GeoCarta Has Moved

Oct 10, 2007

High School Students Learn to see Things Differently in GIS Course

Two California high schools are using GIS to educate students about their community as well as the technology systems used by decision-makers in a new program.

The North County Times has more:

After spending two months analyzing maps, studying topography and cataloging information by locations, Valley Center High School sophomore Abraham Chambers said he sees his city in a whole new light -- from above.

Abraham, 16, is one of 60 students enrolled in a new Geographic Information Systems course at Valley Center and Fallbrook high schools that brings high-tech computer hardware and software used for environmental research and urban planning into the classroom. The class aims to educate students about the community and the technology systems used by decision-makers. It was introduced to the campuses this year after the districts secured a two-year, $450,000 career-technical education grant from the state in 2005.

"This has opened my eyes to a whole different realm of what (computerized maps) can be used for," Abraham said Monday, as he built a map of Valley Center with recently released San Diego Land Use and Management Data.

With the help of Global Positioning System software and the computerized mapping database, provided by a Redlands-based Geographic Information Systems software company -- Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. -- students learn how to take satellite images of an area and turn them into their own maps that chart trends and store information on everything from crime data to water sources.

Some of the projects the students have worked on include locating all the possible helicopter pads for pilots making emergency landings, mapping popular surfing beaches against known shark attacks and identifying all area water sources. Students who pass the course with an A or B earn course credits for the introductory Geographic Information Systems course at Palomar Community College.

See also: Using GPS to Turn Kids on to Geography

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