Going Further


The benefit of using a GIS such as My World GIS is that you can manipulate the data layers and their legends, make selections from the data, and customize the map according to your personal interests. Encourage students to try customizing their own maps, using the data provided in this activity or other data layers available in the My World GIS Data Library (see instructions below for how to access these data). Using GIS tools allows instructors to maximize student inquiry and curiosity about the natural and human processes that are at work shaping the world in which we live.

Other Data

My World GIS provides additional data layers that are available from the My World GIS Data Library. When you launch My World GIS, the Data Library appears on the left side of the program window. You can use the drop-down menu to choose from categories such as World maps, U.S. maps, Geology, Climatology, Oceanography, and Dynamic Web Images.

Case Studies with Tool

Other EET chapters that use My World GIS and/or other GIS software include the following:
How Cities Affect Their Local ClimateExplore the urban heat island effect using student collected surface temperature data. Subset large datasets, buffer others, examine spatial relationships, and gather statistics to investigate temperature differences in urban and rural school sites.

Detecting El Nino in Sea Surface Temperature DataCreate and analyze fifteen years of average SST maps to find El Niño and La Niño events.

Evidence for Plate TectonicsIdentify relationships among sea-floor age, earthquakes, and volcanoes to understand how they support the theory of plate tectonics.

Investigating Earthquakes with AEJEEDownload earthquake data from the USGS. Bring it into a GIS and analyze it to predict where the next big earthquake will occur on Earth.

Is Greenland Melting?Explore map layers to examine annual melting and long-term changes of Greenland's ice sheet.

Looking into Earth with GISExamine seismic wave data in a GIS and analyze wave velocities to infer the depth of the crust-mantle boundary.

Mapping Local DataFollow a study of Urban Heat Islands as an example of a map-based science research project.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: What's in Your Woods?Investigate forest biodiversity in Maine using a spreadsheet and My World GIS. Then consider the environmental factors that contribute to tree species diversity.

Protecting Wetlands from Exurban DevelopmentExamine land-use changes around Macclenny, Florida. Propose locations for future development that minimize impacts on wetlands.

Tsunami Run-up Prediction for Seaside, Oregon with My World GISDownload and examine global, historical tsunami run-up patterns. Acquire DEM contours and import them into My World GIS. Then visualize the potential sea level rise that could occur during a tsunami run-up event near Seaside, Oregon.

Resources and Further Information

Reference Papers

Hall-Wallace, M.K., Walker, C.S., Wallace, T.C., and Butler, R.F., Teaching introductory Earth science with a GIS, EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 83(31), 333, 339, and 340, 2002.

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