Massachusetts Lighthouses

Emily Burns, Community College of Rhode Island


Students practice selecting features by location and adding a hyperlink to a point feature. They work with data that they download from a state GIS site.


Type and level of course
This activity was written for an introductory GIS course.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcMap 9.3 with a site license

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
20-30 minutes


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Downloading data from the internet
Selecting by location and creating a new layer from selected data
Attaching a hyperlink to a point feature

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Becoming familiar with what is available at the Massachusetts state GIS page; this is local information that students may find useful in the future.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Evaluating one's own map and seeing if it is readable and accurately reflects the data used

Description of the activity/assignment

Students download two data sets from the MAssachusetts state GIS web site: town polygons and lighthouse point features. They combine the two into a map and investigate the distribution of lighthouses in the coastal towns of Massachusetts. They also affix a hyperlink to a point feature.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I check their maps and their answers to the questions on the worksheet.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

URLs and References

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

An evaluation rubric for this and other GIS class activities is shown below.

    General student activity evaluation for GIS class

    Developed by E. Burns & P. Ryberg, 8-10-10

    Circle one:

    0 = did not complete

    1 = poor

    2 = good

    3 = excellent

    1. Student was able to complete the activity based on the information given. (Typos in the handout and computer problems are taken into consideration.)

    1 2 3 4

    2. Student successfully accessed/downloaded data and put it into the appropriate file or software.

    1 2 3 4

    3. Student manipulated and linked data successfully.

    1 2 3 4

    4. Student used data to produce a usable map, report, image, table, etc.

    1 2 3 4

    5. Student analyzed and queried their database.

    1 2 3 4

    6. Student produced an accurate, well-designed, and functional product.

    1 2 3 4

    7. Student was able to evaluate the quality of their own work.

    1 2 3 4

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