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This is an Au thor's Accepted Manuscript of a chapter to be published in How to STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Libraries Carol Smallwood, Vera Gubnitskaia, co edito rs. Forthcoming from Scarecrow Press Celebrating Geographic Information Systems through GIS Day @ Your Library by Carol Patterson McAuliffe Overview GIS Day celebrates geographic information system s (GIS), a technology that incorporates elements from all four STEM subject areas. Not only doe s GIS provide a valuable multidisciplinary tool for STEM educators, it is also an opportunity for libraries to highlight their GIS resources for STEM students and professionals. Organizing a GIS Day event at your library will educate the general public, sc hools, and academic communities about GIS technology and applications, which make a difference in their lives. This chapter includes: An introduction to GIS and its importance The connection between GIS and STEM education GIS Day @ Your Library: a step by step guide Helpful resources GIS: An Introduction GIS technology is a multidisciplinary tool used to organize, manipulate, and analyze spatial information. Any data that has a spatial component can be visualized using GIS. Here are a few basic facts to hel p you understand GIS technology and its importance
1) GIS utilizes layers of geographic data. These data layers are linked to tables, which include specific attributes in addition to geographic coordinates. Multiple layers of geo referenced information al low the user to identify and study spatial relationships. 2) GIS is a p roblem solving tool. Almost every major issue we are facing today is spatially relevant. Crisis mana gement, environmental modeling, urban planning and wildlife conservation are among the many diverse fields that use GIS to study and solve critical issues 3) GIS is on the rise. The use of GIS in interactive online maps such as GoogleMaps has increased interest in geography based technologies. GIS puts the power of map creation into t he hands of the public, including educators and students. The wide use of global positioning systems (GPS) in smartphones and other navigational devices has also increased public awareness. One common misconception is that GIS and GPS are interchangeable t erms However, GPS is a specific technology which uses transmitters and trilateration to get exact locations on the earth via a network of satellites. GPS is used for navigation and to collect location based data The geographic data that is used in GIS is often collected through the use of GPS technology. Making the connection between GIS and STEM Education Advancements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics were vital to the d evelopment of GIS technology. However, GIS also gives back to eac h of the STEM fields by creating new ave nues for study and advancement. For instance, Gilbrook (1999 34 ) highlights the importance of GIS to engineering,
from a variety of disciplines to create comprehe nsive, accurate, and efficient environmental reports for transportation projects Studies also suggest that GIS enhances the understanding of STEM subjects by students ( Wai, Lubinski, and Benbow 2009, 817 ) spatial thinking is associated with sk ill and 29) GIS is STEM applied. GIS allows practical application of STEM subjects in a problem solving context while encouraging critical and analytical thinking. GIS enables STEM students to practice what STEM pr ofessionals do in their jobs everyday ( Baker 2012 ) GIS Day @ Your Library GIS data collections and services are now being offered in many libraries. As purveyors of information, libraries have the responsibility to educate their users about GIS technolog y and its application. According to Weimer, Olivares, and Bedenbaugh (2012, 42) GIS Day ...afford excellent opportunities to promote both the library itself and specific services where they exist Every November, the Wednesday of Geog raphy Awareness Week is dedicated to celebrating GIS and educating the public about its application. This is an opportunity for libraries t o take the lead in introducing ST EM students to GIS technology. Libraries can be a central place for many in the comm unity to learn about GIS. The Steps First of all, you do not have to be an expert in GIS to organize a GIS Day. You just need to 1 ) u nderstan d wh y GIS is an important tool, 2) b uild your team (including experts ) and 3)
