Blog posts

This page will be where guest and submitted posts are made. ALL posts can be accessed by clicking on the gasigict header on the blog masthead. Reviews will then be posted on the Twitter recommendations, Website or App Pages as appropriate for easier access.

Also details of links will be posted from the three annual meetings of the ICT SIG.

Guest blog posts are welcomed, please see Contact details in About page.


GIS. Introduction and ideas – Bob Lang

GIS stuff:
GIS has the potential to enhance the learning opportunity so that pupils can progress and achieve and become successful learners. It can stimulate an interest in a complex and dynamically changing world as well as showing how people and their environments interact and are interconnected.
Geographical enquiry is a key way that GIS can be used in the curriculum and will encourage questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives, now and in the future. Fieldwork is an essential element of this. Pupils learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), to obtain, presentand analyse information.

KS3(11-14) relevance
The new Geography National curriculum at Key Stage 3 has a GIS requirement.
The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

• are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
• interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
• use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to view, analyse and interpret places and data
GCSE(14-16) relevance
All the current accredited GCSE geography syllabi make reference to the expected use of GIS, as with the current KS3 curriculum little specific reference is given how to actually use GIS although some of the syllabi do suggest particular use in controlled assessment and fieldwork .
Post 16 Relevance
All the current KS5/post16 geography syllabi make reference to the expected use of GIS, unlike with the GCSE syllabi there is more specific reference to how to actually use GIS although some of the syllabi do suggest particular use in research and fieldwork. It is likely that the new A-Levels to start in 2016 will have an expected use of GIS within them from a practical component and how it’s used in the real world.

Follow the following twitter feeds and blogs for further helpful hints on AGOL:

EsriMAPS Bernszukalski EsriCanada FitzpatrickC GISEd Esrieduc
GIS4Schools Josephkerski RHSB_Geography

Schools using AGOL and tweeting:
WellyTeamGeo Wellington College
Raphael Heath from Royal High School Bath has produced some excellent video clips on how to create ArcGIS Developer is an organisation account tool

Using mobile phone and other devices to use ESRI’s AGOL

Put mapping in the hands of your field workforce and replace paper forms with smartphones and tablets. Use maps anywhere to ground-truth your data, make observations, and respond to events. You’ll improve the efficiency of your field work force and the accuracy of your GIS.

Key Features of the ESRI ArcGIS online collector app are: 
• Download maps to your device and work offline.
• Use GPS to create and update map data.
• Collect points, lines, and area features.
• Fill out easy-to-use map-driven forms.
• Find places and get directions.
• Track and report areas you visited.
First you will need to download the apps. Do this by going to the following website or to your apps provider. It can downloaded for both iPhone and android smartphones.
Download the following apps.
• ArcGIS and
• Collector for ArcGIS App
Click on the Collector for ArcGIS app. You will need to log on to the Collector for ArcGIS app by typing the same log in and password as used earlier.
Once opened a list of maps will appear.
The search for the following map Mobile survey trial
Once opened click on collect a new feature. This will open a dialogue box with data to fill in. After each section type next. When you get to the location either touch the map or check if the map has located correctly via GPS then click done. The data has now uploaded to the map.
There is an excellent instruction sheet that ESRIUK has produced that allows you to create the feature that will use in the mobile app that is available via your organisational account. It uses the developer tool that is only available to organisational accounts.

Snap2map APP
Snap2Map is a slick new app for iOS and Android that will help spread the power available through geotechnology. With it, building a Story Map app is as easy as taking photos on a smartphone or tablet.
Snap2Map relies on a user having an ArcGIS Online Organization login with publishing privileges. After logging in, the user creates a presentation, chooses a basemap, takes photos or chooses existing photos through the device, and annotates them (title and/or description). Snap2Map will use a photo’s location info or allow the user to move it across the street or around the world. Photo sequence also can be adjusted just by dragging with a finger. When complete, Snap2Map sends the points, text, map, and photos into a new feature service in the organization (this is why publishing is a requirement), creates the map, creates the Story Map, and generates a ready-to-go outbound message with the address of the published and shared Story Map.

– See more at:

Useful ESRI based map sites
Urban observatory
Esri Atlas
o Voter atlas
o Energy atlas
o Demographic and statistics
o Save the children
o Global development
o Housing
o Health in America

Esri Storymaps
Recent example of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Data sites
There are many types and sources of data. When looking for data you need to take into account accessibility, who has produced it?, When? For what purpose? Is it complete? Is it in a format that useable?
Below are some good sources of data that you may want to use especially focussing on the UK curriculum: The UK’s Government data site. You can download data such as 2010 English indices of deprivation UK Office of national statistics Census data site. There is a wide range of data that can be downloaded. Data can be downloaded as a csv or xls. The spreadsheets may need a bit of tidying up before being used and remember within AGOL you can only plot up to a 1000 features. Details of how to do this are attached in supplementary documents. Ordnance Survey opendata site including:
• Codepoint open(CSV file of every postcode in UK),
• Meridian 2 data(Shapefile format that includes data on roads, hydrology,etc) Here you can download a data set for a particular site and time and as the data is in xls format you can easily change it to Csv then drag and drop it into your map. For example this could show regional differences in weather. Police crime data site for England & Wales UK Health data

