Geography Awareness Week 2009

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With GIS, students investigate real issues that are critical to the world�on a daily basis. It is difficult to think of a topic that is as critical as climate. Climate underpins our agriculture, biodiversity, and our very civilization. The lessons and data for studying climate change with GIS are divided into four groups, based on the GIS used.

Web Mapping
Web Mapping
simple, any computer, no software install, free GIS in a web browser
ArcExplorer (AEJEE)
ArcExplorer (AEJEE)
a free, Mac or Windows application for exploring geographic data
GIS
ArcGIS Explorer
a free digital globe that runs on Windows PCs
GIS
ArcGIS Desktop
the professional GIS for Windows PCs



Web Mapping

Webmapping is for Everyone!
Making a thematic map allowing you to explore variables at different scales is only a few clicks away.
Mapping For Everyone!

Using a web browser, make customized maps of the USA, your state, and your community of median age, median income, ethnicity, population change, and more.


Exploring Weather Hazards in the USA

Use the National Atlas web-GIS to quickly map different hazard events by county, including lightning, fog, hail, tornadoes, wildfires, and more. How many of the hazards listed are weather-related? How many are influenced by climate change?

Exploring Weather Hazards in the USA
Map of lightning events by county in the USA from the National Atlas. Does the widespread prevalence of lightning surprise you?

Investigating Average Annual Precipitation in the USA
Map of average annual precipitation the National Atlas. How would you describe the pattern of precipitation, and what factors influence this pattern?
Investigating Average Annual Precipitation in the USA

Use the National Atlas web-GIS to analyze the range and pattern of precipitation across the USA.


Discover Careers Through Map Museum

In this activity, youth or adults explore a GIS application and maps website to explore how and why GIS is used in earth science and in other fields. Goals: (1) Understand why and how GIS is used in everyday decision-making. (2) Understand that GIS extends into careers far beyond geography, into Earth Science and more. (3) Learn about the variety of scales, topics, and careers in which GIS is used.

Discover Careers in Earth Science Through Map Museum
Analyzing applications of GIS in Earth Science careers such as geology, climatology, energy, and others using the ESRI Map Museum.

Message in a Bottle: Exploring Ocean Currents
The journey of a particle tracked for a year from its start in the tropics of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Message in a Bottle: Exploring Ocean Currents

Use the Esri Resources pages to teach spatial analysis without any software required except a web browser, thanks to ArcGIS Server technology running behind the scenes. The Message in a Bottle tool uses a particle-tracking model to show where a bottle would travel after a specified number of days if dropped in the ocean and therefore serves as an excellent teaching tool about ocean currents.





AEJEE

Analyzing 150 Years of Hurricanes with GIS

Are hurricanes more common now than in the past? This lesson invites exploration of the past 150 years of North Atlantic hurricanes online using the National Atlas. It will also guide you through downloading the hurricane data and conducting deeper investigations using ArcExplorer�Java Edition for Education GIS software.

Analyzing 150 Years of Hurricanes with GIS
Analyzing 150 Years of hurricanes using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS software.

Analyzing Current Hurricanes with GIS
The path of Hurricane Gustav as modeled in ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS software.
Analyzing Current Hurricanes with GIS

Use the easy-to-use but powerful ArcExplorer�Java Edition for Education GIS software together with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to investigate the latest hurricanes. The map created from this lesson shows Hurricane Gustav bearing down on the Louisiana coast; the lesson includes using data from August 2008 while considering population density by county.


Carbon Footprint

In this activity, students use GIS to explore the concept of carbon footprint and the its relationship to the population and size of different countries. It is part of the Environment series of activities. Both the AEJEE and ArcMap versions are included in the zip file below.

Carbon Footprint
Created and hosted by the James Madison University National Center for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education Outreach Program

Energy
Created and hosted by the James Madison University National Center for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education Outreach Program
Energy

In this activity, students use GIS to explore the production and consumption of energy by countries around the world. By comparing energy use of different types, students explore energy sustainability. Both the AEJEE and ArcMap versions are included in the zip file below.


Disasters

In this activity, students use GIS to explore the impact of natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. on their local area. They also explore which health care facilities are important in the case of disaster. Both the AEJEE and ArcMap versions are included in the zip file below.

Disasters
Created and hosted by the James Madison University National Center for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education Outreach Program

Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS
Examining land use from a Landsat satellite image of Washington, DC, using ArcExplorer�Java Edition for Education software.
Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS

Use the no cost, easy-to-use, powerful ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education software to examine issues, from local to global scale. For example, lesson 4 in the ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education tutorial invites you to examine land use in Washington, D.C., while lesson 5 invites you to investigate the relationship of climate to landforms in the United States.


