I wanted to send you an update on GIS and geography happenings in our state. As I write this, I am in San Diego finishing up my time at the ESRI Education Users Conference. It has been an exciting and inspirational time and there are so many things that I would like to share with you all. I’ll do my best to keep it brief. No promises.
First of all, let me remind you that we have a statewide license for all the ESRI software. What this means, is that we can feely give you desktop software to install in your schools. ESRI has many online courses that are available to you freely to help you get to know this software. You can download the desktop software at http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-desktop/free-trial and then request a license from me. As an FYI – and update to version 10.2 will be coming soon. I’ve heard that it’s just an update – not a complete re-install. If you need help, ask me.
If the desktop software is not something you’re interested in, or if it’s difficult for you to get software installed, let me tell you about the most important thing to come out of this year’s User Conference. You may remember that about a year ago, I told you that we now had a statewide license for the ArcGIS online organization accounts.
You may have taken some training recently with me and received a login for our http://wvk12training.maps.arcgis.com/home/. This login is different from an ESRI personal account, which many of you have, in that an account in an organization has more tools for analysis. It’s really pretty amazing. It’s not necessary to use the desktop software to do some pretty snazzy analysis.
What is even more exciting to me, and hopefully to you, is that we have huge access to these organization accounts. I’ve created one for your use – http://wvde.maps.arcgis.com/home/. This site is a place that I envision as an atlas for WV teachers to use in their teaching. When you visit, please check out the maps that are available on the site. More importantly, please e-mail me and tell me maps that you need in order to teach. For example, do you need a map of Coal Producing Counties in WV? Tell me and I’ll make it (if possible), or better yet make the map in ArcGIS Online, share it, and tell me. I’ll pull it into the atlas. (FYI, I’ll get the coal map done soon.) Again, these are maps to be used for teaching – think of maps that you display in your classroom, which ones would you rather display with your projector – and access the data behind them? Please tell me!
I’ve also started an org account http://wvteacherdata.maps.arcgis.com/home/ to use for data collection. If you visit this site, you’ll see something that I’m planning to try for GIS Day in November. There’s a map there that I will “unlock” in November and you and your students will be able to access it online and with smartphones. When you access it, you’ll be able to click on a location, and add a photo and observation of that location. I’m thinking of it as a statewide data collection activity – Observing Your Environment. You’ll hear more about that later …
If you’re interested in doing a data collection project like this, let me know. I can help you get it set up. I really want to use this org account http://wvteacherdata.maps.arcgis.com/home/ as a repository of WV teacher/student created data. It’s a great tool. Please use it.
Lastly, as I said, we have huge access to these organization accounts. You’ll notice that they all have a unique web address before the maps.arcgis.com part of the address. You as teachers, or as a school, can have your own organization account. You could have your own galleries of maps your students create and create your own student accounts (up to 100) for them to share and create maps.
This is a big step for us as educators! These organization accounts have much greater capabilities than the personal accounts that you all have. If you are comfortable with your personal account in ArcGIS.com/home, you have what it takes to have your own organization. You’ll be able to create student accounts (up to 100) and have your students do analysis online – NO DESKTOP SOFTWARE REQUIRED. E-mail me. If this is something you’re interested in using, I can help you.