Office of National Statistics UK Census:

Many nature and UK agencies such as the National parks authority or for example IUCN there is a wide range of data sets that can be used. All can be downloaded as an excel file. What is important with these data sets that they tell you all the meta data, the information about the data, which is very important. You may have to tidy up and delete some of the countries in the data set before saving then as a csv when downloaded as an excel file UN human development report data. This data can be downloaded as an excel file. Like with the gapminder data a little tidying up will be needed to be done including changing it to a CSV file. The Guardian Data store is an excellent source of data on a wide range of topics. Some of the data may need to be changed or tweaked before using.

British Geological Survey
has a range of data sets that are available and accessible either as a WMS, Kml layer or as a dataset.

Sources of lesson ideas

ESRI Arclessons:
ArcLessons is a resource for you to share resources for using GIS in educational settings. You can browse a list of resources by category or use the search tools to find resources in your area of interest. You can contribute your resources to ArcLessons for other educators to use.
The resources on ArcLessons have been created by educators for use in a variety of educational settings.

Geographical Association book GIS Made Easy: Geography lessons using GIS

Further opportunities to learn how to use
ESRI ArcGIS Online
Learn ArcGIS
This is a new way to learn about GIS through hands-on exercises and interactive maps. The examples are authentic and use realistic examples developed by some of the world’s experts in GIS.
This is a website for self-study learning about the application of geographic information systems (GIS) through realistic hands-on projects. Come here to explore interactive maps, make your own maps, and learn how to solve geographic problems. Check back often; we’ll be adding new projects on a regular basis
Through Learn ArcGIS, you become part of a worldwide community of mappers sharing content, knowledge, skills, and ideas. When you step into the world of GIS, you step into a global community of geospatial professionals and enthusiasts—a dynamic coalition of people tackling the world’s biggest problems. Welcome to the community!

Royal Geographical Society
Update me: Esri ArcGIS Online for free
‘Update me’ sessions are a series of evening events that focus on skills, pedagogy and educational updates. This session is a demonstration of Esri’s new free online ArcGIS product. Find out more about what this free product can do and hear some ideas for embedding GIS into your teaching at all Key Stages.
Topic: Esri ArcGIS Online for free
Date: Tuesday 11 November 2014
Venue: RGS-IBG, London
Time: 5.00pm-7.00pm. Refreshments will be available.
Format: Lecture style
Costs: Members: (School Members/Fellows/ECT Members/Young Geographers) £35 including VAT, non-members: £45 including VAT
Please note: This course is for teachers only.

Field Studies Council
FSC Preston Monford are running ArcGIS Online training on 28th- 30th November 2014.
ESRI T3G institute, Redlands CA, USA
Sun June 14 – Fri June 19, 2015
T3G is a professional development event for educators and education influencers who help other educators learn why and how to use GIS. Through modeling, practice, and discussion, participants boost their skills in teaching with computers, in problem-based learning, in conducting professional development, and in using GIS. T3G participants should already be comfortable with (a) problem-based learning, (b) teaching with computers, and (c) leading professional development for educators. Anyone not already comfortable using ArcGIS Online will develop those skills during T3G.
Contact the email below to see more information about next year’s event

ESRI Users Conference
Mid to Late July 2015 San Diego
This event is held annually in San Diego, CA, USA and is a massive source of ideas on what GIS is and how it is being used and updates. They have special sub- conferences for things like Education.
This video shows you what it is like:

Contact Jason Sawle at ESRI UK for training opportunities
E: W:
TW: @GIS4Schools
MOOCs Massive open online courses

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent development in distance education which began to emerge in 2012. Because of massive enrollments, MOOCs facilitates two basic approaches to enable large-scale feedback and interaction including Peer-review and group collaboration and automated feedback through objective, online assessments, e.g. quizzes and exams.[27]
Many are free but some may charge or charge for accreditation or signature tracking that means that the course you undertake can be accredited securely.

GIS Examples:
Penn State’s five-week Coursera course Maps and the Geospatial Revolution
next course starts: March 25th 2015- 6th May 2015
Esri’s Going Places with Spatial Analysis MOOC complements the MOOCs offered by Penn State and other educational institutions.
Starts 3rd September 2014
Colorado’s Dept of Education EnetLearning: Teaching Geography in the 21st Century: New Online 5 week course for educators… with STEM connections – earth and environmental science. And use of web mapping tools.
Begins 3 September 2014.
Elmhurst College’s Skills for the Digital Earth: The Use of Location Technologies for All
The course will run again from October 26 to November 22 with registration beginning on September 29 2014



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s