Bird's-Eye View-Using Satellite Imagery, GIS, and Remote Sensing to Study the United States

Investigate complex, relevant issues such as urban sprawl in Las Vegas, vegetation change in the Great Lakes, mining in Montana and Colorado, and earthquakes in California in this series of lessons that incorporates satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and GIS to make sense of the history and geography of the United States. The CD and lessons use AEJEE and are available from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).

Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS
The CD containing the lessons, software, and data for the Birds Eye View project, targeted for students aged 10-12 but adaptable for older students.




ArcGIS Explorer

Comparing Mount Saint Helens Before and After the 1980 Eruption
Digital elevation models of Mount Saint Helens, Washington, before and after the May 1980 eruption, as shown in ArcGIS 3D Analyst GIS software.
Comparing Mount Saint Helens Before and After the 1980 Eruption

What affect do volcanoes have on climate change? One of the most famous volcanoes in the Americas is Mount Saint Helens, in the state of Washington in the United States. Examine Mount Saint Helens before and after the 1980 eruption in three dimensions by using ArcGIS 3D Analyst software to create surfaces, determine what landscape is visible from a given point, and calculate the volume of material blown sky-high in the eruption.


Teaching about Watersheds with Online and 3D GIS

Without watersheds, what would happen the next time you turn on the faucet? Because they are a 3D concept, perhaps the best way to understand watersheds is by using 3D tools. ArcGIS Explorer is ESRI's no-cost, easy-to-use 3D virtual globe. Download watersheds and river data from the National Atlas for a quick but powerful way of analyzing watersheds in your area.

Teaching about Watersheds with Online and 3D GIS
Watershed boundaries, rivers, and lakes in the Colorado Front Range, looking west from the Great Plains, using National Atlas data mapped with ArcGIS Explorer.

Climate Change Investigations with GIS
Mapping sea level temperatures throughout the year using NASA NEO data in ArcGIS Explorer.
Using Sea Surface Temp to Explore Climate Change

Use sea surface temperature data from NASA Earth Observations (.kmz files) to explore monthly temperature and anomalies. The lesson provides basic guidance about process, rather than strict step-by-step instruction.


Mapping Two Regional Businesses

Use ArcGIS Explorer to map the spatial pattern of two expanding regional restaurant chains: Culver�s and Jason�s Deli. Can you determine the headquarters of these two businesses based on the pattern of their restaurants? What spatial factors are important in locating restaurants?

Mapping Two Regional Businesses
Map the distribution of two restaurant chains in ArcGIS Explorer.

Mapping Businesses in Your Local Community
Map businesses in your community to examine patterns�in this case, bail bond services and car washes in Oklahoma City.
Mapping Businesses in Your Local Community

Mapping local and regional businesses is easy in ArcGIS Explorer, yet can foster deep spatial inquiry. Here, analyze the difference between bail bond services and car washes in a medium-sized metropolitan area. What other data could you map and analyze?


Corny Geography: Exploring Corn Mazes with GIS

Exploring corn mazes, in person or virtually with a GIS, is an inherently geographic activity. Map the distribution of corn mazes in the USA with this simple but engaging activity. Data layers include 429 corn maze location as well as corn acreage by county from the US Agricultural Census.

Corny Geography:  Exploring Corn Mazes with GIS
Map corn mazes with this lesson and compare them to the corn belt, population centers, and more.




ArcGIS Desktop

Mapping the Greenest Universities
Map showing the greenness of 135 universities in the Sierra Club's study.
Mapping the Greenest Universities

Map and analyze the Sierra Club's 2009 ""cool schools" ranking colleges and universities judged to be doing the most to help the planet. The judging criteria included efficiency, energy, food usage, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste, and administration. More and more college applicants say that a university�s environmental stewardship could influence their decision to enroll there. The spatial thinker always wants to map things to determine if a pattern exists, so we built a geodatabase to analyze the 135 universities included in the study. 19 out of the 20 greenest universities have an ESRI GIS site license and offer a GIS program of study.


Investigating Temperature Extremes in the USA

Have you ever read the high and low daily temperature extremes in the newspaper? In this activity, you will map and investigate temperature extremes in the USA for the month of January 2009. You will use GIS for your primary investigative tool and begin with 30 questions. What is the effect of ocean proximity, latitude, and altitude on daily extreme high and low temperatures?

Investigating Temperature Extremes in the USA
One month of high and low temperatures for the continental USA as mapped in this lesson, displayed on an elevation map.

