Friday, June 22, 2012

Easy Spatial Technologies in the Geography Classroom

Below are some examples of great spatial technology sites that can be used in the Geography classroom. They use the basic skills and tools of a GIS program, but are available free and online. There is now no reason to blame cost of a program as a blocker to using spatial technologies in the classroom. Most data is frequently updated as well, which makes life even easier.

A site created by UK to provide an overview and some great activities on GIS. Great as an introduction to GIS, as well as how spatial information can be used to make decisions.

The Carbon Map
This is an interesting site as it uses the idea of the cartogram to look at the impact of climate change. What is even more interesting is that the site has a voice over to explain the maps as they appear. A good one to look at in the classroom. You could possibly look at using a program such as Jing so that your students could make their own explanations.

GeoScience Australia Map Connect
An online GIS tool that provides 250K topographic map layers for Australia. You can zoom in and add, take of and create your own information. 

A simple map, with a mixture of data visualisation, showing arrivals and departures for any country in the world. Data is based on the Global Migrant Origin Database.

Map of Life
This is a new site that is currently only in demo release. It allows you to map and produce list of species anywhere for ~ 25,000 species (including all described birds, mammals and amphibians). As it is only in demo release, they are still ironing out bugs, but a great site to use and play with. 

Atlas of Living Australia 
A site that provides information and huge amounts of data on Australia's plant and animal species. Go to the 'Mapping and Analysis' section for a Google Maps based online tool. 

Protected Planet
Another example of spatial technologies and Web2.0 collaboration on the same site. It is quite simple as it provides detail on protected areas. It includes images and inforamtion, mostly added by professionals and people who live in these areas. 

Scribble Maps
Allows you to simply 'scribble' on your own map. 

Spatial Genie - This site has been created by ESA. It provides a wonderful variety of GIS and spatial resources for the classroom. You will need to register to log in. Have a look as there will be links to the Australian Curriculum.

Creating and Using Google Maps in the Classroom

Map Explorer
A new site created by National Geographic that allows anybody in the world to find evidence of archaeological sites using satellite imagery on Google Earth. I love this site as it is a mixture between Web2.0, crowdsourcing, and spatial technologies. 

Google World Wonders Project
A great new project by Google. It uses Google Earth and Street View to allow users to explore wonders of the world. 

I have included this video as it shows you how someone has created a whole keynote presentation on a geographical issue using Google Earth. I look at this and consider the work that our students could do in delivering something similar to this.

Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers

Great Resources to Get Started

Contour Education has a great links page but also a YouTube channel - Google Maps for Educators - with a variety of videos that will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create and edit your own google map.

Google Maps for Educators: An Overview

 Google Maps for Educators: Creating a Map 

Follow me on Twitter - @geographynerd - or like the GTAQ Facebook page for updates on great links for Geography teachers.