Mapping Local Data in a GIS

Debbie Dogancay, Newbury Park High School,

Published: June 2008. Last updated: June 2011.


Note: This chapter was retired in October 2018. The visualization tool (My World GIS) is no longer supported.
An example of a local map prepared for studying Saguaro cactus in Arizona. Click the image for a larger view.

In this activity, a study of Urban Heat Islands serves as an example for conducting a map-based science research project. The chapter gives you guidelines for using a Geographic Information System (My World GISTM) as a way to display and analyze student-collected data. Original research produced by following these guidelines would be appropriate for a science fair or a class project.

This chapter walks you through a five-step GIS research process: ASK a Geographic Question, ACQUIRE Geographic Resources, EXPLORE Geographic Data, ANALYZE the Geographic Information, and ACT on the Geographic Knowledge. Building on a concrete example, you are encouraged to design your own experiment, collect and record geospatial data, analyze relationships in a GIS, draw conclusions to your environmental question, and communicate the results to others.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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