Spring Updates from GISetc

We've compiled the current resources from our website for you in this quarterly broadcast including GeoSpatial News, FREE RESOURCES for teachers and website updates from

Free Resources

  • Innovative lesson plan to connect with your students! We figured out a way to incorporate the viral #snakeonthetown sensation into the classroom to get kids thinking and excited about GIS!
  • 7 Billion Video from National Geographic - There will soon be seven billion people on the planet. By 2045 global population is projected to reach nine billion. Can the planet take the strain? Follow the year-long study on National Geographic and watch their featured video here.
  • GAPMINDER - is a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. They produce videos, flash presentations and PDF charts showing major global development trends with animated statistics in colorful graphics. They are a “fact tank” that promotes a fact based world view.
  • Baby Groupers Adrift! - The Baby Grouper Adrift! project is part of the Grouper Moon Program, a Research collaboration between the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment.
  • Muturzikin - Muturzikin has an interesting collection of maps that outline the indigenous languages and dialects and accents of the English language throughout the United States. These language maps display the ethnic and linguistic complexities. Languages and dialects transcend geographical borders, where appropriate.
  • Mapping a City's Smell - Your city smells. Maybe good, maybe bad, but it definitely has a smell. And the researchers at DARPA — the research and development office at the U.S. Department of Defense — want to create a virtual map of your city’s chemical smells to help recognize a chemical terrorist attack. The idea behind the Chemical Cartography Project, as it’s called, is that chemical terrorist attacks can be detected before they happen. Even the smallest amount of any chemical leaves behind traces that tools like sorpulent tubes could detect.
  • Mapping Organized Crime - The Wired Magazine shared this fascinating map of the flow of organized crime around the globe. Click here for a closer look at the map and to read the accompanying article.
  • Your Location, Your Password - At least one computer scientist thinks there’s a better way to get access to your online accounts. At the New York Institute of Technology Cyber Security Conference, AT&T researcher Bill Cheswick described how users could memorize the exact spot on a satellite photo, with the longitude and latitude serving as the access code. Just clicking on that spot would let you into the website, no text password or question necessary.
  • The Way Our Eyes Read Maps - We recently ran across this fascinating study on how our eyes read maps on the blog for  EYE Magazine. It compares regular octolinearity to new all-curves map models and how our eyes read and decipher information along the lines of a map. An all-curves map smoothes away the awkward kinks, revealing the underlying structure of the network (above). In usability tests, this version is 30 per cent faster for planning than the official current map. Click here for the full article and some beautiful map imagery to illustrate their point.
  • GEO-Greetings - can send any message you choose written in buildings from satellite images. As you type the letters for your message in, the map will show you the global position of the buildings it is using to write your message.
  • The Commission for Environmental Cooperation facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, trade, and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the United States.Click here for an array of GIS maps on topics ranging from anthropogenic biomes to spotted owl habitats that are all ready to download for use in a GIS or PDF reader.
  • Important GIS Data Portals and Resources - from Palomar College in Southern California. Palomar promotes the learning outcomes necessary for their students to contribute as individuals and global citizens to live responsibly, effectively, and creatively in an interdependent and changing world. We hope you are all able to incorporate this information into your classrooms.

GIS Happenings & News

  • Interactive Sattelite Pictures of Japan Before & After the Tsunami - So much data is coming in from the devastation in Japan. The NY Times compiled these interactive satellite photos of Japan, before and after the quake and tsunami. Go to their website to see the many photos and move the sliders to grasp the scope of the annihilation.
  • Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology - IRIS is a consortium of over 100 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data. IRIS programs contribute to scholarly research, education, earthquake hazard mitigation, and verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. It facilitates and conducts geophysical investigations of seismic sources and Earth properties using seismic and other geophysical methods. They promote the exchange of geophysical data and knowledge, through use of standards for network operations, data formats, and exchange protocols, and through pursuing policies of free and unrestricted data access. They also foster cooperation among IRIS members, affiliates, and other organizations in order to advance geophysical research and convey benefits from geophysical progress to all of humanity.
  • Tsunami crisis response site - provides the information regarding the disaster and damage with realtime updates. It compiles information with maps, social media, news and video to create a place where people can get answers and see the scope of the problems there.
  • Watch Frazil Ice Video from Yosemite Park - Summertime visitors to Yosemite National Park miss many of the unique events of winter and early spring. Frazil Ice flows are dramatic natural events that occur in the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley during March and April.
  • - (running in NYC and Boston) built websites as a simple tool that allows neighbors to help neighbors. Got an extra shovel? Post it up there. Know someone that can’t clean their own sidewalk or driveway and could use an extra set of arms to dig out? Organize an impromptu snow shoveling party, snowball fight or sledding party. This site is a superior example of crowdsourcing, GIS and social media working in unison.
  • Egyptian Protests Mapped by Social Media - Use this article as a resource to discuss current events in Egypt with your students and give them a geographic context.
  • Brisbane Flooding - GISetc was at the Australian Geographic Teacher Association (AGTA) in Adelaide during the Brisbane flooding. We were with many teachers from the Brisbane area, and certainly, most teachers who were at AGTA had friends and relatives who lived in Brisbane. It was all very close and heartbreaking to watch the unfolding tale of a wall of water moving over the Australian landscape. This brings back memories of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Grand Forks, North Dakota flood and too many others to name, however, this just seems to feel larger. GISetc tips its hat to the amazing Australians who face adversity with an undaunted spirit.Click here for before & after shots of the damage.

