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  1. 1. GEOGRAPHY, GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: CONSIDERATIONS FOR K-12 TEACHERS John M. Morgan, III, Ph.D. Geospatial Research and Education Laboratory Towson University
  2. 2. ABOUT JAY MORGAN <ul><li>Professor of Geography at Towson University (appointed 1984) </li></ul><ul><li>Director Emeritus of the Center for Geographic Information Sciences (served as Director for 13 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Worked for nearly 13 years for state and local government agencies in Maryland prior to joining the faculty at Towson </li></ul><ul><li>Served on active military duty as a combat engineer platoon leader, topographic engineer officer, and geographic officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching and research interests include geographic information systems, remote sensing and digital image processing, emergency management and homeland security, and environmental planning </li></ul><ul><li>Past president of the GIS Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers </li></ul><ul><li>Currently writing an introductory textbook on GIS </li></ul>
  4. 4. THE PROBLEM … GEOGRAPHICAL LITERACY <ul><li>Despite having a highly education society, Americans are arguably the world’s most geographically ignorant people </li></ul><ul><li>By comparison, children throughout much of the world are exposed to geographic training in both primary and secondary schools </li></ul><ul><li>Most Americans learn what little geography they know in elementary or middle school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the United States, the last time a student hears the word “geography” is usually in the third grade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion of geography at any higher level is hidden under the heading “social studies” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Concern over geographical illiteracy led President Reagan to declare November 15-21, 1987 as the first Geography Awareness Week (a joint resolution of the One Hundredth Congress) </li></ul>
  5. 5. GEOGRAPHY TODAY <ul><li>The National Geographic Society released the Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study in May, 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>510 interviews were conducted among a sample of 18- to 24-year old adults in the continental United States between December 17, 2006 and January 20, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>The sample has a margin or error of +/- 4.4 % at the 95% confidence level </li></ul><ul><li>Survey results … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 6 in ten (63%) of those surveyed could not locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly nine in ten (88%) could not identify Afghanistan on a map of Asia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seven in ten (70%) could not find North Korea on a map, and 63% did not know its border with South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sizeable percentages did not know that Sudan and Rwanda are in located in Africa (54% and 40%, respectively) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. GEOGRAPHY TODAY (CONTINUED) <ul><ul><li>Three-quarters could not find Indonesia on a world map and were unaware that a majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslin, making it the largest Muslim country in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A third or more could not find Louisiana or Mississippi on a map of the United States </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 18% could correctly answer a multiple-choice question about the most widely spoken native language in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Although half said map reading skills are “absolutely necessary” in today’s world, many Americans lack basic practical skills necessary for safety and employment in today’s world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One-third (34%) would go in the wrong direction in the event of an evacuation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One third (32%) would miss a conference call scheduled with colleagues in another time zone </li></ul></ul></ul>Recommended Link 2006 National Geographic – Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy
  7. 7. WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY? <ul><li>Geography is the study of the earth’s surface as the space within which human population live </li></ul><ul><li>Geography combines characteristics of both the natural and social sciences and literally bridges the gap between the two </li></ul><ul><li>Geography is a generalized as opposed to a specialized field of study </li></ul><ul><li>Space is the unifying theme for geographers </li></ul><ul><li>Geography is the science of space and place </li></ul><ul><li>Geographers are interested in … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where things are located on the earth’s surface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why they are located where they are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How places differ from one another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How people interact with the environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Geographers were among the first scientists to sound the alarm that human-induced changes to the environment are beginning to threaten the balance of life </li></ul>
  8. 8. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU WANT TO BE A GEOGRAPHER? <ul><li>If you answer yes to the majority of these questions, you have the potential to be a geographer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you curious about places? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you like to study and use maps? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you prefer to sit in the window seat on an airplane? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you interested in “foreign” areas? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you like to work outside? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you a problem solver? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you good at seeing connections among seemingly unrelated phenomena and processes? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you adapt to rapid technological change? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you try to see the big picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you interested in connections between people and the environment? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. CURRENT GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION INITIATIVES <ul><li>My Wonderful World </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A National Geographic Society-led campaign to expand geographic learning in school, at home, and in the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My Community, Our Earth: Geographic Learning for Sustainable Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A partnership to encourage youth to use geographic tools to address local issues of sustainability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teacher’s Guide to Modern Geography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Department of Education-funded effort by the Association of American Geographers to develop a teacher’s guide to improve the preparation of pre-service teachers who are not geography majors </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. CURRENT GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION INITIATIVES <ul><ul><li>Will also help all teachers meet the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 which requires teachers of core academic subjects (including geography) to be “highly qualified” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes a printed manual, overhead transparency masters, student activities, assessment instruments, curriculum planners, an interactive Web site, and a resource book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently under development (available 2007) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. TEACHER’S GUIDE TO MODERN GEOGRAPHY <ul><li>Key questions in geography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Location – Where is this place? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Condition (site) – What is at this place? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connection (situation) – How is this place linked to other places? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparison – How are places similar or different? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aura (influence) – What effect(s) does a feature have on its neighbors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Region – What nearby places are similar to this one? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchy – What larger area is this a part of? What smaller areas are part of it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analog – What distant places are analogous to this one? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gradient – What is the nature of the transition between places? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pattern – Are there arrangements of features that are not random? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Association (correlation) – Are the spatial patterns similar? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceptions – Where are the places that do not follow an observed rule? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. TEACHER’S GUIDE TO MODERN GEOGRAPHY (CONTINUED) <ul><ul><li>Diffusion – How do things spread through space? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial Model – Are places linked by a process? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. USE OF GEOGRAPHIC DATA <ul><li>Our use of geographic data is changing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation v. decision-making tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Static v. dynamic database </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The historical perspective of maps as images of the arrangement of physical and human features is being extended to one of data expressing the spatial relationships of mapped features in complex physical and human systems </li></ul><ul><li>Maps are the “language” of geography </li></ul>
  15. 15. WHAT IS A GIS? <ul><li>A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based system for the storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis, and display of geographic data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer-based system refers to the hardware, software, and procedures necessary to operate the GIS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geographic data are data which vary over geographic space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis, and display are the “tools” provided by GIS software for processing geographic data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is a general definition of the term compiled from several definitions </li></ul>
  16. 16. PURPOSE OF A GIS <ul><li>A GIS provides tools for representing the real world as data about locations </li></ul>Source: ESRI
  17. 17. GIS IS A NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS <ul><li>Maps in computers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GIS does for maps what we already do with words and numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geographic data adds a whole new dimension to computing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Changes in the use of geographic data for decision-making </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer technology overcomes many of the problems associated with working with geographic data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer technology gives a high-tech feel to mapping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Map and non-map data can be linked together </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. SPATIAL AND DESCRIPTIVE DATA <ul><li>Geographic data includes spatial and descriptive data </li></ul><ul><li>Spatial (map) data deals with location, shape, and relationships among physical and human features on the Earth's surface </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive (non-map) data deals with the characteristics of the features (attributes) </li></ul>Source: ESRI
