Exploring 'Wild' Places with GIS

Exploring ‘Wild’ Places with GIS Activity Source: ESRI, 2008. Adapted with permission. Does your neighborhood have “wild” places? What’s “wild”? What’s the personality of the environment between home and school? What’s there? How do you relate to it? How does your perspective of local geography change between being on the ground and exploring from above? Regardless of where you live, engaging with the landscape means exploring spatial relationships between human and natural phenomena. [Read More]

Exploring Change with GIS

Exploring Change with GIS Activity Source: ESRI. Adapted with permission. On our ever-changing Earth, conditions may change quickly or slowly. Some changes come from natural processes; some from human activity. Satellites allow us to see conditions and track changes over time — in land use, forest health, land/water interface, and so on. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have been collecting data using various portions of the visible and invisible electromagnetic spectrum, at a scale close enough to see highways, but not individual buildings on a city block. [Read More]

Exploring Energy with GIS

Exploring Energy with GIS Activity Source: ESRI. Adapted with permission. Locating crucial energy resources involves examining phenomena under, on, and above Earth’s surface. Some of these phenomena change frequently, such as winds. Others, such as oil and coal deposits, are products of long series of geologic processes. Yet all are geographic in nature — they occur in specific places for specific reasons. To determine the best regions to explore for new natural gas deposits, to determine the ideal places for wind farms, or to locate the best rooftops for solar panels in a city, Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and methods are vital. [Read More]

GIS and Careers

GIS and Careers Activity Source: ESRI. Adapted with permission. Geographic information systems (GIS) are mapping and analysis tools that people use in all walks of life. GIS is problem-solving technology, for careers in research, policy-making, and production — in government agencies, non-profit groups, and for-profit companies, from global to local levels. Whatever the sphere — atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, or biosphere — there are little challenges and major dilemmas that can be addressed only by examining the patterns of where things are, the traits of things here versus things over there, and how things relate to each other. [Read More]

Mapping Quake Risk

Mapping Quake Risk Activity Source: Esri. Adapted with permission. Today, people are “mapping our world” with the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Mapping can be done in the field or the lab—even from smartphones. You can make maps with real-time data about wildfires, tsunamis, and tornadoes. You can make maps with imagery collected with visible light, infrared, and radar data. GIS helps people solve everyday problems in Earth science from coastal erosion on the local beach to global climate change. [Read More]