focus on learning goals and having f un Everyone has to start somewhere and it is the same for organizing your own GIS Day Event. Phase 1: Defining the scope of your GIS Day Event Step 1 : Goals The objectives of your GIS Day event should align both to t he intended purpose of GIS Day as we ll as the mission of your library Some common goals are: To increase awareness of GIS including how it is being used in research and in practical applicatio ns to improve the community To provide a forum where local companies, organizatio ns, agencies, and those w ho use GIS can share their work To provide educational outreach to schools and to build GIS technology knowledge and skill set s in students To highlight the usefulness of GIS to STEM students and professionals To promote GIS and ge ography related collections and services to your library patrons Step 2: Audience In addition to the primary population you serve, you may consider broadening your audience to include other user groups in your community For example, a university event co uld invite K 12 classes to attend. Defining your audience will guide your planning for specific activities and venue requirements for the event. Step 3 : Stakeholders Understanding who the stakeholders might be will help determine your planning team and c ommunity partners G ather information about who in your
community uses GIS and would potentially be interested in participating in the event. If you are focusing your GIS Day event on STEM subjects, remember to ask STEM professionals about how they use GIS Stakeholders can be those who are directly or indirectly impacted by GIS Phase 2: Planning Your GIS Day Step 1: Get administrative support. If possible, talk to your supervisor in person about your GIS Day proposal. Having a one page summary outlining t he scope (goals, audience, and stakeholders) will help Step 2 : Recruit your planning committee The research you put into defining your stakeholders comes to fruition when recrui ting your planning committee. It is important to get as wide a representation of interests on the committee as possible Possible members to include: O ther library s taff Academic faculty or graduate s tudents interested in GIS Teachers who are interested in using GIS in their classrooms Members of s pecial interest groups, such as a Geog raphy Student Association or a g eocaching c lub Volunteers from the public who are interested in GIS Once you have recruited your planning committee, set up a planning meeting. During your meeting explain the scope of your project as defined during Phas e 1 Step 3 : Brainstorming. There are multiple elements to your GIS Day which require input from you r committee including who your community partners will be and which events you would l ike to include in your GIS Day. Below are just a few examples of commu nity
partners and potential activities that you may want to consider for GIS Day @ Your Library. Community Partners: Schools : Education plays a central role in any GIS Day celebration. For that reason, no matter what kind of library you work in, a GIS D ay celebration often involves pa rticipation from one or more educational sectors, either primary, secondary (including AP classes ), and /or higher education. Students can be invited to submit digita l mapping projects or posters. Professors at universities c an be encouraged to give their students extra credit for attending GIS Day events. Commercial : Local businesses can be helpful partners for GIS Day. Surveyors, GIS specialists, geologists, archeologists, civil engineers, and landscape engineering firms are just a few of the commercial professions that have an interest in GIS and furthering GIS education. Increasing awareness about what they do and how they do it can be a compelling re ason to them to get involved. Government : Local city and county planners, water management districts, and other government agencies such as the United States Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Ser vice have GIS experts on staff that are often willing to be involved with a local GIS Day event.
Community Groups : Th ere may be special interest or student groups interested in participa ting in a GIS Day celebration. For instance, many communities have local geocaching groups. Geocaching has become a popular activity with the rise of smartphone and GPS technology and lo cal groups involved in the hobby can help you plan a geo caching activity for your GIS Day. Student groups interested in STEM subjects are also a good source for collaboration. Activities : Speakers/ Presentations. Y our stakeholders and community partners are good potential speakers and presenters. Remember that if you do not have money in the budget for honorarium s, then your presenters will most likely have to be local When thinking about what kinds of presentations you would like to include, be sure to con sider your audience and their knowledge level and ask speakers to tailor their presentations to meet your needs. Consider giving them a theme that will connect all the speakers together, such as how GIS is used in STEM fields Career Fair. With interest in GIS jobs on the rise, career and information fairs can generate a lot of interest C ontact businesses that employ GIS professionals well in advance if you would like to invite them to set up a booth at a career fair. Games. F un and interactive element s for your GIS Day celebration could include geocaching (a scavenger hunt carried out using GPS units) and/ or geodash ing ( a race using GPS units to a find a predetermined location ).
