GIS and Geographic Inquiry: Resources for Educators

img_esnlogonobetaTeachers in earth, environmental, biological, and general science are increasingly incorporating geospatial technologies into their lesson plans. The growing use of these tools in an array of social studies and STEM subjects supports authentic, problem-based instruction, helping students tackle real social and environmental research projects in their communities. The editors of eSchool News have compiled this special collection of news stories, best practices, and other resources designed to help educators integrate GIS and other geospatial technologies into classrooms and district offices.

Understanding Sprawl Inequality

Rob McDonald, a scientist with The Nature Conservancy‘s Conservation Strategies Division, writes at the Cool Green Science blog:

“Another concept I’ve been exploring is what I’m calling sprawl inequality. This comes out of the famous Pareto Principle, that 80 percent of any phenomenon is due to 20 percent of the people. How much of habitat loss in cities is due to a small proportion of folks living in suburbs or exurbs? After a bunch of GIS work, the answer appears to be: 80 percent of urban development (in terms of area) is due to 35 percent of folks who live at the lowest densities. We may all have a responsibility to move toward more sustainable cities, but we aren’t all equally to blame for sprawl.”

Do Controlled Burns Ease Global Warming?

…from The Australian

“WHEN Europeans first encountered Australia, they saw a continent ablaze as Aboriginal ‘firestick farmers’ lit up the bush with controlled burns that prevented destructive wildfires. Now a hi-tech version of the land management practice, which is possibly tens of thousands of years old, could form part of Australia’s strategy to tackle a modern problem: global warming.

“The prescribed burning of the future probably will be ‘a combination of traditional knowledge and Western science’, says the CSIRO’s Heckbert.

“‘It would include a fire management plan based on sophisticated GIS (geographic information systems), precision weather forecasting and biomass models. Implementation of the plan would involve the deployment of helicopters and fire crews using the latest equipment, and the effects would be monitored with high-resolution satellite imagery.'”