Investigating Sea Level Rise and Much More Using Our World GIS Education
Modeled in ArcGIS softwarea, study the coastline in the event of a 50-meter sea level rise.
Investigating Sea Level Rise and Much More Using Our World GIS Education

How do issues such as trade, energy, water resources, and climate change affect the world? Use powerful GIS software with spatial data and lessons from the Our World GIS Education series of four books from ESRI Press to find out. The image to the right, produced during one of these investigations, shows the part of the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts as they would appear in the event of a 50-meter sea level rise.


Water Use Analysis with GIS

Learn what the largest uses of water are in the USA, where they occur, and why they occur there, in this in-depth analysis that takes advantage of GIS and spatial analysis techniques. If you have never tried regression, hot spot, or scatterplot analysis before, here is an excellent opportunity to step into the world of spatial analysis on a relevant topic that is tied to climate.

Water Use Analysis with GIS
Water use maps, scatterplots, and graphs that you will use in this lesson on analyzing water use in the USA.

Selecting Wind Farm Sites in Colorado Using GIS
One of the maps that you will create in siting the best location for a wind farm in Colorado.
Selecting Wind Farm Sites in Colorado Using GIS

Determine the best locations to site a wind energy farm in Colorado in this 50-question activity. You will use GIS as your primary investigative tool and use spatial analysis techniques to consider the best site. You will consider highways, cities, elevation, wind speed, federal lands, and other data in your analysis.


Golf Courses in the USA: A Spatial Analysis

Analyze the spatial distribution of golf courses in the USA with this lesson. What patterns did you expect? What patterns are unexpected? Use GIS to foster class discussions about golf courses, which can take the form of debates about their pros and cons, water resources, land use, permeable surfaces, wildlife habitat, tourism impacts, distances and angles, and much more.

Golf Courses in the USA:  A Spatial Analysis
Analyze the distribution of golf courses with this lesson. Why are they located where they are? What are the pros and cons of golf courses?

Examining the 10 Most Populous Cities in the World
Map showing how the weighted mean center of the world�s 10 most populous cities has moved over the past 2000 years.
Examining the 10 Most Populous Cities in the World

Use spatial statistics and GIS to investigate the 10 most populous cities and how they have changed over the past 2000 years. You will pay special attention to the weighted mean centers of population over time and the directional distributions during your investigation.


A Century of Population Change: 1900-2000

This 67-question lesson invites investigation of the spatial patterns of the population from 1900 to 2000 using Geographic Information Systems as the investigative tool. Students and researchers will use maps, databases, graphs, and layouts along with a series of detailed spatial data and analyses. (1) What is the spatial pattern of population by county and city in the USA? What are the historical and modern-day reasons for these spatial patterns? (2) From 1900 to 2000, the USA Population increased from 76 million to 281 million, or by 269%. Did every county within the US increase at the same rate? Why or why not? What factors account for the variation? (3) How did specific age categories and ethnicities change from 1990 to 2000? Why?

A Century of Population Change:  1900-2000
Map showing which counties lost population during the Dust Bowl (top) and how 3 counties changed in population from 1980 to 2000 (bottom).




Others

Geocaching: Learning About the Earth
Searching for a geocache, answering the questions, and uncovering the clues.
Geocaching: Learning About the Earth

Get outside! Set up and run your own high-tech treasure hunt by going geocaching with GPS receivers to explore the flora, fauna, people, and history of your own area. The course includes questions that are based on virtual caches�objects already on the ground, such as flagpoles, rocks, benches, trees, and irrigation pipes. This course was established for Earth Day in Colorado, but can be adapted for other themes and areas.





Further Investigations Integrating GIS and Geography

      GIS For Climate Change [PDF]
    A selection of best practices by some of the top researchers and practitioners in climatology and GIScience including mapping the Ayles Ice Shelf break, assessing carbon and biomass in forests, conserving Bolivia�s critical resources, NCAR climate models, and more.
      Essays on Geography and GIS [PDF]
    Learn about mapmaking and GIS tools that you can use to learn more about Geography.
      Geography.com
    A selection of best practices by some of the top researchers and practitioners in Geography and GIS, with topics including GIS for history, exploration in the age of digital Earth, Bring Back Geography, the Human Network, and more.
      Essays on Geography and GIS, Volume 2 [PDF]
    More best practices in Geography and GIS, with topics including grand challenges with GIScience, human rights, geographic literacy, sustainable development in Africa, mental health, and more.
      GeoMentor
    Connect with GIS professionals in your community or in your area of interest.
      GIS Educator: Examples of the Use of GIS in Education from Around the World
    Learn what educators and students are doing with GIS across the planet to apply spatial thinking and analysis to issues and concepts in climate, biodiversity, natural hazards, population, and more.