P oster Sessions and Map Contests. Invited poster sess ions from university students and faculty can be used to show case a wide range of GIS a pplications in research. Maps contests are a great way for students to show off their work in GIS but make sure you bud get in some money for prizes Workshops. Worksho ps can be a helpful way to serve a wide range of user needs. They can be used for a basic introduction to GIS or to cover more advanced topics. Libraries can also take advantage of workshops to highlight their GIS services and resources. Step 4 : Consider l ogistics Once you have brainstormed events and partners and decided who m and what you want to include, it i s time to figure out the venue refreshments and your budget. Venue. When considering a venue, the anticipated size of your audience and activitie s you will wan t to include are key factors. If you are having a speaker series, you will need a venue that includes a computer, projector, and screen along with presentation software. Workshops will need a computer lab with GIS software installed (see Help ful Resources). Remember every activity does not have to happen in the same location and some thi ngs can happen simultaneously. For example, you may want to schedule a beginners GIS workshop and an advanced GIS workshop at the same t ime since the intended overlap. Also, if possible, reserve the venue for your GIS Day the afternoon before. That way setting up chairs and hanging posters can be done beforehand. Refreshments. Refreshments can be a good way to draw in crowds and to offer a nice break for particip ants If you have the money, consider getting a large cake
with the GIS D ay logo printed on it. Cakes can feed a lot of people at an affordable price. Budget. M oney will be a limiting factor in your GIS Day celebration. Since GIS has a lot of support in various fields, seek corporate or local business partners to cosponsor the celebration with the library. Step 5 Establish a timeline Officially, GIS Day is celebrated on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week every November. It is helpful from a marketing standpoint to tie it to the international event date but if another date works better for your library, then do what works for you! On c e you have decided on a date, i t is best to begin the process up to 6 months in advance The main considerations when forming your timeline are scheduling your speakers and venue(s). A dditional time requirements will vary depending on what events you have decide d to includ e Phase 3: Implementing your plan Step 1: Contact stakeholders and form partnerships As soon as possible, let your stakeholders and partners know about your plans. T he quicker they can get an event o nto their calendar s the more likely it is that the y will be able to participate. Continue to build support as yo u go along and continue to contact new stakeholders as you discover them. You never know who your biggest champion will be Step 2: Marketing Similar to list ing books in a library cat alog so that they can be found, marketing is necessary for your audience to find out about your event Marketing i deas : Webpage. H aving a dedicated page on your library website will naturally increase awar eness of your event. Weimer et al. (20 12 52 ) suggests the following for GIS Day webpages:
o Write the pages in HTML so that they are accessible to search engines o I nclude pictures and /or videos of people inter acting with GIS technology o K eep past GIS Day pages live once they have b een created so that people searching for GIS Day events have a better chance of finding out about yours Register your GIS Day event on the official GIS Day website (search worldwide GIS Day celebration) Create a geocache. Having a geocache hidden on library grounds whi ch people can find using clues and GPS devices is a good way to increase interest in GIS and related technologies Day. Be sure t o register it on so that interested people can find it Mobilize your s takeholders. with your stakeholders and remind them to spread the word to other interested parties. More than half the battle is getting information abo ut your event to the rig ht eyes and ears. S tep 3. Organize and Delegate Organization and delegation should be occurring throughout the pla nning and implementing phases. However, here are some tips to help keep you on top of the event. Keep a contact list. A running list of names, contact information, and affiliation s will help you keep in touch with the right parties as well as be a valuable resource for years to come. C ontinue to update your timeline. An established timeline is necessary in the planning phase (see Phas e 2) but it As more specific
information comes to light about deadlines, keep your planning team upd ated through a shared calendar. Printing Remember to print out signs, flyers, and evalu ation forms well in advance of your event. Also, i n dividualized itineraries for teachers who are bringing along classes of children can be helpf ul and cut down on confusion. Extra credit. P rovid e teachers with an example extra credit assignment on your webpage to further encourage participation. Speaker n eeds. If you are having a speaker series, make sure you get the bio graphical inf ormation before the big day. A sk them to send you their presentation s via email as a backup and so that they can be preloaded onto the pre sentation computer Delegate Divide up responsibilities for specific activities among m embers of your team such as the speake r series and geocaching game Step 4: Tackling the GIS Day Celebration Finally, the big day arrives! There are always last minut e things to take care of on the morning of a big event but at some point you just have to hold on and enjoy the ride. Tips for the day : Have business cards ready Provide name tags and water for the presenters as well as for your helpers Make sure you test out AV e quipment the evaluation forms and assign someone to count attendees hourly rather than just once the entire day Have fun! It is very rewarding to see al l your hard work come together
