Teach the Earth > GIS and Remote Sensing > Activities > Campus Map with Group GPS Mapping Component

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

Campus Map with Group GPS Mapping Component

Kelly Debure, Eckerd College


Students use GPS units and record the location of some feature of interest on the campus. A shapefile is created from data recorded in an Excel file. This data is incorporated into a map which includes shapefiles and imagery for various campus features.


Type and level of course
Junior level GIS course with introductory environmental studies course or introductory marine science course as a prerequisite.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
Mastery of the basic functions in ArcGIS along with an understanding of the theoretical concepts we have learned during the semester.

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcMap/ArcCatalog 9.3

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
3 hours (not including GPS data gathering time)


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Importing GPS data into a GIS map document.

Digitizing features from MrSID imagery to create a new shapefile.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Understanding how the specification of the underlying geographic coordinate system affects the placement of data on the map.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Understanding what information a map is intending to convey and evaluating how effective the map is in that respect.

Description of the activity/assignment

This assignment is a final project that utilizes GPS data that students have gathered over four class periods. After each data gathering session, one member of the team has submitted the data in an Excel file via email. During the lab session that begins the creation of the final map, the group works together to make sure the data is consistently formatted and they create a shapefile from the xy data. Then they incorporate their data into a map which includes other shapefiles for various features on the campus. They also digitize features from MrSID images to include in the map.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I have a grading rubric that evaluates successful completion of the various aspects of the assignment.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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