  21. 21. WHY IS GIS SO HOT? <ul><li>“GIS technology is to geographical analysis what the microscope, the telescope, and computers have been to other sciences” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ronald Abler, Association of American Geographers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GIS gives a “high tech” feel to geographic data </li></ul><ul><li>GIS is an important tool for understanding and managing the environment because it enables a user to … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Map environmental (physical and human) characteristics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measure environmental factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor changes in environmental factors over space and time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model alternatives of actions and processes operating in the environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why not use GIS to teach geography? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GIS IN EDUCATION <ul><li>GIS can be a vital part of classroom instruction at all levels </li></ul><ul><li>While a review of the national standards for geography education point to the importance of GIS as part “seeing the world in spatial terms,” GIS offers broader instructional opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>GIS is more than just technical know-how … it is about applying the tool to real-world problems </li></ul><ul><li>The key to GIS is about exploring data that is tied to specific places </li></ul><ul><li>GIS provides for independent exploration through the visualization of geographic data </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can use GIS as a tool for teaching content related to State standards </li></ul>
  23. 23. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GIS IN EDUCATION (CONTINUED) <ul><li>Since a variety of physical and human aspects can be examined simultaneously, a GIS is an excellent tool for teaching … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In a single subject area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinary teaching in areas such as environmental education and global studies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From this vantage point, using GIS in the classroom can act as a springboard to address an understanding of … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical and human characteristics of place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The earth’s changing complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical processes that shape patterns on the earth’s surface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Processes and patterns of human settlement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequences of interactions between physical and human systems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The inclusion of GIS in education at all levels is about fostering the growth of a geographically informed, globally and locally responsible, and technically literate population </li></ul>
  24. 24. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GIS IN EDUCATION (CONTINUED) <ul><li>While the “G in GIS” suggests that geographic information systems were designed with only geographers in mind, GIS can be used by many different K-12 subject areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mathematics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experience has shown that K-12 teachers need access to either free or low cost … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data (preferably local) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PC v. Macintosh problem </li></ul>
  25. 25. GIS SOFTWARE
  26. 26. GIS SOFTWARE <ul><li>GIS software uses the toolbox concept </li></ul><ul><li>GIS software provides tools for geographic data … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Storage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retrieval </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manipulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Display </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. GIS SOFTWARE ALTERNATIVES <ul><li>Desktop software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial GIS packages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low end packages for “viewing” GIS data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Internet mapping applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. DESKTOP SOFTWARE Free Low learning curve No analytical capability PC and Mac (Java application) Limited GIS functionality (limited tools) Retrieval Display Low end packages for “viewing” GIS data Expensive Steep learning curve Powerful analytical capability PC (limited Mac software) Complete GIS functionality (many tools) Storage Retrieval Manipulation Analysis Display Commercial GIS packages Cons Pros Type
  29. 29. EXAMPLE – COMMERCIAL DESKTOP GIS SOFTWARE Recommended Link ArcExplorer Java Education for Education
  30. 30. EXAMPLE – LOW END GIS VIEWING PACKAGE Recommended Link ArcExplorer Java Education for Education
  31. 31. INTERNET MAPPING APPLICATIONS Low Browse data (pan/zoom) Geocode Print Serve as an “online data browser” Allow users to perform very basic functions) Tightly control access to database Basic Moderate Browse data (pan/zoom) Find, query Manipulate layer visibility Select features Geocode Print Present user with many tools and data layers Serve as “online GIS software” Provide a flexible, multiple-function experience Advanced Learning Curve Typical Functionality Purpose Type
  32. 32. EXAMPLE – ADVANCED APPLICATION Recommended Link Chesapeake Bay & Mid-Atlantic from Space
  33. 33. EXAMPLE – BASIC Recommended Link WatershedMapper
  34. 34. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GIS SOFTWARE <ul><li>If you are new to GIS, a low end GIS viewing package or Internet mapping application may be the best way for you to get familiar with GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Although commercial GIS software packages are expensive, vendors like Environmental Systems Research Institute offer discounted licensing options for classroom/instructional use </li></ul><ul><li>GIS-based instructional materials are available from a variety of sources </li></ul>
  35. 35. GIS DATA
  36. 36. DIGITAL GEOSPATIAL DATA <ul><li>Data are the “heart” of any geographic information system </li></ul><ul><li>Data represent the “hidden cost” of any GIS implementation </li></ul><ul><li>It is not uncommon for government agencies and businesses to spend two-thirds or more of their GIS budgets on converting data from analog (paper) to digital form </li></ul><ul><li>Digital geospatial data is available in two forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As locally stored data for use with desktop GIS software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As a “map service” (a type of Web service that generates maps) that can be used with a special Web browser or desktop GIS software </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is a wealth of free , digital geospatial data available today </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata is the secret to finding digital geospatial data </li></ul>
