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Observing Virginias Environmental Resources from Space

What is GIS?
Barbara Murray OVERspace Project Director Virginia Space Grant Consortium Educational Programs Manager

The goal of the OVERspace project is to develop and implement for Virginias educators , a state-wide professional development program and network for using remotely sensed data, GIS, and GPS as effective teaching and learning tools.

Geographic Information Systems

A Definition of GIS
GIS is a System of computer software, hardware and data, and personnel to help manipulate, analyze and present information that is tied to a spatial location
spatial location usually a geographic location information visualization of analysis of data system - linking software, hardware, data personnel a thinking explorer who is key to the power of GIS-

A method to
visualize, manipulate, analyze, and display spatial data to study the world

Smart Maps
linking a database to the map, creating dynamic displays

Five Data Layers

Alike Features



Roads Lakes


Some Ways GIS is Used

Emergency Services

Environmental Natural Disasters Education Government Medical Industry, Businesses Defense

GPS Global Positioning System

A static map paper or digital Maps are often a product of a GIS A way to visualize the analysis

A software package

Database Not Easy to Interpret

Visualization Worth a Thousand Words

Multiple Databases can be Linked and Related

12 OVERspace GIS related lesson plans in development include:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Upper Roanoke River Watershed-A Learning Adventure Nifty Fifty! (Studies of VA provinces and regions) Water, Water Everywhere, But not a Drop to Drink! (Water supply issues) Medical Geography- Vaccination in the U.S. -( Mapping disease spread) Colonial Economics and Immigration- (Mapping historic sites & battles)

7. 8. 9.

Living Life on the Edge! -(GIS uses in natural disasters )

Light My Fire! -(Studies of controlled burns and wildfires & satellite data)) A Birds EyeView -( Studies of the NASA SATS aircraft with GPS) Its Raining, Its Pouring! -( Studies of precipitation and its impacts)

10. Virginia Physiography -( A study of the specific provinces of VA) 11. MicroClimates - (Student data collection and analysis of climate types) 12. Healthy Chesapeake? -(Studies of Virginias watersheds)

Geographic Information Systems GIS @ your school

Science ES.1, ES.2, ES.3, ES.9 Social Studies Computer Technology Math skills English (communications) 8.5, 9.2, 9.6, 10.1, 10.7, 10.9

GIS helps learners of any age think critically, learn in an integrated fashion, and exercise multiple intelligences. The infinite variations possible in topic of study, scale of exploration, data engaged, analyses used, and questions asked help teachers model the importance of being a lifelong learner.

Combining Various Display Methods

Modeling of Future Trends

GIS @ your school

You need: Computers Software (free or commercial) Some experience Lots of enthusiasm Applicable lesson plans for integration in current curriculum

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. department of Defense.
GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use.
GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.

Set of GPS units for classroom use is available for use, through VSGC. VDOE provided grant for 1st class set. Other grants will provide for more equipment OVERspace teachers were provided with a high quality GPS unit Future plans: 8 classroom sets in Virginia for loan in teaching students