GPS and GIS in the Classroom

Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Systems are a great way to check students' understanding of geogrpahy and its relationship to other disciplines, such as science and social studies. I have my students use GPS units during field experiements in environmental science. Students use Google Earth to learn about the phyisical characteristics of local environments and to select possible test sites. Coordinates from these sites are uploaded into our Garmin GPS units and taken on our field trips. Once at the site, students can easily locate the test sites and begin taking samples. Because we have the exact location in our units, we can easily revisit test sites from year to year. Other ways to use a GPS unit in class is might include visiting local history sites, or interviewing experts in a particular field. Information gained from site visits or interviews can be uploaded and stored in a geographic information system database. These layers can be embedded into a wiki or a class web page and shared with the community. Other GPS activities can be found at LaMar.
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Global Positioning Tools
Garmin -
Magellan -

Geographical Information Tools
Google Maps -
Google Earth -
MyWorld GIS -
ArcView GIS -

More information on GPS and GIS can be obtained from

Click here to purchase an outdoor GPS unit

Google Earth (Pro) Screencasts
1. Downloading and Installing Google Earth -
2. Using Navigation Tools in Google Earth -
3. Using Layers in Google Earth -
4. Adding Layers from Google Earth's Internet Community -
5. Adding Text to a Placemark -
6. Organizing and Saving Placemarks to Your Computer -
7. Changing Placemark Icons in Google Earth -
8. Adding a Custom Icon to the Google Earth Icon Panel -