ocean currents, ecoregions, and the locations of usable geothermal energy. They can use the tools to answer various questions. How does pH vary along this stretch of river, and why? How do tree species and tree height change depending on the slope angle and slope direction of the mountain, and why? Why do wind speed and direction vary across North America the way they do?

Are you using GIS to teach or learn about environmental content and relationships? If so, how?

Hungerford, Harold R., and Trudi L. Volk. Curriculum Development in Environmental Education for the Primary School: Challenges and Responsibilities. Invited paper for The International Training Seminar on Curriculum Development in Environmental Education for the Primary School.  May 1991.

- See more at: 

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Esri Contributor

With budgets and enrollments shifting, colleges and universities need to focus on building efficient and effective operations—now more than ever.


Throughout this series, leading universities—along with Esri—will discuss and demonstrate how spatial collaboration, decision-making, and analytical tools can help with a broad range of workflows across campuses.


Join Esri for a four-part webinar series that will walk you through steps that can be taken today:


Webinar 1 (September 16)—Getting Started: Building Your Spatial Foundation


GIS isn’t just a campus basemap. GIS is real-time dashboards for VP’s and department heads, it pulls disparate asset management and work order systems into a contextual framework, and it provides a hub upon which all departments and users can share and collaborate to work more effectively. This webinar will show campus operations users how:

  • To frame the conversation around the return on investment (ROI) that GIS provides
  • GIS can be used to monitor and report on KPI’s
  • Where and how to get started with a technical roadmap
  • Integration with other business systems can take place
  • Key campus workflows can be quickly configured


Watch webinar 1 recording >>

Download presentation slides >>


Webinar 2 (October 7)—Bringing GIS Indoors: Space Planning and Optimization


Getting directions to a building? No problem. What about real-time, floor aware directions to the specific valve that will stop the water leak? Now that’s valuable. Not only does GIS enhance outdoor workflows, but by pulling together building, floor, room, and asset information, indoor GIS takes you a step further. The ability to optimally route visitors to rooms, find nearest AEDs, integrate with calendars, and pull together asset management systems into a floor aware GIS, are just some of the powerful aspects of bringing GIS indoors. Join us for the second webinar in the series to show campus operations users how:

  • GIS is being used to tie work management and location together
  • To build and manage dynamic, routable networks
  • Peers are starting to leverage indoor GIS


Watch webinar 2 recording >>

Download presentation slides >>

Michigan State University's story map

Webinar 3 (October 28)—Building a Mobile Workforce: Getting Decision Support into the Field


In our home lives – smart phones have become a part of daily life. So why do we still rely heavily on printed maps, CAD diagrams, and hand-drawn notes to find assets while at work on campus? GIS is no longer about just producing printed maps, it provides out of the box tools for data collection, data discovery, and data sharing. It also provides applications that can be rapidly configured for a wide variety of workflows. This webinar will feature 2 leading universities sharing their best practices for mobile GIS as well as showing campus operations users:

  • The value of configure first, customize second
  • Updates to Esri mobile applications
  • The ROI of mobile data capture
  • How to provide real-time operational awareness to crews and managers


Webinar speakers you can look forward to hearing from:

  • Seth Kiser, Project Manager for University Facilities Construction & Renovation, Clemson University
  • Grant McCormick, Enterprise GIS Manager, University of Arizona
  • Brian Baldwin, Senior Solution Engineer – Education, Esri


Watch webinar 3 recording >>

Download presentation slides >>

Webinar 4 (November 18)—Optimizing Utilities: Digitally Transforming Network Management


It’s 3AM and the power goes out. You or your staff need to locate the right switch, but do you know where it is? When a construction project is taking place and you want to ensure that a dig-in won’t occur, how confident are you in the mapped location of your underground assets? These are just 2 common use cases for the times when an accurate spatial representation of your network assets would be incredibly valuable. This webinar will focus on the value of moving your utility assets from CAD to GIS and many of the advances that allow users to view and trace network assets in the field, incorporate real-time information, and represent your data in 2D, schematics, and 3D. This webinar will feature 1 leading university and showcase: 

