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Highlighting the use of GIS in K-12 education at the Esri Canada User Conferences

The Esri Canada User Conferences are a great way to learn about the latest updates of Esri technology. It is also an opportunity to find out how K-12 students in Canada are using GIS in and out of the classroom. This post will cover three of the fall user conferences that included K-12 education presentations. Each one featured a presentation by high school students who are engaged in using GIS in their learning.

Every year, professionals and students attend Esri Canada User Conferences. It’s a great opportunity for them to network with others, learn what’s new with ArcGIS and  share how they are using Esri technology in their work.

During the plenary at a select number of conferences each year, K-12 students present an activity or project they have completed using GIS, and they share how they are using GIS in their learning. This fall, there have been three education presentations. Find out how these students have used ArcGIS Online to learn about topics tied to the curriculum.


Going Global: Taking Education Outside the Classroom – Teacher Daniel Martinic and his students Emily Gittens, Justin Kamal and Branavi Raveendran from St. Augustine Secondary School presented at the Esri Canada User Conference in Toronto on October 18. The presentation highlighted projects they have done using ArcGIS Online that focus on urban, local and global issues. Story maps were created to show their project findings.

Esri Canada president Alex Miller, K-12 Teaching & Learning Manager Jean Tong, teacher Dan Martinic and his students at the Toronto Esri Canada User Conference on October 18.


Field Trip Data Collection for Geographic Inquiry with Survey123 – Teacher Craig Brumwell’s students Annabel Turner, Sofia Warrington, Miriam Mivasair and Michelle Cruickshank from Kitsilano Secondary School presented at the Esri Canada User Conference in Vancouver on November 9. The presentation highlighted their use of Survey123 to collect data to better understand how the physical, natural and human environments interact in the Howe Sound region. They included maps and surveys from the Sea to Sky gondola field trip they went on to collect data for the project.

Kitsilano Secondary School’s map displaying the data collected from the Sea to Sky Gondola project.


Analyzing Human and Environmental interactions using GIS – Teacher Bruce Miller and his students Kiera Doyle, Alex Conrad, Becca Clark, Campbell Hart and Sophie Blondin from Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre and Academy presented at the Esri Canada User Conference in Halifax on November 14. The presentation focused on their project about the deaths of right whales in the Gulf of the St Lawrence. Students used ArcGIS Online to create web maps and analyze the data and story maps to showcase their findings.

Students from Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre and Academy working on their right whale project using ArcGIS Online.

Explore this story map that highlights these K-12 education presentations and others from previous years.

A call out to all teachers using GIS in their teaching and for student learning: share with us your stories, and we may highlight your work in a future blog post, or you may be selected to present at an Esri Canada User Conference in the following year. Contact for more information.

If you are interested in learning more about GIS and would like to get started today, sign up for an ArcGIS account at, and try one of the introductory tutorials:

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.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander