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What is GIS?

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is one of the fastest growing software applications in the world. GIS is not one program and different types of GIS serve different purposes: a GIS that tracks and schedules freight on a route network is different from an environmental GIS. More than 80% of data collected can be linked to a location on the earth’s surface, so it is not surprising that GIS and mobile services are taking off. GIS really puts geography on the map!

There are three elements to any GIS: a digital map, data located on the map, and a software application (GIS) that links the two together. A simple school GIS provides display and search facilities for mapped data. More sophisticated commercial GIS functions include spatial querying and analysis, buffering and spatial modelling. Trainees should be given the opportunity to explore ‘school’ and commercial GIS to decide which would be most suitable to incorporate into different lessons and to understand a progression in the use of GIS.

How does GIS fit into the geography curriculum?

GIS is ideal to introduce into the geography curriculum as it provides techniques and opportunities to further pupils’ geographical learning by:

· Overcoming mechanical aspects of mapping to give pupils the opportunity to produce a professional result;

· Improving pupils’ visualisation of the landscape through aerial overlays on maps, 3D imagery and ‘fly-throughs’ reintroducing a wow! factor into mapping skills;

· Enabling access to up to date mapping and locational data on the internet through, for example, search engines, local and national government sites and NGOs;

· Enabling pupils to experiment with cartography by choosing colours, graphical techniques and methods of selecting and presenting data on maps;

Allowing more time to achieve higher level thinking by replacing tedious mapping operations with interactive manipulation of large sets of digital maps and data to select, display and interpret spatial patterns and relationships.

The majority of the geographical skills in the programmes of study at KS3 may be enhanced by the use of digital maps and GIS. Traditional geographical skills take on a new dimension when adapted to a digital context.

Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1609

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