  • Network management for electric, gas, water, sewer, stormwater, fiber, telecom, district heating, and more
  • Scaled deployment options (from hosted solutions to Enterprise management)
  • Moving from CAD to GIS


Webinar speakers you can look forward to hearing from:

  • Mary Colomaio, Utility Mapping Program Manager, Cornell University
  • Brian Baldwin, Senior Solution Engineer – Education, Esri
  • Tom DeWitte, Solution Engineer, Esri
  • Junjie Ma, Solution Engineer, Esri


Watch webinar 4 recording >>

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Despite the changes our world has experienced this year, GIS is still here.  In fact, GIS is more important than ever.  The pandemic has raised global awareness of the relevance of GIS as a decision making toolset that enables people to build healthy communities, resilient cities, and a more sustainable planet.  Thus, GIS can be justifiably celebrated as never before, as an essential technology for applying geography and spatial thinking.  One of the ways to celebrate GIS is through hosting a GIS Day event. View the essay below and this video for ideas on how to do exactly that. 

GIS Day banner.

Since 1999, GIS Day has served as a way to help others learn about geography and the real-world applications of GIS that are making a difference in our society. It's a chance for you to share your accomplishments and inspire others to discover and use GIS.  This year, GIS Day will be held on Wednesday 18 November 2020, although you can certainly choose another day to celebrate what your organization is doing with GIS.  

Realizing that many GIS Day events will occur online this year, how can your government agency, school, university, company, or nonprofit organization host such an event?  Whether you Zoom, Skype, Facebook, YouTube Live Stream, Google Hangout, Adobe Connect, GoToWebinar, or use another method, see below for a selected list of resources and ideas.  

If the high attendance figures for online GIS-based conferences over these past 6 months are any indication, your audience this year for GIS Day could be much larger than in face-to-face-only events of the past. Use this opportunity to go big!  Think creatively about how to highlight the good people in your organization, how you use GIS, and the positive difference it is making to your community, and hence why it will matter to your audience. 

Consider using engaging tools such as ArcGIS Hub, the ArcGIS Experience Builder, or a story maps collection as the front page for your event!

Teach a hands-on workshop!  Focus on a tool that you are excited about, or perhaps a data set that your organization is proud to have created.  Need additional ideas?  Try this GIS Day story map.   Show off some of your favorite maps in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.  The Mapping Hour is a series of hour-long videos that you could use as is, or for ideas on tools and approaches to teach and instructional guidelines.  Each Mapping Hour video focuses on how to use an aspect of the ArcGIS platform, such as Survey123 or ArcGIS Online, in teaching and learning.  GeoInquiries and Learn ArcGIS lessons provide additional content.  

See these stories here and here that I compiled from a few of the 1,500 GIS Day events held last year all over the world to discover what people have done to make this day extra "spatial".

Make it interactive!  Create a map-based quiz, or use the existing ones that I created such as Name That Place, Sounds of Planet Earth, or Weird Earth.  I created each of these using the capabilities of ArcGIS Online, such as the presentation mode.  Some are in story map form, such as this Wyoming Map Quiz.  Try this fun and engaging collection of Treasure Hunts.   You could even use Kahoot or another fun online quiz format in conjunction with maps and images. 

Show this new Pioneers of Geography and GIS Treasure Hunt quiz.   Solve a series of 20 questions--each focuses on a geography or GIS pioneer and hints at a location somewhere in the world where the pioneer was born or worked.  To answer the question, frame the solution within the viewfinder using the map's pan/zoom functions.  You could use it for an icebreaker, a contest, or as a fun break in between longer presentations. 

GIS Day pioneers quiz.

GIS Day pioneers of geography and GIS treasure hunt quiz.

