Do you teach KS4 and KS5 students and want to highlight the importance of location and maps to
influence decisions and understand earth processes?
Find out more about how you can use GIS in your geography curriculum, what free resources are available and further support options.
What does geospatial mean?
The word 'geospatial' is made up of two parts:
size, shape, and position
the size, shape or position of something on the Earth's surface
Geospatial experts use 'geospatial' or location data to measure, map or model things on the Earth’s surface which include:
invested by the UK Government in maths, digital and technical education
contributed to the UK economy by geospatial data
jobs worldwide in a GIS-related field
the UK is ranked 2nd in the world for 'geospatial readiness'
Geospatial experts measure the size, volume and speed of glaciers and monitor their change over time using historic maps or imagery. This allows us to analyse the rate of melt and sea level rise predictions for the future and the impacts on the planet.
Why is GIS so important?
In 2018, the UK Government recognised the growing importance of geospatial data in increasing economic growth noting its large contribution of up to £11billion per year (The UK's Geospatial Strategy).
As the digital and data revolution transforms the economy and society, geospatial data skills are in increasingly high demand across all sectors.
Recognising this, the government have invested an additional £406 million in maths, digital and technical education (Industrial Strategy: Construction Sector Deal, HM Government, July 2018) and changed curricula to reflect the demand for geospatial skills, such as GIS.
It is expected that the demand for specialised GIS users will increase beyond supply, meaning geospatially skilled individuals will be highly employable.
A dedicated UK Government Department, the Geospatial Commission, have highlighted this as an issue and aim to:
‘Develop more people with the right skills and tools to work with location data, across organisations and sectors, to meet the UK’s future needs and support global development’
Geospatial UK was created to support and achieve this aim by providing free information about geospatial data, classroom activities and resources for both students and teachers, and the option to interact directly with technical equipment and industry professionals.
Free GIS software
There are many free software options available with GIS features, such as 3D world, map making or creating surveys which can be geo-located.
Some of these require you to log in, however free non-commercial accounts are available. Please email email@example.com to find out more.
ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping and analysis solution. Use it to make maps, analyse data, and to share and collaborate. Get access to workflow-specific apps, maps and data from around the globe, and tools for being mobile in the field.
With ArcGIS Online is free for all schools.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Google Earth is a computer program that renders a 3D representation of Earth based primarily on satellite imagery.
The online version is free, however you can use more features in Google Earth Pro, including the ability to view historical images.
ArcGIS Survey 123
ArcGIS Survey123 is a complete, form-centric solution for creating, sharing and analysing surveys, accessed through ArcGIS Online. Use it to create smart forms with skip logic, defaults, and support for multiple languages. Smarter forms, smarter data collection.
With ArcGIS Online is free for all schools.
Email email@example.com to learn more.
QGIS (or Quantum GIS) is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system application that supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data.
QGIS includes a 'plug-in' architecture in which extensions can be applied, including OpenStreetMap.
Microsoft Excel allows you to generate a map from spreadsheet data or analyse the data behind the map.
To do this, you will need to download a plugin called 'Microsoft Power Map'.
Additionally, most datasets can be downloaded as a CSV file, which can then be imported into other GIS softwares.
Help with GIS?
With the recent inclusion of GIS into the curriculum, many teachers lack the confidence to use GIS in classrooms.
Don't worry, that's why we're here to help!
There are many organisations and individuals who are able to guide you through the basics of GIS, and how to use it effectively in your classroom. Have a look at the options below!
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), sponsored by Esri UK, have developed a UK-wide network of GeoMentors to support the use of ArcGIS Online in the classroom.
Knowledgeable GIS professionals who volunteer as GeoMentors can help teachers to apply ArcGIS Online in the classroom to meet the criteria of the new geography curriculum and beyond.
Find a local GeoMentor by searching the online map.
Register to get in contact with a GeoMentor.
Discover relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses to help you update your GIS skills and improve your confidence of using GIS in the classroom.
Several organisations and learning institutions are offering courses for teachers wishing to learn more about GIS and how to apply it to the curriculum.
Look at our Latest page to see what courses are available or find your own!
Digimap for Schools is an award winning online mapping service for use by teachers and pupils, established in 2010 by EDINA, in collaboration with Ordnance Survey.
The service is designed exclusively for schools, and today is used in almost 3,000 British secondary and primary schools and a growing number of international schools.
With an intuitive interface, easy to understand tools and instructions, and no download or new software installation required, a teacher or a pupil can easily understand and start to use the service as soon as they log on.
Digimap for Schools
Learn GIS Online
There are a number of GIS tutorials available online.
What we do
We created this website to help students find out more about the sector, including what skills they could learn and what jobs they could get! Click on each of the categories below to find out more.
Use any of our free resources or activities to improve your geospatial skills
Discover a huge range of exciting geospatial careers and the various routes to get there
Explore the main pathways into the industry to help your students figure out what's right for them.
I've been going through the activities myself over the last couple of days and I'm blown away. I cannot wait to introduce these to my students after Easter break… Thank you again for the fantastic work you and your team have undertaken here!
Geography Teacher at The John Roan School
Design the 'COP'
In November 2021, the UK will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, Scotland.
We want you to design The COP – an exciting educational building where young people can explore the STEAM* of Climate Change.
The COYO ‘Design The COP‘ Challenge is open to all schools
from 15th March to 30th September 2021
Inspire the next geospatial experts!
Aimed at kids aged 8-12, the Get Kids into Survey project aims to bring young people into the exciting world of survey through pioneering content and engaging experiences.
They have some awesome stuff on offer:
An online hub of exciting resources, to be used by anyone!
FREE action-packed posters which can be sent out worldwide.
‘SurveyFest’ events (returning 2022) where pupils can try out geospatial tech and meet surveyors.
The GKiS Educational Fund, which raises money to support career focused school visits and more.
*NEW* GeoSquad Comic - What would happen in a world WITHOUT Surveyors?!?”
Want an alternative?
For more than a decade, Class Of Your Own has inspired children to experience the Built Environment through the ‘Design Engineer Construct!’ (“DEC”) Learning Programme.
DEC offers an alternative education qualification for students, enabling learners to harness ever-changing technology advancements across a range of infrastructure contexts including automated transportation and smart buildings and cities.
DEC also runs a number of projects UK-wide, so email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Geoscience for the Future
Geoscience for the Future are a not-for-profit initiative aiming to communicate the links between Geoscience and a more sustainable, equitable future.
They aim to promote geoscience as a subject to a wider audience, connect with students, and encourage the next generation of geoscientists to join in tackling the major challenges facing our society.