1. 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.

  2. 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

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



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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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