Geospatial Technology Resources

Geospatial technologies in the classroom can be a wonderful tool for learning but they can take a great deal of effort to use effectively. Thankfully, there are a growing number of online resources available to educators who want to put these tools to use in their classrooms. This page will be a one-stop source for links to these resources. Because these technologies are constantly changing, check back often for updates.

Esri Resources – Esri is the world leader in GIS technology. Their education team has produced an array of lessons and activities available to educators and students alike.

  • ConnectED – Esri has joined other private corporations in an education partnership with the White House with the expressed purpose of increasing access to educational technologies. Esri has pledged free access to an ArcGIS Online Education Organization to any public, private, or home-schooling entity; request access through this site.
  • GeoInquiries: Earth Science – “GeoInquiries are designed to be fast and easy-to-use instructional resources that incorporate advanced web mapping technology. Each 15-minute activity in a collection is intended to be presented by the instructor from a single computer/projector classroom arrangement. No installation, fees, or logins are necessary to use these materials and software.
  • Mapping Our World – “Mapping Our World’ was developed to enhance GIS learning for students of all levels, grade school through college, and to provide teachers with comprehensive and easy-to-use resources for GIS instruction in the classroom. Updated teacher and student materials are available at no-cost to download and use in classroom instruction.
  • Thinking Spatially Using ArcGIS – “Thinking Spatially Using GIS‘ was developed to enhance spatial learning for upper elementary students and to provide teachers with comprehensive and easy-to-use resources for GIS instruction in the classroom.
  • ArcLessons – A searchable database of Esri- and user-generated lessons, activities, and guides to geospatial inquiries.
  • EdCommunity – Esri’s education portal. This site links the above items and additional community-wide resources.
  • GeoNet – A community-driven site managed by Esri that allows users to freely exchange ideas, share techniques, and ask questions. Education-specific groups are available. An Esri Global ID can be used to log-in; usernames and passwords used for ArcGIS Online access can be authorized to work within GeoNet.

Data Resources – While the use of GIS in the classroom can employ student- or teacher-generated data, many useful data layers are already available.

  • Arkansas GIS Office: Data – Multiple state-level data layers are available through Arkansas’ State Geographic Information Systems Office. Most layers are available for ArcGIS Online. The Web Map Service or Web Feature Service links for applicable layers should provide links to view the features in an ArcGIS Online map. View the following video for a brief overview of the difference between Web Map Services and Web Feature Services and their use in ArcGIS Online:
  • K12 Educators Organization – An ArcGIS Online organization that has been made public, the K12 Educators Org includes many sample data layers that can be used by anyone with access to ArcGIS Online.
  • TIGERweb (US Census) Web Map REST Service – REST Services allow external data to be used within an ArcGIS Online web map. These services can be added to maps and used with data from other sources.
  • Federal Geospatial Data Gateway – This portal is to available geospatial data from (most) US Government agencies. Much of the data is provided in Esri Shapefile format, which is the native file type for the ArcGIS desktop platform. You can, however, upload a zipped shapefile to ArcGIS Online and load the data as part of a web map. Start with the “I Want To…” menu on the right to select data at different geographic levels across the country.


More to come…



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