Advance Environmental Science Release

The public field-testing of the fifth GeoInquiry collection, GeoInquiries for Advanced Environmental Science and Biology is now open.  This collection is targeted at high school biology classrooms and includes 15 cross-curricular activities with ArcGIS Online. Activities include: 

  • Population dynamics
  • Megacities
  • Down to the last drop
  • Dead zones (water pollution)
  • The Beagle’s Path
  • Primary productivity
  • Tropical Deforestation
  • Marine debris
  • El Nino (and climate)
  • Slowing malaria
  • Altered biomes
  • Spinning up wind power
  • Resource consumption and wealth

The authoring team includes: Brandon Gillette, Perri Carr, and Roger Palmer.  Maps were created by authors and Maps.com.

You can explore the collection here: http://edcommunity.esri.com/Resources/Collections/APES_geoinquiries

A short story map for easy review of the collection is available at: http://arcg.is/1Ux3mpJ

If a teacher chooses to field test an activity, they need only submit their comments to the URL at the bottom of page two (on each geoinquiry). That URL is: http://esriurl.com/GeoInquiryFeedback

– See more at: https://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2016/06/02/new-geoinquiry-collection-advanced-environmental-science-and-biology/#sthash.E6FgYLwk.dpuf


New GeoInquiry Launched


We are pleased to announce the public field testing of the fourth GeoInquiry collection, GeoInquiries for Grade 4 Interdisciplinary.  This collection is targeted at upper elementary classrooms and includes 15 cross-curricular activities supporting integrated science, social studies, math, and language arts with Esri’s ArcGIS Online Web-based mapping platform.

GeoInquiries are short, standards-based inquiry activities for teaching map-based concepts found in commonly used textbooks. Using an inquiry instructional model, GeoInquiries integrate ArcGIS Online technology to support subject matter content teaching. Lessons include learning objectives, technical “how-to’s”, textbook references, and formative whole-class assessment items – all packed into one page. These activities are technology agnostic and can be delivered in a classroom with as little as a tablet and a projector. Any teacher can use a GeoInquiry, regardless of their prior experience with digital mapping tools.

The authoring team for this collection includes: Mellissa Thom, Michael Wagner, and Anita Palmer.  Maps were created by authors and Maps.com.

You can explore the collection here:


A short story map has also been created for easy review of the collection: http://arcg.is/1TgiQkJ

Know a teacher who would like to field test? All they need to do is submit their comments to the URL at the bottom of page two (on each geoinquiry). That URL is: http://esriurl.com/GeoInquiryFeedback

Applying our expertise in the development of content for instructional products and continuing our commitment to developing products and content to engage learners and enhance achievement, Maps.com has created maps and data layers appropriate for use by teachers and students in the classroom. These data layers will be held and maintained by Maps.com and are available for use in other products, from interactive maps and apps to textbooks and atlases. Previous collections include High School US History and AP Human Geography. Stay tuned for the next collection: Advanced Environmental Science, coming very soon!

Intrigued by this technology and the data behind it? Want to learn more? Just give us a call, we’re here to help.


IMIA Americas MeetUP – Lakewood, CO June 14

If you are in the Denver area on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, please join us as the International Map Industry Association will be hosting a MeetUP from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the National Park Service offices in Lakewood, CO, just west of Denver.

Maps.com Director of Education and President of IMIA Americas, Bennett Moe, will be attending the International IMIA MeetUP in Denver on June 14. There will be ample networking time and this will be a great opportunity to meet and discuss mapping industry-related business with him, including how Maps.com continues to iterate on its leading cartography and geo-spatial application development in education and commercial sectors.

IMIA Americas MeetUP will be hosting a pair of panel discussions. Brian Fox will be hosting the first panel, focused on the various efforts underway in the Federal government to bring data together and make it available to government, industry partners and the public. Fox is currently the Systems Development Branch Chief for USGS’s National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC) where he oversees development activity in support of The National Map.

Federal Geospatial Data Consolidation Efforts

Efforts are currently underway to consolidate and improve geospatial data throughout the Federal Government. Land management agencies are actively bringing together data from their various local and regional offices, while the USGS is making some of this data available through The National Map. These efforts are helping to improve the quality and access to geospatial data. This panel will allow those attending the IMIA Denver MeetUP to better understand the data that is current and what will be available in the near future from various agencies of the Federal Government.

