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Small is Beautiful but Large is Necessary: Internet GIS for the Masses


Introduce basic concepts of Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing, drawing on ... GIS spatial and attribute query ... Web based GIS delivered using ArcIMS with ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Small is Beautiful but Large is Necessary: Internet GIS for the Masses

Small is Beautiful but Large is Necessary
Internet GIS for the Masses
  • Gemma Davies
  • Duncan Whyatt
  • Alan Blackburn
  • Department of Geography, Lancaster University.
  • http// email gemma.davies_at_lancast

Introduction and Aims
  • Geog120 First year module in Cartography, GIS
    and Remote Sensing (New in 2003/4)
  • Aims
  • Introduce basic concepts of Cartography, GIS and
    Remote Sensing, drawing on links between them and
    how they fit together
  • Demonstrate breadth of applications in human,
    environmental and physical aspects of geography

The Challenge
  • Provide hands on experience of Cartography, GIS
    and RS, but circa 230 students each year
  • Formal practical classes impossible due to
    insufficient staff resources and space in
    computer labs
  • Work is team marked hence needs to be straight
    forward, yet challenging enough to differentiate
    across the full range of abilities

Practical Skills
  • Cartography basic map design
  • GIS spatial and attribute query
  • RS introduction to a range of images, and
    information that can be extracted
  • Examples drawn from SPEGIS

  • Aims
  • Develop an integrated GIS to enhance
    undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and
    learning in Geography.
  • Collect as much spatially referenced data as
    possible for the Silverdale peninsula and River
    Kent estuary
  • Data and application examples from this project
    used as the focus for this module
  • Many outside organization have contributed data
    and research ideas to the project.

Arnside and Silverdale AONB
Delivery Meeting the Technical Challenge
  • Hands on experience through a series of
    self-guided assessed practical sessions
  • Web based GIS delivered using ArcIMS with Java
    based feature services in order to achieve
    functionality required
  • Provide students with 24 hour access to practical
  • Support for practicals provided via an on-line
    discussion site, manned on a rota by a team of

(No Transcript)
Why ArcIMS?
  • Provides simplified interface for students
  • Can be linked easily to other supporting material
    within a web based environment
  • Ease of access for students from their own
    machines in their own time
  • Part of the ESRI product range used in subsequent

Practical Assessments
  • Cartography Modify display properties
  • of topographic and chloropleth map

  • 2. GIS Series of spatial and attribute queries,
    followed by short reflection on tasks under taken

Name the restaurant(s) within 2km of Arnside
railway station
  • 3. Remote Sensing Questions based on image

The land surface appears darker in the IR image
acquired at 1130 than in the image from 730.
In the true colour composite image areas of dense
vegetation appear green but in the false
colour composite they appear red. Why?
Academic Limitations of ArcIMS
  • Cartography - Unable to add legends, scale bars
    etc to maps and print quality poor
  • GIS - Only very simple spatial and attribute
    queries possible. Little other functionality
  • Remote Sensing No image processing available,
    unable to even query the value of a pixel

Technical Issues
  • To use ArcIMS Java feature services the local
    machine needs the right JRE and a viewer
    installing. This restricts where practicals can
    be accessed from
  • Year 1 Ran fairly smoothly
  • Year 2
  • Feature services failed on regular basis
  • Students failed to get ArcIMS working in their
    rooms and therefore restricted to working in
    departments main teaching lab, partly due to
    changes in JRE security
  • ArcExplorer used as a back up

The Student Perspective
  • Overall students seemed to find the sessions easy
    to follow, despite technical glitches

The practicals were easy to follow, provided
time was allowed for ArcIMS problems. I am
looking forward to GIS?RS in the 2nd year
Have alternative locations to be able to do the
practicals as labs are often booked out for
When ArcIMS is working the practicals are
interesting, but it can be frustrating when it
does not work
Stability of ArcIMS only improvement required.
Especially on remote PCs, i.e. ones in study
I have bought a lap-top for completing computer
based tasks and expect to be able to use it
Our Conclusions
  • Despite its limitations, fairly happy with ArcIMS
  • Fulfilled delivery of basic concepts evident in
    students progressing to 2nd year
  • Assessment and marking seem effective
  • Technical problems this years main concern
    need to resolve before next year
  • Failed to provide 24 hour access expected

The Future
  • Intend to keep using ArcIMS, but remain open to
    alternative ideas
  • Would like better ESRI support for use of feature
    based services in ArcIMS
  • Increase sharing of experience with GIS community
  • GEES forum for discussion for Web-based GIS

Any comments or questions?
  • What are your experiences of using web based
    GIS or teaching introductory concepts to large