Mapping and Analyzing data from the GLOBE program in ArcGIS Online

12-22-2017 06:00 AM
Esri Frequent Contributor
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The Esri education outreach team and GLOBE have been working together for over 20 years.   It makes sense given the commitment that both organizations have for meaningful educational experiences, including the collection and analysis of field data.  I recently conducted a webinar for GLOBE educators--my presentation is here and the video is here.  In each, I focused on key ways that GLOBE data can be easily imported, mapped, and analyzed in ArcGIS Online, including the mapping of spreadsheets of student-collected data about weather, water, soils, and other phenomena downloaded from the GLOBE website. The latitude-longitude values along with the attributes are almost instantaneously able to be displayed on maps in ArcGIS Online.  I also discussed field apps such as Survey123, which can be used by GLOBE students and their instructors to gather data in the field in a survey form in citizen science mode, the results of which are instantly available on a web map. 

Once mapped, the data can be analyzed in many ways.  For example, statistically significant hot spots can be derived for specific variables describing soil chemistry in a field near a school campus, a surface can be derived from pH or dissolved oxygen from specific points in a river or lake, or a 3D map can be generated of snow depth over a region.  In another example, layers from the Living Atlas of the World such as land cover or average date of first frost can be brought into the map for comparison against the field-gathered data.  How does the dew point or date of first frost vary by latitude, altitude, or proximity to coasts?  Do north-facing vs. south-facing slopes differ in terms of vegetation height or soil moisture?

The data that students have gathered can be compared in map and table form to data gathered by other students halfway around the world.  Students can create multimedia web mapping applications such as story maps to present their data to their peers, teachers, or the community. 

More capabilities exist, but it is my hope that the presentation and video resource I am sharing here will inspire GLOBE teachers and others to get into the field, gather data, map it, analyze it, and communicate the results.

Mapping and analyzing GLOBE data

Mapping and analyzing GLOBE data. 

About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.