Robert Aiken
Geospatial Services Group Leader
USDA Forest Service

Nate Irwin
Leader of NPMap Team, Developer on NPMap.js
NPMap Builder, NPS Boostrap, Team Leader on Partner Projects
National Park Service

Greg Matthews
Point of Contact
U.S. Geological Survey

John C. Varner
Information Technology Specialist (Data Management)
Resource Data Branch, Bureau of Land Management [BLM]
United States Department of the Interior [DOI]

IMIA Americas invites you to attend its first MeetUP on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. at the National Park Service in Lakewood, Colorado. The MeetUP will provide an opportunity for leaders in the mapping industry to meet, network and be an active part in topical discussions and presentations.

Registration is complimentary for IMIA members and for non-members the registration fee is $40. Registration is required for all attendees prior to the event. Click here for the registration form.

For more information about the IMIA Americas MeetUP, please click on:http://imiamaps.org/meetup-denver.



What is the Next Generation?

Title Image

The January K12News newsletter from Education Market Research noted that in a recent survey “Maps, time lines, charts and graphs” were the second most liked feature of teachers’ current Social Studies textbooks at 47.3%, virtually unchanged from the previous sample in 2010. These figures confirm that maps are an integral part of the Social Studies curriculum and a ‘must-have’ for teachers. However, the fact that less than half the respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the current offering points to a need to improve what is being offered to them.

This also correlates with problems that teachers pointed to with their current curricula: “not enough digital resources” (42.6%) and “information not up to date” (37.2%).These figures aren’t surprising given the average age of textbooks in the classroom, which has reached a recent high in recent memory of over 5 years.

Teachers love and use maps because they are engaging teaching objects that are not only beautiful, but tell stories, convey information, and provide teaching and learning opportunities not only in Social Studies, but across disciplines. But they have to be relevant, accurate and current. No longer can maps be thought of as images or even disconnected objects – even when they do have interactivity added.

The world is an ever-changing place and the next generation of mapping platforms are able to reflect those changes quickly and easily as changes occur in the real world. They will allow students to explore the world in much more detail and to apply critical thinking skills to the data that they can see and manipulate. Not only will these new mapping platforms provide publishers with content that is highly valued by teachers in a highly interactive digital format and which can be updated and kept current on the fly, but it will also increase the efficiency of implementation.

These new mapping platforms can also be leveraged across disciplines so that teachers can provide engaging learning opportunities that support and enhance Common Core standards and/ or state standards to all students, regardless of their course of study. Sharing of resources like maps across titles has long been standard practice. New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only “New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts, investigation and analytic thinking.

Maps.com has rolled out a new interactive map series call Field Trip Library that takes students on journeys around the world without ever having to leave their desk. We are doing this with a mapping platform that is responsive, interactive and highly adaptive. This is just the beginning of the future of mapping in education. Come along with us to see what’s next.



Tis the season for giving… and getting.

It is shaping up to be a great holiday season! Not only has our Field Trip Library product won an award from Tech & Learning Magazine (to be featured in their December issue), a Silver award from the International Map Industry Association and a nomination for an award for Innovative Application at the Esri Partner Conference, we have also just learned that Field Trip Library is also a finalist in the Education and Learning category of the Digital Book World Awards.

That the product has garnered recognition from such a wide variety of organizations, from ed tech to geospatial sciences to the book trade is wonderful recognition of a job well done by our team of authors, researchers, cartographers and developers, all who work in concert to develop this innovative product. We are looking forward to expanding the reach and breadth of this wonderful new teaching tool.




What does it take to edit a map?

“Pishaw, editing a map is easy,” they say. “Everything has been mapped.”

That’s not an uncommon refrain, but far from the reality. The world is a constantly changing place that requires cartographers to keep up to date on both content and technology. To be sure, more resources are available to both cartographers and cartographic editors than were available in days of yore, but the rigor with which those resources are reviewed, validated and implemented has not decreased in the slightest. In many cases, the internet has proven both a boon and a burden for researchers who have to go the extra mile to verify sources that are posted by unknown parties. Whether it is a map for navigation or to convey a historical event to a student, publishers can’t afford to get it wrong. And that’s where the skills of editors shine.

To give you a sense of what goes into the editorial process of a typical street map and the depth and breadth of knowledge that is applied to the craft, our editors have shared a slice of their world in the following paper, which was distributed originally in our Fall InCarto Newsletter.


See the whole Fall InCarto Newsletter here:


If you didn’t get a copy in your inbox, let us know and we’ll be sure to add you to the mailing list.

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