Saturday, March 15, 2008

Digital Worlds GIS2 mapping software for Geography lessons

New geography mapping software for the classroom has been launched across 60 secondary schools engaging “digital native” children throughout the UK.

The launch of Digital Worlds GIS2 mapping software from ESRI (UK) and Digital Worlds International (DWI) comes as OFSTED has reported a drop in the number of pupils taking Geography for GCSE and A-Level, at a time when floods, climate change, famines and traffic management should be making the subject one of the most important in schools worldwide.

Dr Gerard O’Sullivan, Kent-based Advanced Skills Teacher for Geography, has praised the new mapping software, believing it brings ‘real life’ examples into the classroom while engaging children that are now “digital natives” with internet access, mobile phones and electronic games consoles at home.

Pupils are being entertained using creative mapping software in activities such as ‘time travelling’ to analyse electronic historical maps compared to modern day geographies, investigating how rivers and shorelines move, or writing newspapers and podcasts about their geography-based findings.

“The introduction of Digital Worlds GIS2 into the classroom is a breath of fresh air for the children, especially when they use it to support and enhance fun field trips to the beach and create ‘virtual’ field trips. The mapping software helps us teach pupils concepts and skills in a way that goes beyond traditional worksheets and appeals to children via the media that they habitually use,” he said.

The Digital Worlds GIS2 solution from ESRI (UK), the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Digital Worlds International (DWI) enables teachers to access a wide variety of pre-programmed geographic datasets. As a result, teachers can obtain a wealth of information to support their lessons, without having to deal with the complexity of sourcing geographic data.

Richard Pole, Managing Director of DWI, is excited by the partnership and what it means for teachers, “We have cherry-picked the best and most appropriate GIS software tools from ESRI (UK)’s enterprise-ready stable of products, creating, for the first time, a robust GIS specifically tailored for teaching and learning in schools. There is now a real opportunity for Geography teachers to give pupils access to technology that typifies real world geographical techniques”.

Angela Baker, Community Programme Manager, ESRI (UK), said: “ESRI (UK) has, for many years, encouraged greater use of GIS in schools and wider education establishments demonstrating the importance and vision for technology use in the future of geography-based learning and professions. Digital Worlds GIS2 makes industry-standard GIS accessible to schools and enables pupils to develop valuable skills that they can apply in the real world.”

About ESRI (UK)

ESRI (UK) is part of the global ESRI network. With the single, largest pool of GIS expertise in the UK, the company is the technical authority on GIS. ESRI (UK) provides solutions, technology and services including off the shelf applications built on the ArcGIS software suite and an extensive range of consulting and training services.

Its offerings meet a range of business needs in different markets including Business, Local & Central Government, Public Safety, Utilities and Telecommunications, as well as catering for system integrators and application developers through the ESRI Developer Network.

ESRI (UK)’s customers include both public sector clients such as Leeds City Council, Metropolitan Police, DCLG, The Environment Agency and businesses including Thames Water, Royal & SunAlliance and The AA.

ESRI (UK) helps businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through the better use of geographic information. The ability to understand customers' needs and harness the power of GIS for the long-term benefit of organisations is what we call Visionary Thinking.

About Digital Worlds International Ltd

Established in 2000, Digital Worlds International (DWI) has focused on removing the barriers to schools for using GIS. DWI is involved created and ran the Dakini projects which provided a GIS to every school in Kent and East Sussex and schools in France (see

In 2004, DWI launched the first version of the Digital Worlds GIS to schools in the UK, providing a customized GIS; a range of data (including OS maps, Aerial Photos, satellite imagery, historic maps and census data); lesson plans; support; and training which helped to remove many of the obstacles that stop GIS being used in the classroom.

DWI is a business partner of ESRI (UK) and has now launched the Digital Worlds GIS 2 based on their technology. The product is still available with maps and data, not just for the UK but world wide and the product is now being sold in Europe and the USA (see


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