Where can I find geospatial data? How do I know if that data is any good? How can I teach about societal issues around data?

2 weeks ago
Esri Frequent Contributor
4 1 1,805

Where can I find geospatial data? How do I know if that data is any good? How can I teach about societal issues around data?  In this truly "big data" GIS world in which we live, work, and teach, these topics are more important than ever.  Who created the data that I have ready access to?  Can I trust it?  What data can and should I share? 

This new presentation and accompanying videos addresses each of these data-focused themes, offering fresh and practical ways to find, assess, and teach about data and society within GIS and other courses.  The societal issues include copyright and permissions, data quality, map accuracy, location privacy, ethics, and more.  Teaching about data can and should evolve as GIS has evolved, and far from a dry, boring topic, can be taught in a compelling way with interactive examples and vibrant discussions! 

The purpose of these resources are to:

1.  Empower you with skills to find geospatial data for your teaching, research,
or project.
2.  Enable you to be able to make wise decisions about whether your data is
appropriate for your needs.
3.  Provide you with resources to teach societal issues surrounding data, such
as location privacy, data quality, copyright, and ethics.
4.  Connect you to available Esri support and resources so you can keep learning in these important areas.

The presentation is provided as an attachment to this blog essay as a PDF:  56 slides.  The slides begin with an explanation of how data fits into modern web based GIS, characteristics of geospatial data, sources of data, past vs. present approaches to thinking about, teaching about, and gathering data, data skills in demand, data science, strategies for finding geospatial data, a case study of these strategies in action, assessing data quality and why it matters, societal implications, ethics, teaching about data strategies, and the slides end with links to additional learning resources, including the Spatial Reserves data blog that arose from an Esri Press book that Jill Clark and I wrote. 

The videos are online here:

Full video:  48 minutes.

Alternatively, the video is provided in 3 parts:

Part 1: 17 minutes.

Part 2:  14 minutes.

Part 3:  16 minutes.

data_door (1).jpg

Teaching and learning about geospatial data. 

1 Comment
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.