USING GIS IN THE CLASSROOM
Science application is
Findon High School, Adelaide
GIS: The tool for Spatial Literacy
GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. Basically it involves the use of computers
to enter information and to produce maps to solve a problem. The problem can be as
complex as “where are all the Crows supporters in Adelaide” and as simple as mapping
the location of street lights in Adelaide. A core understanding of GIS is that geo-
referenced data is used to develop spatial representations as a map and then data is
attached to points, lines or areas on that map. In turn such spatial representations and
associated data can then be used to solve spatial problems in the landscape.
Demo 0: Adelaide fly through
Demo 1: A world map
Geographic Information Systems
Describing Our World
We can describe any
element of our world
in two ways:
Location Information: What is it?
Where is it?
Age: 75 Yrs
GIS - Links Data Sets
GIS software links the
location data and the
GIS - Analysis
GIS software can answer Attribute Questions:
questions about our world: What provinces have more
than 1.5 million people?
What provinces border
GIS - Layers
GIS contains many layers of information:
These are just a few of
the kinds of layers a
GIS can contain:
Base Map Data
GIS - Analysis
GIS can analyze
data in many ways:
GIS borrows from
Relational Database Relational CAD
Design and Graphics
Statistical Analysis and
Reporting Packages Analysis
GIS IS USED EVERYWHERE!
GIS skills are in demand in the public and private employment sectors.
The following information from the Executive Summary of the “Spatial Information
Industry Action Agenda”, 2001” give an indication of the magnitude of the Spatial
* The global expenditure on spatial information is in the order of $34 billion a year
and growing at a rate of 20%.
* The Australian spatial information industry has a turnover in excess of $1 billion.
* It is estimated that by 2005 the spatial industry in Australia will grow to be worth
* The surveying services part of the Industry is growing at 11% a year and the “new
economy” part is growing at 40% a year.
* The Industry has had to recruit skilled labour from overseas to meet the needs of
the spatial industry in Australia.
* The employment growth rate in the spatial industry, excluding surveying, is at
almost 45% per year.
* The Industry in Australia is likely to become increasingly global in future years.
The industry will reflect the trend toward globalisation.
Land cover and temperature relationships are
made clear when the data are seen at once
Will the new Park Management
Park planners use Geotechnology to
determine if a new Visitor Centre can be seen
from the peak.
How can I Agriculture
Geotechnology is used in
making crop management
decisions to maximize yields
and minimize fertilizer input.
Is it safe to Public Utilities
A proposed excavation, identified by
address, is compared to pipelines in the area
Communities Health Care
are at risk
communities at risk of River
Blindness and helps determine
the impact of treatment.
What is the
fastest route to Emergency
Geotechnology can choose the
fastest route to a hospital. The
GIS can take into account
traffic and other impediments.
Where is my
With Geotechnology, an agent can
show a map of a neighborhood and a
picture or video of the actual
How can I
Geotechnology can query a database and
identify only those areas with the highest
household income within a specified distance
of a store. Demo 2: 3D income map
MAKING GIS ACHIEVABLE
IN THE CLASSROOM
Achievable for what group of educators?
•These applications of the
GIS technology do not fit
conveniently into any one
area of human activity. So
why should GIS only be
seen as the area of the
Geographer in a school. All
subjects have the
opportunity to be involved
in using GIS technology.
Demo 3: Earthquakes
•As well as the vocational relevance there are other pro’s in
the use of GIS in the classroom.
Vocational relevance. It is not
Empowerment of learning. technology for
Achievability of the process.
Technological use. but a real world
Usefulness. tool that can be
used in the
Out of school learning.
Usefulness and community potential
GIS encourages the use of the
community for the collection of data
for the purpose of addressing “real”
problems in the local environment.
GIS provides the tool for students to
explore the community and develop
meaningful outcomes that can be used
by bodies such as the local council,
community groups and even the
school community itself.
Empowerment of learning
Peer tutoring, group work and
problem solving are key
components of GIS
Teachers are the facilitators in
the use of GIS in the
Innovation and initiative is
encouraged by student
empowerment in the learning
process provided by their
grasp of the GIS technology.
GIS is the “enabler” to engage
students in meaningful spatial
Fun is OK in GIS
Aerial photographs GPS technology
What student could resist the opportunity to explore the GIS possibilities
provided by 3D modelling.
The potential of GIS in the curriculum is unlimited!
Why is it so?
Maybe associated with
This is GIS and it’s use in
the classroom and the
Could you use it in your
learning area? The rest of
the world does!
Demo 4: Schools in SA using GIS
The “Creative Problem Solving” methodology using GIS.
The use of GIS skills to explore and possibly solve spatial questions related to Tourism.
Once students have GIS skills within a spatial context they are extremely good at
developing spatial questions to investigate.
By the end of such a creative process the students will have:
• Developed a problem.
• Collected primary and secondary data.
• Decided on maps to develop.
• Generated maps.
• Conducted spatial analysis, identifying trends and patterns.
• Drawn conclusions and future recommendations.