Understanding Our Changing World through Web-Mapping Based Investigations

Joseph J. Kerski


Maps have always been a rich source of information on a variety of topics in a medium requiring only a small amount of space. Today’s web maps show more than simply the locations of physical and cultural objects. They also allow students to do more with them. They foster understanding relationships, linkages, and patterns inherent between and among such phenomena as ecoregions, land use, demography, watersheds, commerce, natural hazards, and social networks. With the evolution of today’s mapping technologies into cloud-based platforms, educators and students as never before have a wide variety of data and tools at their fingertips that allow them to explore key issues of the 21st Century at scales from local to global. Students can upload their own data into these web maps alone or as part of citizen science projects, and share their maps with others in an online environment. These maps become multimedia-rich tools that students engage with while gaining critical thinking skills, career skills, and interdisciplinary content knowledge.


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