Phase 4: Wrap Up Step 1: Thank Y ou Letters S end out thank you messages to those who actively participated in your GIS Day soon after the event Stakeholders will appreciate your acknowledgement of their help and it will pave the way for future collaborations Step 2. Assessment of Feedback. Thoroughly analyze the feedback given on the evaluation forms to and to get ideas for the future What to ask on the evaluation form: Which event activities did you attend? How did y ou hear about GIS Day? What information did you find the most useful? Least useful? What kinds of activities would you like to see at future GIS Day even ts? Did the event meet your expectations ? How could this GIS Day event have be en improved ? Step 3: Wrap u p m eeting Conduct a wrap up meeting with your planning team. Discuss successes along with failures. Being able to admi t shortcomings will help you improve your GIS Day event in the future. St ep 4: Pre p lanning for next year. Since GIS Day is an annual e vent, look towards planning for next year. A one page write up of the event will help inform library administration about your successful outreach and will be a good marketing tool for next
Helpful Resources T here are resou r c es available to help you feel fully prepared for your GIS Day event One primary need is access to GIS, especially if you want to have hands on workshops. The major provider of GIS so ftware is Esri. They offer individual, student, and institutional site licenses for A rcGIS, their primary GIS software. Check with your institution to see if you already have access to ArcGIS. If it is not available, you can sign up for a personal account that will give you access to resources including free to use GIS progra m s. The Esri website says that with a free ArcGIS Online personal account you can create, store, and manage maps, apps, and data, and share them with others. You also get access to content shared by Esri and GIS users around the world ( ArcGIS Online Free Personal Account 2012 ). Another option is to use other free online apps such as GoogleEarth to demonstrate GIS principles. For additional help visit the official GIS Day website search: worldwide GIS Day celebration. On the website you will be able to: Register your GIS Day event Get the official GIS Day logo for use on promotional items Get additional activity ideas Find information on past GIS Day events at other institutions around the world Geocaching is a fun GIS Day activity. If you would like to conduct a geocaching game or set up a permanent geocache on your library grounds, l Geocaching The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site You will be able to find a hel pful introduction to geocaching called area.
Finally, t o further study the connection between GIS and STEM subjects, check out these online resources. Information about the relationship between GIS and STEM, including examples of projects from STEM fields using GIS http://edcommunity.esri.com/stem/ A n educational map http://downloads2.esri.com/EdComm2007/gallery/STEM/index.html enter for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education Outreach L and use GIS as a too l for middle http://www.is at.jmu.edu/stem/curriculum.html Conclusion While undertaking an event like GIS Day can seem daunting, there are many valuable outcomes that make it worthwhile. GIS Day @ Your Library will allow you to highlight GIS technologies as well as any GIS or geogr aphy related services offered by your library It will also show the value of GIS as a tool for STEM fields. Studen ts studying STEM subjects will greatly benefit from understanding GIS and how they can utiliz e it in their research projects. Celebrating GIS outreach programs. Works Cited ArcGIS Online | Free Personal Account. Esri, accessed 09/20, 2012, http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgisonline/features/free personal account
Baker, Tom. 2012. Advancing STEM Education with GIS United States of America: Esri. http://www.esri.com/library/ebooks/advancing stem education with gis.pdf Gilbrook, MJ. 1999. GIS Paves the Way. Civil Engineering 69 (11): 34 39. Lisichenko, Richard. 2010. Exploring a Web Based Pedagogical M odel to Enhance GIS Education. Journal of STEM Teacher Education 47 (3): 49 62. Newcombe, Nora S. 2010. Picture this: Increasing Math and Science Learning by Improving Spatial Thinking. American Educator 34 (2): 29 35. Todd, JL. 2008. GIS and Librari es: A Cross Disciplinary Approach. Online 32 (5): 14 18. Wai, Jonathan, David Lubinski, and Camilla P. Benbow. 2009. Spatial Ability for STEM Domains: Aligning Over 50 Years of Cumulative Psychological Knowledge Solidifies its Importance. Journal of Ed ucational Psychology 101 (4): 817 835. doi:10.1037/a0016127. Weimer, Katherine H., Miriam Olivares, and Robin A. Bedenbaugh. 2012. GIS Day and Web Promotion: Retrospective Analysis of U.S. ARL Libraries' Involvement. Journal of Map & Geography Libraries 8 (1): 39 57. doi:10.1080/15420353.2011.629402. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15420353.2011.629402 About the Author Carol McAuliffe has been the head of the Map & Imagery Library at the George A. Smathers' Libraries at the University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida) for almost 6 years and specializes in geo literacy, geography and GIS education, and the educational rol e of the geographic
information librarian. In 2007, she organized the first ever GIS Day on the University of Florida campus and each year the library hosted event continues to grow and improve. In November 20 12, UF will be celebrating its 6 th Annual GIS Day.