Put your GIS skills to the test with this new GIS-themed crossword puzzle.   Consider these clues:  16 Across:  A spatial term denoting features that overlay, or ‘cross’ each other.   40 Across:  Type of thematic map in which areas are symbolized in proportion to a variable that represents a summary of a geographic characteristic within each area.  69 Down:  University of Kansas cartographer George, who devised the natural breaks classification.  295 Down:  The standard deviation of the residuals (prediction errors).  How are you doing so far?  Use this crossword in your event as a contest, awarding kudos to the person or team to get the most clues in, say, 5 minutes.   A GIS themed crossword puzzle.

GIS crossword puzzle--hundreds of clues from easy to difficult are included to test your GIS expertise!

The resources pages on the GIS Day site provide additional lessons, posters, videos, and other items you could use.  

Need more inspiration?  OK, how about 101 more ideas including sending a thank-you note to a GIS or geography teacher and producing a GIS Day song.

Once you've gathered your team, and planned what you will do, register your event here.  With your registration, you will receive a software donation (5 ArcGIS for Personal Use licenses to each GIS Day host for you to give away as you see fit), and event support (help with any questions or resources).

If you don't want to host an event, no problem!  You could use the web map to find an event of interest to you, and join that event!

Stay tuned, follow us on Twitter, and visit the GIS Day website often to hear more about opportunities for the global GIS Day community to come together to celebrate GIS Day virtually with Esri this year.

Hosting virtual GIS Day events.

What will you do for your virtual or face-to-face GIS Day event this year?

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Esri Regular Contributor

At the User Conference Plenary session, Jack Dangermond briefly announced a new program, the Learn ArcGIS Student Program, designed to provide access to software and lessons to higher education students who are learning ArcGIS independently (outside of a formal course), and who don’t have access through their institution. The program provides access to ArcGIS and self-paced learning resources for self-initiated learning anywhere and at any time. 


The program will have a global reach. It is designed for students in fields such as data science, public health, business, journalism (and many others!) who know the value of GIS to their work but lack access to software and training. It provides motivated students a way to acquire additional skills that expand their career options in the digital economy.     


This program builds on the success of the program launched in March to support students and educators amidst COVID-19 college/university closures.  That program offered free software access and learning resources via extended Learn ArcGIS membership to students globally until August 31st, 2020. 


The new program will launch September 1, 2020 and will offer qualified students free access to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro for one (1) year through a membership in the Learn ArcGIS organization. 


Higher education students whose institution already has education licensing should seek access to ArcGIS via their institution. For learning as part of a formal course/degree program, research, or operational/administrative use, access should be provided by the institution.


Many of you are implementing these best practices for enabling access to ArcGIS for all students, faculty and staff via your institution’s license. Please continue to follow these best practices; this program should not change existing workflows.    


For further details, here is an FAQ explaining who this program is for, eligibility, what is included, verification process, and what happens after the 1-year ends.

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Despite the changes in GIS technology and applications over the past 50 years, one thing has remained constant:  GIS is relevant.  Esri Maps for Public Policy is a growing collection of maps and other content spanning many relevant issues of our time, including social equity, health, economic opportunity, resilience, sustainability, environment and natural resources, and public safety.  A "policy map" can be thought of as any map that can be used in shaping or forming public policy, from the community to the national or international level.  Esri provides these resources to raise the level of spatial and data literacy that is used in public policy, and to encourage people to get involved.  Visit Esri Maps for Public Policy to explore curated content, training, best practices, and datasets that can provide a baseline for your research, analysis, and policy recommendations.

At  this site, you can build your own collection of interactive web maps, focused on the topics and the area of your interest.  The default set at this time includes 11 maps, ranging from unemployment, daytime population, social vulnerability index, working seniors, the uninsured, travel restrictions, and COVID-19 cases. You can save and share the default set or your own set.  My colleague, for example, created this collection of 5 maps about youth in the Los Angeles area in this interactive set, shown below.

