What is GIS?


A geographic information system (GIS) is a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a tool that allows users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyze the spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems, taught in degree and GIS Certificate programs at many universities.
Geographic information system technology can be used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, Environmental Impact Assessment, Urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing, and logistics. For example, GIS might allow emergency planners to easily calculate emergency response times in the event of a natural disaster, GIS might be used to find wetlands that need protection from pollution, or GIS can be used by a company to site a new business to take advantage of a previously underserved market. (Source: Wikipedia)


What is GPS?


The Global Positioning System (GPS) is currently the only fully functional Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Utilizing a constellation of at least 24 medium Earth orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals, the system enables a GPS receiver to determine its location, speed and direction. GPS has become a widely used aid to navigation worldwide, and a useful tool for map-making, land surveying, commerce, and scientific uses. GPS also provides a precise time reference used in many applications including scientific study of earthquakes, and synchronization of telecommunications networks. (Source: Wikipedia)

Put this GIS and GPS together - it becomes Geocaching.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. Today, well over 440,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the sport. Geocaches are currently placed in 222 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. (Source: Wikipedia)
The videocast below explains some more:



What's out there?
http://www.geocaching.com/
http://geocaching.com.au/ and its support wiki - http://wiki.geocaching.com.au/wiki/Geocaching_Australia
http://www.gsa.org.au/
http://www.earthcache.org/

Downloading Waypoints to your handheld device - http://www.geocaching.com/waypoints/
Setting Up Your First Cache - http://www.geocaching.com/about/hiding.aspx

Introduction to Geocaching:


Earth Cache Manual Teachers Guide - http://rock.geosociety.org/Earthcache/teacherGuide.htm

ESRI Resources
Teachers Package for GIS
http://www.esri.com/industries/k-12/download/docs/explore.pdf

Basic Lessons for Year 5 to 9 students:
http://sciencespot.net/Media/GPSHideSeek.pdf
http://sciencespot.net/Media/GPSMappingRefuge.pdf

Amazing Race
http://sciencespot.net/Media/amazrace.pdf
A PowerPoint presentation that I used to introduce the race is also available.

Geocaches in Queensland
http://geocaching.com.au/cache/ga0990
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GCZZD7
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC122CV

Biocaching Coonarr Environs
(a great day at the beach with your class or your family)

Student Copy (no toys on list)
Teacher Copy (with toys listed)


Garmin GPs - Manual - http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrex_QuickStartGuide.pdf

How to use your Garmin GPS





How to take your KML and add it to Google Earth




Virtual Earth Widget:



My Location - using Google Maps on your mobile phone (its in beta - but sounds great)



Mapping and GPS Resources:

Example from a Geography class - on teacher.tv - http://www.teachers.tv/video/3099
Satellite and Earth Images -
Flash Earth - http://www.flashearth.com/
Google Maps - http://maps.google.com.au/maps
Google Earth - a free software download is required - http://earth.google.com/
NASA's World Wind - a free download is required - http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/

Widget for GPS - GPSies - http://www.gpsies.com/home.do#4|-25.274398|133.775136
An online resource where you add your GPS coordinates for a track of your own.

Create-A-Scape (http://www.createascape.org.uk/)
This is an award winning fun tool that can be downloaded and used to create geo-tagged mediascapes of local locations. Site includes detailed tutorials and demo movies that explain mediascapes and how to create them.

Platial Maps

http://platial.com/
Platial maps, The People's Guide to Who and What's Nearby, a free resource where hundreds of thousands of people around the world share and discover all kinds of Places. Anyone can map just about anything including their towns, lives, travels, feeds, files, photos, video and stories in one simple interface. Lots of fun to use - it is like Google Maps but with a social networking addition.



Using Google Earth

http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/08/back_to_school.html
video tutorial - http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2008/01/video_tutorials_for_google_earth.html
the basics - http://www.gearthblog.com/basics.html
Google Earth is an interactive mapping application that allows users to navigate (or "fly") the entire globe, viewing satellite imagery with overlays of roads, buildings, geographic features, and the like. Educators can use it to assess and bolster students' visual literacy. Students can use it to develop a context for spatial and cultural differences globally. (Source: http://www.educause.edu/ELI/7ThingsYouShouldKnowAboutGoogl/156822)