Upcoming Trainings

  • Costa Rica 2011 - GISetc and Holbrook seek teachers of all levels desiring to build their global skills and knowledge of world environments and human geography. Costa Rica hosts a variety of ecosystems and we will highlight lush tropical rainforest, rivers, and abundant marine environments. This 9 day workshop is designed to offer participants an engaging hands-on experience in digital field technologies while working with key community leaders and businesses, resulting in a meaningful service to these communities.Our trainings are designed to take novice through expert instructors on a guided journey of applied Geographic Information Systems skill development. This unique experience allows instructors to gain insight in natural areas of the highest biodiversity to practice skills useable within our practice of teaching. Projects combine the best of electronic probe-ware, GPS, digital photography, and GIS through immersion in international community service learning! In the quest of education to produce globally competitive graduates, no better suited training grounds exist for teaching professionals. Skills are built in the context of world community and environmental development. This opportunity combines it all! The GIS based research in the field will bolster confidence to apply the tools, knowledge and workflow back in your classroom. Participants will work with several local community organizations along with key marine institutions, to effectively support local understanding of water quality as it relates to marine and terrestrial ecosystem sustainability. All instruction, necessary equipment, and supporting data will be provided. Email us for more information!
  • View our NEW EVENTS CALENDAR for links to all of our upcoming workshops, conventions and field trainings. We hope to connect with you!

Our Amazing Planet

Featured Resource:  Our Amazing Planet explores the wonder and beauty of Earth through news, features and images. Their team of experienced science reporters and editors explain the latest discoveries, interview expert sources and offers up deep and broad analysis of what’s out there and explains how the world works.

They also feature articles about scientific exploration and adventures (plus lots of imagery) so you can explore the planet, from top to bottom, from the sky to mountains to the depths of the oceans, every day.

When we turned to their site after the tsunami, we were arrested by this stunning wave map and their article about the phenomenon and how it affected our planet.

FedEx: Delivering Information to Our Changing World

Featured Resource: Want to blow your mind?  Experience this INTERACTIVE cartography map.  It changes the shape and size of countries in response to the data sets you select. There are 21 data categories and each category has three different data sets within it. You can watch the map morph and explore a range of topics from population, education, research, even the couch potato index!

The FedEx 3D Experience is a good way to see country by country comparisons of interesting data sets. Categories of data, like "household appliances," are more relatable to students than the GDP/GNP often found in similair data sets.

GPS Loaner Program

Free for Teachers: GISetc and Geological Society of America Education have joined together to offer the GPS Loaner Program.  Class sets of Garmin eTrex GPS units are available for a two week loan to educators who would like to introduce GPS technology to their students, but who are not in a position to invest in units.  Schools who are interested would need to pay for shipping to and from their school, a small administrative fee and sign an agreement to return the units in a timely manner. Email us for more information.

20 Minute GIS

Ready to Implement Curriculum:
Because Classroom Teachers…

• Want to add geospatial elements to their
• May have only one computer in the classroom.
• Have very little time in computer lab.
• Need to augment key concepts.
• Have minimal technology skills.
• Have minimal GIS skills.
• Are not permitted to use Google Earth, but want a
virtual globe experience for students.
• Have just 20 minutes to explore new technology.

New SWAG Shop!

More products, more fun: We're hosting our own SWAG shop and have fille it with fun and whimsical items for the GIS enthusiast! We have products in the following themes: And here are just a few of the products we've launched: We also sell SWAG in bulk for teachers to use with students! Check back regularly, we'll be expanding our SWAG selection year-round!
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