Monday, October 31, 2011

It keeps on coming!

Left image: Bridge over the Derwent River, Hobart, Tasmania.
Right image: Perth across the Swan River, Western Australia.

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

It keeps on coming! Platforms, data and curriculum materials for using GIS in the classroom

Increasingly GIS platforms, data and curriculum materials are becoming available to support the use of GIS in the classroom. Some of the following are free on the Internet or available from Geography Teachers’ Associations in Australia for very reasonable prices to support teachers in introducing practical applications of GIS in the classroom. Add recent Spatialworlds postings on Spatial Genie and Arc GIS-online, it is becoming obvious that it is not due to lack or cost of software, data or teaching materials why GIS is not used widely in our schools. As resources and platforms keep coming available for teachers, it seems that the only thing holding back universal implementation of GIS classrooms across Australia is the need for professional learning to build teacher capacity to use this amazing software. This will be the task for us over coming years I am sure.

* Quantum GIS (QGIS)

I have been increasingly hearing about this free GIS platform - it is worth a look for thsoe interested in looking around for a free GIS software option to meet their needs. Quantum GIS (QGIS) is a powerful and user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) that runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows. QGIS supports vector, raster, and database formats. QGIS is licensed under the GNU Public License.
The current version of QGIS 1.7.1 was released on 29 September 2011 and is available on Windows, MacOS X and Linux. Quantum GIS is open source software. For testing and learning purpose, a sample dataset is provided which contains collections of data from different sources and in different formats.

* Madmappers

Madmappers is a South African site that allows GIS users of ESRI or QGIS to download topographic sheets in MrSid (multiresolution seamless image database) format. For ArcView 3.x users you can set your extensions in properties to read MrSid format. The benefit of this format is that you could attach a number of topographic sheets seamlessly and make up a map that covers areas in different graticules. You can print a topographic map with a 1:50 000 scale with grid lines and grid squares. Maps could be printed on A4 or A3 paper. If you print them on A3 paper you can add other images along with the map e.g. street view images from Google that show features on the map as well as the conventional symbols. The map can be exported in jpeg format and inserted into PowerPoint presentations.
QGIS users can add a plugin to read MrSid maps. The benefit is that these maps are available free on the net.

* GTASA’s “Taking GIS to the classroom resource”

The Geography Teachers Association of South Australia (GTASA) has recently launched a new resource to work with GIS in the classroom. The book is called "Taking GIS to the classroom", written by Ross Johnson, and is available from the GTASA ($35 for members and $85 for non-members). The resource is ideal for teacher and student use as an attractive and easy to use reference resource to learn about geographic information systems!! Data and learning videos are supplied on a CD with the book! Topics covered in the book include: GIS terms and tools, creating a map of your local area, creating your own geographic areas, thematic maps, creating buffers, using GIS to analyse, data use and dot density maps. Contact the CEASA office to purchase a copy.

* AGTA’s “21st Century Geography” GIS resource
The 21st Century DVD contains outstanding collection of teaching resources, including spatial technologies/GIS units. The DVD contains articles and resources on 21st century Geography and the following books on using GIS in the classroom:
* GIS skills development course
* Using GIS in Physical Geography
* Historical GIS
These books come with course process and activities chapters supported by free GIS data. To order a copy for $95 just go to the AGTA site.

* GTASA’s “GIS in the Field” book

This resource was designed to provide practical classroom application of GIS. Although the book is written for ESRI ArcView 3, the processes, data and activities can be translated to other software programs and has been a very important product in Australia for the meaningful and achievable use of GIS in the classroom.
Content of the “GIS in the Field” book includes
• Introduction to using GIS in the classroom.
• The basics of ESRI ArcView GIS.
• Getting started with ArcView GIS: Thematic mapping.
• Skate park location.
• Pest plant location.
• Bushfire application.
• Real Estate application.
• Streetscape application.
• Wasp nest application.
• Environmental management: revegetation.
Contact the CEASA office at to purchase a copy of this resource.

Not GIS but something of interest to those wanting students to understand and analyse data visualisations. TinkerPlots software is designed to get students in grades 4-8 excited about what they can learn from data. Students can analyze data by creating colourful visual representations that will help them make sense out of real data and recognize patterns as they unfold. TinkerPlots can be previewed for a 20 minute sessions with print, save, copy, and paste disabled. You will need to purchase a license to unlock the full feature set!

* Great population personalisation and visualisations from the BBC
The world's population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Where do you fit into this story of human life? Fill in your date of birth below to find out.

* Nothing to do with GIS but … A video showing the debris from the Japan tsunami heading to Hawaii – amazing ocean currents

* Dam blown up to allow river to flow naturally again. Brilliant time lapse and has links to prior videos for this river.

* Historical Geograp - Everest not highest mountain!!!! ...and Sea-view Hill at 6,500’ was the highest point in Australia. Some great old Victorian visualisations to look at.

* Earth observation site from NASA: Global Maps
NASA satellites give us a global view of what’s happening on our planet. Earth’s climate system change from month to month, click on the maps on the site.

* Browse the fantastic images from the NASA Earth Observatory site

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