GIS Day 2017 stories across Canada: GIS Ambassadors support spatial literacy

December 4, 2017 Angela Alexander

GIS Day is an opportunity for professionals and students to share the importance of maps and geography with others. This year, this special day was officially celebrated on November 15. However, many events were scheduled on other days. Read about how GIS Ambassadors across Canada are promoting the importance of spatial literacy to K-12 students in their communities.

GIS Day is a time to celebrate geography and maps. Every year, GIS Ambassadors get involved in promoting the importance of spatial literacy to K-12 students. This post will highlight some of the wonderful work GIS Ambassadors have done across Canada so far this year.

Esri Canada Education and Research group enjoyed the day with cake!

Ben Lee, GIS student at British Columbia Institute of Technology
Vancouver, BC

On October 12 and 16, GIS Ambassador Ben Lee presented to a group of Corrie-Ann Clutchey’s grade 12 students at Windermere Secondary School. In his first visit, Ben introduced them to GIS, its applications and career options, and he showed them the power of story maps. In the second visit, the students had an opportunity to learn how to use ArcGIS Online to create story maps.

Madoka Otani, Geomatics Product Manager from Information Services Corp
Regina, Saskatchewan

GIS Ambassador Madoka Otani worked with thirty grade three students at Jack Mackenzie Elementary School. She discussed maps and how they can be used to solve problems in the real world. The students did a hands-on activity where they created their own maps of their community.

Madoka Otani enjoyed her school visit with these grade three students at Jack Mackenzie Elementary School.

Hayleigh Conway, Geomatics Technician from Parks Canada
Garfield Giff, Manager, GIS Programs and Annika Trimble, Outreach Coordinator from the Aurora Research Institute

Inuvik, Northwest Territories
November 20-21

GIS Ambassador Hayleigh Conway, along with Garfield Giff and Annika Trimble, presented at East Three Secondary School. The group worked with eight classes over two days. They introduced the students to GIS, showing them different types of maps. In each session, the class was split into three groups, and the students were given 10 minutes to explore a station. The stations included:

  • Station 1: The students used activities to explore the Canadian Geographic Floor Map of the Boreal Forest.
  • Station 2: The students learned about satellites using 3D printed models; they were challenged to complete a puzzle of Canada, and they explored story maps, unmanned aerial vehicle videos and animations of caribou from Environmental and Natural Resources in the Northwest Territories.
  • Station 3: The students learned how to read a compass and played a game to practice moving in the cardinal directions.

Students working through the stations on GIS Day at East Three Secondary School.

Rod Epp and Pat Adams, Education Consultants from Manitoba Education and Training
Winnipeg, Manitoba

On November 14, 2017, GIS Ambassadors Rod Epp and Pat Adams were involved in a Manitoba Education and Training GIS Day initiative. Forty teachers participated in this day of learning about the impact of residential schools and how to integrate inquiry into their classrooms using ArcGIS Online tools.

Based on the “Secret Path” an animated film adaptation of Gord Downie's album and Jeff Lemire's graphic novel, teachers were shown how to design an interactive story map to highlight the arduous fatal trek taken by a young residential school student, Chanie Wenjack, as he tried make his way from the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School in Kenora back to his family in Ogoki Post, which is 400 miles away. Maps showing the interplay between the past and the present experiences of Indigenous students were also shown to tell the stories of the distances Indigenous students travel today to receive an education.

Jennifer Link, Senior Software Developer from TriTech Software Systems
Thunder Bay, Ontario

On October 17, GIS Ambassador Jennifer Link worked with grade nine students at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School on a Survey123 activity. They visited Mount McKay to collect data on vegetation, climate and soil information on two different plots. One plot was located on the north face and the other plot was located on the south face of the mountain. The students measured the height and width of trees, did a tree inventory to include the number of trees and scanned the floor for vegetation while looking at the soil health. The information was entered into Survey123, including location data and images. Jennifer will be working with the students again in December to show them how to explore their collected data in ArcGIS Online and to display their findings in a story map.

Eric Chiasson, Strategic Advisor from Esri Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

On November 15, GIS Ambassador Eric Chiasson visited École élémentaire catholique Saint-Rémi in Kanata and presented to four classes of students between grades four to six. He demonstrated how to create story maps in ArcGIS Online.  The students had an opportunity to use their new ArcGIS Online accounts to explore ArcGIS Online and to create their own web maps.

Eric Chiasson presented the importance of maps and GIS to four classes of students between grades four to six on GIS Day.

Frank King, GIS Consultant from Kenny & King Consulting Inc.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

On November 15, GIS Ambassador Frank King demonstrated ArcGIS Online to two classes of grade seven students at the Oxford School. The students explored many cool maps and web apps, including the following:

Students at Oxford School exploring cool maps and apps during GIS Day.

Paul Elliot, Ocean Mapping Program from Memorial University
Newfoundland and Labrador

On November 15, GIS Ambassador Paul Elliot planned a series of demonstrations that promoted the use of GIS within the ocean mapping sector. K-12 teachers and students were invited to join in the festivities throughout the day and had a chance to explore ArcGIS Online web apps.

K-12 student at Memorial University GIS Day trying her luck on an ArcGIS Online Geography Treasure Hunt.

Explore the GIS Day 2017 story map to view other events across Canada. 

About the Author

Angela Alexander

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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