ArcGIS Explorer OnlineA good tool that fits between Google’s geospatial technologies and an industry-standard software package is a tool called ArcGIS Explorer Online. ESRI have developed this tool and it allows the user, once registered (free) and signed in) to create and save maps and turn them into presentations. The data for the map can be imported spatial data such as a kml file or shapefile (EXPLAIN) or the data could be uploaded from a table that the user has created. As long as the table contains separate ‘Latitude’ and ‘Longitude’ columns, the tool will locate the positions on the map and display them, along with the other data attached in the table.
Quantum GISQuantum GIS, or QGIS, is a free, open-source software package that can be installed across the school network and on students’ personal computers at no cost. It is compatible with many geospatial data formats, including ESRI’s shapefiles, and allows users to use their own data easily. Information on QGIS can be found here and the latest version of the software can be found here <links to QGIS download and blog/support>.
The best advice that can be given is to professionally reflect on any activities in class, examine as many classroom teaching resources used by others and, most importantly, to spend time using the software regularly.
For a classroom resource, instructional videos and information on data, click here <http://www.contoureducation.com/archives/913 >.