  37. 37. WHAT IS METADATA? <ul><li>Metadata are data about data </li></ul><ul><li>According to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), metadata … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Captures the basic characteristics of digital geospatial data (i.e., the who, what, when, where, why, and how) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes library catalog elements such as title, abstract, and public date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes geographic elements such as geographic extent and map projection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes database elements such as attribute label definitions and values </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metadata can help you locate geospatial data by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Type of theme (theme)  what </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geography  where </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. METADATA PORTALS – STATE GOVERNMENT Recommended Link Maryland State Geographic Information Committee
  40. 40. METADATA PORTALS – STATE GOVERNMENT Recommended Link Maryland Mapping Resource Guide
  41. 41. METADATA PORTALS – LOCAL GOVERNMENT Recommended Link Frederick County GIS
  42. 42. METADATA PORTALS – COMMERCIAL Recommended Link GIS Data Depot
  43. 43. METADATA PORTALS – UNIVERSITY Recommended Link Chesapeake Bay & Mid-Atlantic from Space
  44. 44. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT DIGITAL GEOSPATIAL DATA <ul><li>Some government agencies sell their data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact your local government GIS “shop” before you buy data (they may provide the data to you free of charge) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Large-scale (1:2,400) digital geospatial data developed for use by local governments may not necessarily be “appropriate” for classroom use </li></ul><ul><li>Data you find via metadata searches may have to be “converted” in some way before it can be used </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Differing file structures, map projections, or coordinate systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires the use of commercial desktop GIS software </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many members of the Maryland GIS community are interested in promoting GIS use by K-12 teachers and students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit the MSGIC Web site for contact information on people who could provide you with help </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. LOCAL GOVERNMENT DATA Recommended Link Frederick County GIS
  46. 46. LOCAL GOVERNMENT DATA Source: Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning
  47. 47. GIS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH <ul><li>GIS is being used to show cause and effect relationships between environmental conditions and health </li></ul><ul><li>GIS can be used for … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying “at risk” populations (high risk health groups) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveillance of vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, borreliosis) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitoring wells, underground storage tanks, hazardous waste sites, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infectious disease containment and control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cancer cluster detection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mapping Environmental health and justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mapping access to health care facilities </li></ul></ul>
  48. 48. GIS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES <ul><li>Dr. John Snow – a historical giant in epidemiology </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>GIS and Public Health (National Center for Health Statistics) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic Analysis Tool for Health and Environmental Research </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Health and GIS Links </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  49. 49. SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS <ul><li>20 th Annual Towson University GIS Conference </li></ul><ul><li>March 19-20, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>MarylandView Consortium </li></ul><ul><li> (available August, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>I come bearing gifts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maryland Landsat poster </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maryland impervious surfaces poster </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List of suggested classroom activities </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES <ul><li>GIS for K-12 Education (Environmental Systems Research Institute) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The Guide to Geographic Information Systems </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>GIS Education (U.S. Geological Survey) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>KANGIS: K12 GIS Community </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Jay Morgan’s Online GIS Bibliography </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  51. 51. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (CONTINUED) <ul><li>ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supports both Windows and Mac Os X platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows you to view and query local data as well as ArcIMS mapservices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comes with prepackaged project files and sample data </li></ul></ul>
  52. 52. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION <ul><li>Dr. John M. Morgan, III, Professor </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Geography and Environmental Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Towson University </li></ul><ul><li>8000 York Road </li></ul><ul><li>Baltimore, Maryland 21252-0001 </li></ul><ul><li>410-704-2964 </li></ul><ul><li>410-704-4702 (fax) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation is available at: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>