Saturday, January 31, 2009

Geographical Association and ESRI (UK) launch

ESRI (UK) and the Geographical Association has launched GIS for A-level Geography, the first A-level GIS (Geographical Information Systems) teaching resource created for the UK market.

GIS became part of the national A-level curriculum in September last year and GIS for A-level Geography has been designed specifically to support this syllabus development. Consisting of a text book, exercises and ESRI’s industry-standard GIS software, teachers and students now have access to a comprehensive GIS teaching aid. Previously, GIS text books in English were only published in North America.

Produced by the GA (Geographical Association) in collaboration with ESRI (UK), the UK’s leading GIS provider, the book is a complete guide to the theory and applications of GIS, with five practical exercises described step-by-step. It includes ESRI ArcView 9.2 software with a 12-month license, plus a DVD of digital map data for England. The new teaching resource costs £29.35 (GA members) £39.14 (non-members). Normally, the ESRI software alone would cost £100 if bought separately.

Written by Dr Peter O’Connor, Head of Geography at Bishop’s Stortford College and a member of the Geographical Association ICT Working Group, GIS for A-level Geography is available now from the Geographical Association via

David Lambert, Professor of Geography Education and Chief Executive of the Geographical Association, explains: "GIS are the most powerful set of software tools in existence for the analysis and visualisation of spatial information and are central to the application of geography to real-world problem solving. The growing importance of GIS is reflected in the new A-level specifications, all of which include modules that revolve around teaching and understanding of methods of geographical investigation. GIS for A-level geography is a great addition to our catalogue and offers A-level geography students an accessible introduction to industry standard GIS."

The book describes how governments, organisations and individuals are using GIS to grapple with increasingly complex social, economic and environmental problems. It then develops students’ GIS skills through the use of ESRI (UK)’s GIS software. An understanding of GIS plays a crucial role in introducing students to modern methods of spatial data capture, processing, analysis and presentation. Many chapters in the book can be used as case study material to reinforce students’ learning about the different stages of a geographical investigation.

Author Dr Peter O’Connor said: "GIS is helping students become better geographers because it cuts to the heart of what geography is about; the visualisation and analysis of spatial information. It is my hope that this book will provide new opportunities for students to develop their skills of geographical analysis to a level not previously achievable in schools. In this way, GIS in the classroom can enhance the sophistication of geographical learning by allowing pupils to access real data to tackle real problems. This helps Geography to remain relevant and gives students opportunities to use the subject in a way that stretches and challenges them."

"New technologies like GIS give a boost to the subject of geography, helping to arm young people with a new set of skills – not just ICT-related – but the mental skills needed for data analysis and problem solving, highly relevant to a whole host of educational paths and occupations," commented Angela Baker, Community Programmes Manager, ESRI (UK). "GIS for A-level Geography represents good value as it includes the software and exercises plus all map data required to run them. I encourage teachers to take advantage of this wonderful resource that is set to raise standards of GIS learning in schools."

Sample pages:

GIS for A-level Geography can be purchased by:
Telephone: 0114 296 0088

Notes to editors:
Author: Dr Peter O’Connor
Level: AS and A level
224-page book plus two CDs
Price inc VAT: £29.35 (GA members) £39.14 (non-members)
ISBN 978-1-84377-210-1
Note: This resource is available in the UK only due to software licensing

Press enquiries to:
Lucre Communications
Sian Fletcher Tel: 0113 243 1117 / Mob: 07904 634554
Ian Pearson Tel: 020 8974 5967 / Mob: 07799 412572

About the Geographical Association
The GA is a lively subject association with a proud history of innovation and an unrivalled understanding of geography teaching. Geography tackles the big issues: environmental responsibility; global interdependence; cultural understanding and tolerance; commerce, trade and industry. It helps us make sense of our complex world.

The GA promotes, supports and develops geography teaching at all levels, from new teachers in their initial training to geography subject leaders in primary schools and heads of department in secondary schools. Most members join the GA for the advice and resources they need every day in the classroom. We support them via termly journals, in print and online; local and national curriculum development projects; an Annual Conference; and a wide range of published resources, with much reduced prices for members.

For more info please visit or

About ESRI
ESRI develops GIS software which helps organisations make better decisions through the management and analysis of any type of geographic or location-based information. The company’s software is running on more than one million desktop computers and thousands of web and enterprise servers, providing the backbone for the world’s digital mapping and spatial analysis needs.

The world’s fourth largest privately-owned software company, ESRI was founded in 1969 and is the world’s largest company dedicated to creating GIS (geographic information systems) software. Operating in 150 countries with over 4,000 staff, ESRI has more than 350,000 customers and revenues of $660m (2006 fig).

ESRI (UK) represents the country’s single largest pool of GIS expertise. UK customers include the Environment Agency, Ministry of Defence, Ordnance Survey, RSA Group, Manchester Airport, Scottish Power, the Met Police and numerous schools/universities.

For more information please visit

ESRI in Education
Within the Education arena, GIS allows students and teachers to engage in studies that promote critical thinking, integrated learning, and multiple intelligences, at any age group. In classrooms across the country and around the world, educators are using GIS in the study of topics across the curriculum from Geography and Environmental Studies through to Economics and History. ESRI (UK) understands the importance of this use of GIS in Education and is committed to promoting GIS throughout the arena. ESRI (UK) has developed specially tailored software packages for schools and colleges and these are available through various channels to all educational establishments.


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