Improving Local GIS – CGT3O

Here is a culminating activity lesson plan I made for a CGT3O Introduction to Spatial Technologies unit:


A pretty word document is available for you:


Curriculum Objectives CGT3O:

A1.5 use the concepts of geographic thinking (i.e., spatial significance, patterns and trends, inter­relationships, geographic perspective) when analysing and evaluating data and information, formulating conclusions, and making judgements about issues they are investigating through the use of spatial technologies

A1.9 use appropriate terminology when communicating the results of their investiga­tions

A1.6 evaluate and synthesize their findings to formulate conclusions and/or make informed judgements or predictions about the issues they are investigating

A1.7 communicate their ideas, arguments, and conclusions using various formats and styles, as appropriate for the audience and purpose

A2.2 apply in everyday contexts skills and work habits developed through geographic investigation

D2.2 apply a variety of spatial technologies to identify patterns and trends related to selected global issues, and explain how these trends might affect their local community or area

D2.1 interpret global maps, remote sensing data (e.g., from the NASA Earth Observatory website), and satellite images to analyse relationships between some major physical features of the world, areas of human settlement and activity, and variations in selected climatic variables


We are assessing the students’ ability to:

  • formulate ideas and opinions about GIS and maps
  • represent factual information in a visual oral and written manner,
  • work as a member of a team
  • conceptually understand of the interdependence of regions
  • find data from reliable sources
  • formulate questions for inquiry

Common misconceptions:

  • All GIS information on the internet is valid for geographic inquiry
  • GIS exploration of other cultures is not important to where we live
  • All maps are valid

Equipment Required:

  • valid educational texts on GIS, Maps and Geography
  • computers with access to internet
  • presentation software
  • presentation materials


  • Library with computers, internet access and ample space for creating physical presentations

Possible Topics:


  • Forest Health (invasive species, climate change)
  • Population Density
  • Trail Systems
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Topography
  • Bathymetry
  • Demographics (culture, socioeconomic status)
  • Human HHealth (epidemics, access to medical care)
  • Meteorology (weather patterns, climate)
  • Ecosystems/Biomes
  • Business applications (customer locations, target markets)


Assessment As Learning – Guided Inquiry

Students should work in pairs to maximize topic depth. Allow students to select a subtopic from one of these topics. Try to promote as many topics as possible for a richer learning experience for the entire group.

Allow students to decide what resources they will use and guide them towards legitimate sources of information. Allow students to decide how they wish to present their topic.

The minimum criteria to meet can be summarized as the 5 W’s and H with example questions to guide the students:


Who is the authority on GIS in our local/provincial/national region?

Who benefits from learning about GIS?


What GIS data is available in our region?

What is it used for?


Where does the funding for research, exploration and application of GIS come from?

Where do we need to focus on for future GIS improvement?


When was  GIS “discovered” or made relevant in our region?


Why is it important for your topic to be known?

Why is GIS needed in our area?

Why do we need to consult GIS data from other regions to guide our future GIS initiatives?


How can we solve problems in our region using data from other regions?

How can future students and geographers benefit from this work?

How can this activity make you a better person, even if you never work in this field?

Students should be encouraged to  explain as much as possible in their own words so that people understand them.

Here is a brief overview of what students can do:

Step 1. Take a look at local maps (in print or online). See what body of information we already have.


Step 2. Choose a map from another region that showcases data or imagery that our region has not.


Step 3. Present this region’s GIS data and imagery to the group, and propose a way we can work to improve our regional GIS with the help of local/regional/federal government and community partners.


Step 4. Reflect on your learning  of what you knew, what you know and still want to learn about GIS in the region.

Assessment Of Learning – Communication and Cooperation Skills

Have students assess their own contributions to the project as well as their peers. This will impact the teacher’s final assessment.

Students will be responsible for orally, visually and textually representing their findings to the class. As per presentation etiquette, a short question period should be allowed after each presentation.

Students will also be assessed on their willingness to discuss the presentations of other groups.

Finally, students will self-reflect on what they knew, what they now know and what they wish to know about GIS in their community.



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