Policy map example set.

Example set of policy maps.

Another way of accessing policy-related maps from the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is in this collection.   

Let's say you were a faculty member or student 20 years ago.  You could do some of this work if you knew where to look for the data, how to process it, how to map it, how to analyze it, and how to share it.   And, if you had time to work through all of these steps. With the advent of ArcGIS as a platform, so many more possibilities emerge, of which, PolicyMaps is one powerful example:   Allowing mapping and analysis to be much more rapidly done with a wide variety of data, in one place. 


The "Explore" tab allows the user to browse through categories such as transportation, environment, and other themes, with an intuitive interface based on ArcGIS Online.  The "Issues" tab allows for deeper dives into many of the central topics of concern in our times, such as affordable housing, race inequity, and opioid addiction.  The resources under each issue include a variety of mapped content, including feature layers, web maps, story maps, tabular data, dashboards, and ArcGIS Hubs.

The "Resources" tab helps you learn how to build maps, how to add your map collections to a story map, and how to embed your maps in web pages.   Two of my favorite resources are this video highlighting 10 tips for creating effective policy story maps, and this Learn Path that walks you through an introduction to policy mapping with 7 readings and activities

Why should you consider using policy maps as an educational resource?  First, students using these maps gain skills in using a web GIS system, in this case, the ArcGIS platform, as they create collections, change classification methods, symbology, analyze different variables, and save and share their results.  Second, as they change variables, issues, and scales, they are gaining skills in spatial thinking, considering spatial and temporal patterns, relationships, and trends.  Third, the maps are well documented with metadata, and examining the data encourages your students to adopt sound metadata practices in their own work.   Fourth, policy maps can make an abstract or confusing issue easier to understand by putting it in the context of places that students know, and thus can relate it to their own experiences.

Another advantage of using policy maps is that they begin with a workable small sample of maps, out of the thousands of layers that exist in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.  Policy maps also can help students understand at least part of a complex issue with just one map.  For example, COVID-19 data can be accessed via a large number of maps, dashboards, and infographics, as people have been doing for several months now, by the millions.  But this policy map distills the data from the live feeds into 5 categories from emergent to end stage.  More data is not always better. 

However, if and when your students do need to access additional variables and map layers, these resources are at their fingertips in ArcGIS Online, other data portals, and the Living Atlas of the World.  Students can also gather their own data, via spreadsheets, field surveys, and other means. 

Beyond fostering skills in spatial thinking and geotechnologies, engaging with these maps encourages students to do their own research--a central aim of education.  The research is not limited to the data on the maps, of course, but the maps help spark the initial curiosity.  Students will also see examples of presenting the results of research via story maps, other web mapping applications, and videos, and use those resources as guidance as they prepare to give their own written or oral presentations. 

Engaging with these maps also fosters ties to the geographic inquiry process, where your students ask a geographic question, gather data, analyze that data, communicate the results of the analysis, and act on what is learned.  Many of these policy maps illustrate, in my view, where an opportunity exists to take action.  Thus, using them empowers your students to tackle issues they care deeply about.  Is it litter, pedestrian-friendliness, invasive species, water quality, economic inequality, or something else?  

I encourage you to explore these policy maps, and I look forward to reading your comments below.

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Esri Regular Contributor

Meeting Recording: Returning to Campus Safely: Plan, Prepare, & Respond to COVID-19 with GIS, recording access password is 7t&w?4J*

Resources page: Returning to Campus Safely

Education Colleagues:


We’ve seen many inquiries for advice on leveraging GIS technology to reopen campus. Given the needs of the community, we are organizing a community web meeting on the topic, see details below.


We look forward to seeing you there. The community meeting will be recorded and posted on GeoNet.





Returning to Campus Safely: Plan, Prepare, & Respond to COVID-19 with GIS



6/23/2020 – 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST


How do we maintain safe social distances across campus? How do we track high-traffic area sanitation requirements? How can staff report their daily health status? These are just a handful of the questions that campus administrators are asking as they look to bring students and staff back to campuses this fall. At the heart of these questions is the need to open and operate safely.


To solve these challenges, spatial data and tools play a key role.


This web meeting will explore a range of solutions, some of which you can do with technology provided as part of your Institution Agreement (i.e. site license), some of which may require additional technology, such as ArcGIS Indoors and Tracker for ArcGIS. 



Campus IT, GIS administrative staff, facilities staff




Allowing time for Q&A/discussion

Meeting Recording: Returning to Campus Safely: Plan, Prepare, & Respond to COVID-19 with GIS, recording access password is 7t&w?4J*

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Join me in an online Teaching Geography in the 21st Century course through eNetLearning. 


As the COVID-19 situation makes sadly and abundantly clear, geography is more relevant now than ever before.  Furthermore, the maps and dashboards that you and millions of others have been looking at were created using powerful web based mapping tools.  You have access to these same tools as an instructor, and so do your students! 


Coffee cup and globe How should modern geography be taught?  What approaches, tools, readings, activities, and data should be used to foster engagement with the geographic inquiry process?    This course will include discussion, videos, readings, short assessments, and hands-on activities with interactive 2D and 3D maps, infographics, field surveys, storymaps, and more.   The course is 5 weeks in duration, asynchronous, offering 3 hours per week of immersion, and is aimed at primary and secondary educators who will ultimately use these techniques, tools, maps, and perspectives with their students, though the course is open to anyone.  will take you to the registration form. 

Course Outcomes:  By the end of this course, participants will be equipped to:


1)      Identify, describe, and discuss the urban, economic, environmental, land use, natural hazards, health, and population issues foundational to geography at different geographical and temporal scales.

2)      Apply geographic principles to effectively teach geography with the geographic perspective.

3)      Understand how to incorporate geospatial technologies, including dynamic web maps, charts, and data, to teach geography.

A few of the maps and investigations covered in this course.

A few of the maps and investigations (left, human impact on the planet, and right, natural hazards of all kinds) that we will cover in this course. 

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Esri Frequent Contributor

We have heard from colleagues in higher education involved with teaching and conducting research with GIS that there is an ongoing need to keep our community connected during these times of rapid change in education and technology.   Join your colleagues in higher education and the Esri education team to learn about tools, data, curricular materials, and teaching approaches during these informal brown bag chats.  Each chat will feature a short presentation about a GIS resource followed by plenty of time to ask for more information of the speaker and to chat with the community.  Each session will be recorded so you can watch it asynchronously if you wish.  Keep checking this blog to view the recordings as they will be uploaded after each brown bag session. 


GIS Education Chat Schedule and Recordings


Occurrence: First Tuesday of every month at 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Duration:  45 minutes including Q&A.


Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Topic:  Teaching with and using the QuickCapture App.  

  • Topic lead: Ismael Chivite
  • Note: Download the QuickCapture app from the iPhone AppStore or Google Play Store before the brown bag, if you would like to follow along the demo.
  • Link to recording and use the password: 1t?p5fbh
  • Quick Capture learning resources


Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Topic:  Teaching with and using the Experience Builder to create customized web mapping applications


Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Topic:  Linking Survey123, web maps, story maps, and dashboards for effective data collection, analysis, and communication. 


Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Topic: ArcGIS Story Maps Best Practices in Higher Education: Q&A with the Experts

  • Topic lead: ArcGIS StoryMaps Product Team


Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PDT)

Topic: Turning Data into Meaningful Information: A Lesson From ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World Team


Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 9 AM (PT)

Topic: ArcGIS Hub for Data Sharing, Student Projects, and Community Engagement


Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 | 12 NOON (ET), 11 AM (CST), 10 AM (MDT), 9 AM (PDT) 

Topic: Location Location Location:  Teaching Business Concepts and Skills with Business Analyst Web

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