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3 Apps that will engage students to explore their world

Are you looking for fun GIS activities to try out in the fall with the new tablets your school bought last year? Well check out the free Esri applications that can be easily downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and quickly incorporated into your teaching. Use them to explore a community problem, create a survey based on a class project or to map a class trip.

Summer is an ideal time to try out new activities that can be used in the classroom. Using GIS in your teaching doesn’t mean you’re limited to a laptop or desktop computer. Install one of the Esri applications on your smartphone or tablet and try incorporating them into fun GIS activities with your students in the fall.


Snap2Map is an Esri application (app) that allows you to create a map tour story map with photos that are stored on your smartphone or tablet. It is available for Android and IOS. Find out how easy it is to use this app by watching this video demo.

To use this app, you must have an ArcGIS Online subscription account. Find out how you can access an ArcGIS Online subscription for K-12 Education.

Snap2Map is an app that allows you to create a map tour story map with photos that are stored on your smartphone or tablet.

Collector for ArcGIS

Collector for ArcGIS is an Esri app that allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to collect and update information in the field, log your current location and use the data you capture so you can make more informed decisions. You can take your maps and data offline and sync your collected data when you are reconnected. This app is available for Android and iOS. You must have an ArcGIS Online subscription account to use it.

When using the Collector for ArcGIS app, you can follow the geographic inquiry process to study an issue around your school. An example of this is an event in Brandon, Manitoba where students collected and mapped the garbage they found in their community. 

Use the Collector app tutorial to find out how you can get started today.

Survey123 for ArcGIS

Survey123 for ArcGIS allows you to create a survey that you and your students can use to collect data that will be represented on a map. Surveys allow students to collaborate on class projects like locating the best place for a community garden on the school grounds and evaluating safety in and around the school.

Educators – you can set up your classroom survey today in a few easy steps:

  1. Sign in to Survey 123 for ArcGIS using your ArcGIS Online subscription account.

  2. Set up the survey (Students can be involved in creating the questions for the survey) on your computer and share it  members in your organization, so other users can access it

  3. Download the app for Android or IOS on your smartphone or tablet

  4. You’re ready to use the app.

  5. When you and your students are done collecting data, you can go back to Survey123 on your computer, sign in with your ArcGIS Online account and view the results on a map.


  1. They will download the Survey123 for ArcGIS app and find the survey your teacher created

  2. They will use the survey and collect data.

Find out how you can set up your own survey today!

Survey 123 for ArcGIS is an ideal app to use in a collaborative classroom project.

If you have any questions about these activities or anything else, contact

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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