Why use GIS?
- Geoscience data often requires a spatial context for proper interpretation
- Utilization of maps in the classroom can spark student interest and improve understanding of spatial concepts commonly found in the geosciences (see for example, Gutierrez et al. (2002)).
- Modern computer-based GIS presents the ability to develop, analyze, and interpret multiple levels of spatial data, particularly traditional geological field data, in a quantitative way.
- Map creation and quantitative interpretation skills are important for those who intend to pursue geoscience or other scientific careers
- Quantitative and spatial analysis skills developed through the use of GIS in the classroom can also benefit for students as they participate in societal discussions of scientific matters.
- Utilizing GIS within the classroom can be done without high-level hardware/sofware
- Numerous websites and vendors provide free and for-pay GIS data/mapping utilities
- Shareware/freeware GIS software packages are available
- Consumer-grade GPS units provide inexpensive means to collect spatial data during field trips
- Discussion of why GIS should be included in the classroom (PDF file) - part of the USGS Global GIS Curriculum program.
- Gutierrez, M., B. Coulter, D.R. Goodwin, 2002, Natural disasters workshop integrating hands-on activities, internet-based data, and GIS, J. of Geoscience Education, 50(4),p 437-443 (http://serc.carleton.edu/nagt/jge/abstracts/sep02.html#v50p437).
- Examples -- A collection of examples that use GIS tools or illustrate GIS concepts that are designed for use in introductory geoscience classes.
- Online GIS Resources -- A collection of online GIS tools, data sets, and maps for use in class, lab, or exercise.
- Additional resources -- See also the main page of this site for a complete list of the resources catalogued here.