COLUMBIA, Mo. — Interactive maps have become a part of daily life via computers, smartphones and GPS units and when coupled with demographic and environmental data, the maps become powerful research tools. Those tools are now available to Missouri students as they start the new school year. All K-12 schools and certified youth programs in the state now have free access to data and detailed maps provided by a Geographic Information System (GIS), thanks to the Missouri Geographic Alliance, which is hosted by the University of Missouri. Besides offering students and teachers a plethora of educational possibilities, the experience with GIS also will give students valuable experiences in a growing field of employment.
“Name something you want to know more about, and GIS can help you understand how it plays out in the real world and relates to other factors,” MU geographer Shannon White said. “Students and teachers will be able to create their own research projects on topics as diverse as regional nutrition, political divisions, environmental change, agriculture and urban planning. Instead of just reading a book about these topics students will be able to explore them and create their own maps using GIS. Since the system is constantly updated, it won’t go out of date like a textbook.”
White recently coordinated with ESRI, a GIS provider, to bring free GIS to all Missouri schools and youth programs like the Boy Scouts and 4-H. Schools and organizations must register online (gis.missouri.org) to be granted access to the software. Materials can be either downloaded or mailed.
Read the full article on University of Missouri site : K-12 Students to Receive Free High-Tech Mapping Software Courtesy of MU Geographer’s Collaborations