GIT Web Course

The Eyes in the Sky professional development program has four sequential parts—a distance learning course, a summer workshop, classroom implementation, and a culminating research showcase.

Course Goal

Your goal during the distance-learning course will be to become a skilled user of a GIS and an image analysis program. You will want to learn these applications well enough to use them as research tools yourself and to teach students about their use. During the summer institute, you will use prepared curriculum materials (or adaptations of them) to introduce students to these technologies. During the following school year, you will implement at least one research project with students at your school. In the spring of that year, your students will present their findings at a research showcase. At the showcase event, you will submit a report summarizing your students' project(s) and discussing implementation issues related to carrying out the project in your subject area.

Eyes in the Sky

Understanding Earth from space, or looking at Earth using an "eyes-in-the-sky" perspective, is an overall theme for this course. We will take two approaches to this theme. One approach is image-based; we will use satellite data and aerial photography to give us a view of Earth from above. The other approach is map-based; we will use maps to gain an eyes-in-the-sky perspective.

Many topics in Earth science, environmental science, biology, and chemistry can be investigated using space-based technology. For example,

  • How do forest fires affect developed versus undeveloped land?
  • What changes in regional vegetation might be related to climate change?

Throughout the course and program, try to think of questions that you and your students might want to investigate using an eyes-in-the-sky viewpoint.

What are Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT)?

Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT) are unique kinds of hardware and software that enable you to work with geographic data. These data might be in the form of coordinates that indicate specific point locations (e.g., the positions of individual plants), lines between locations (e.g., roads or rivers), areas or regions (e.g., states and counties), or images of places. The three key GIT tools that you will learn how to use in this course are:

  1. An image analysis program (ImageJ)
  2. A geographic information system (ArcView GIS or AEJEE GIS or My World GIS)
  3. Global positioning system (GPS) units

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