Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our World GIS Education books from ESRI Press

Adventures in geographic exploration await students using four new Our World GIS Education books and accompanying software and data from ESRI Press. Working with geographic information system (GIS) technology, they will analyze and map information to study the world around them, past and present. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan's expedition, the animal kingdom, hurricanes such as Katrina, and illiteracy rates are a few of the topics covered in Thinking Spatially Using GIS, Mapping Our World Using GIS, Analyzing Our World Using GIS, and Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS.

Using the books and working with GIS software from ESRI, students will learn to read and understand maps, analyze spatial patterns, map data, think critically, and solve problems. The lessons tie in to earth sciences, social studies, history, geography, environmental studies, and other subjects being taught in classrooms today.

The books will provide a strong GIS foundation for students of all educational levels, from elementary school pupils to college undergraduates. The lessons also fit into teachers' curricula, meeting National Geography, National Science, and National Technology standards. The series was inspired by and builds on the materials in Mapping Our World: GIS Lessons for Educators, the popular 2005 ESRI Press book geared to middle and high school students.

The new series' first three volumes, Thinking Spatially Using GIS, Mapping Our World Using GIS, and Analyzing Our World Using GIS, are teachers' editions and come with a CD or a DVD of GIS software and one student workbook. Additional workbooks can be ordered from ESRI Press. The fourth volume, Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS, is geared toward students attending college or technical school. The textbook contains a resource DVD with exercises and data and a software DVD. Instructors in the U.S. can request a desk copy of Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS with a companion DVD by contacting ESRI Press or calling 888-377-4575. The Web site, which will be updated often, offers resources and data, access to online technical software support, and instructional tips and tricks.

Thinking Spatially Using GIS (Level 1) introduces GIS software to the students while tying in conventional third- through sixth-grade topics. Students learn fundamental spatial concepts while they study zoo animals, Magellan's voyage, and tornadoes. The book comes with ESRI's ArcExplorer—Java Edition for Education for Windows and Macintosh on CD.

The second volume, Mapping Our World Using GIS (Level 2), updates the award-winning Mapping our World: GIS Lessons for Educators. Mainly written for middle and high school students, the book, which includes a one-year trial of ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 software from ESRI, teaches students how to navigate the ArcMap application and use GIS to investigate case studies that deal with geology, the climate, global population changes, and economics.

Analyzing Our World Using GIS (Level 3) also includes ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 software that will help high school and college students gain proficiency working with GIS and exploring geographic data. Besides learning to work with ArcMap, they will complete sophisticated workflows such as downloading and editing real-world data and analyzing patterns on maps. Exercises include determining how well the United Nations is meeting education goals for children, computing how many trees it would take to offset CO2 emissions from commuting, and studying earthquake patterns.

Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS (Level 4) goes beyond the basics to help upper-level students hone their GIS skills. They will receive scenario-based problems and related data to work through and then create maps and present decisions based on their GIS analysis. Some of the scenarios relate to crime statistics, hurricane damage, and hazardous materials spills. The book includes a 180-day trial of ArcGIS Desktop 9.2.

The Our World GIS Education series provides many valuable lessons including learning a technology that many government agencies and private businesses use today and will depend on even more in the future. GIS is also a great way to get computer-savvy children interested in their regular studies.

During an ESRI podcast, Roger and Anita M. Palmer, educational consultants who coauthored two of the books, said the Our World GIS Education series will appeal to teachers who want to teach GIS within a standards-based curriculum. The Palmers also said that they've been successful at introducing many groups of students to GIS.

"GIS is for every student, whether you have a learning challenge or are identified as gifted or talented," Anita Palmer said. "GIS is attainable for all students."

Thinking Spatially Using GIS (ISBN: 978-1-58948-180-0, 290 pages, $49.95), written by Eileen J. Napoleon and Erin A. Brook; Mapping Our World Using GIS (ISBN: 978-1-58948-181-7, 228 pages, $49.95), coauthored by Roger and Anita M. Palmer, Lyn Malone, and Christine L. Voigt; Analyzing Our World Using GIS (ISBN: 978-1-58948-182-4, 158 pages, $49.95), written by Roger and Anita M. Palmer, Lyn Malone, and Christine L. Voigt; and

Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS (ISBN: 978-1-58948-183-1, 212 pages, $49.95), by Kathryn Keranen and Dr. Robert Kolvoord, are available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.


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