University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Geographic Information Systems
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has established itself internationally as an urban-based, multi-disciplinary geographic information systems institution that utilizes GIS technology and unique government data in the education of future professionals.
The Power of Data (POD) Project
The goals of the Power of Data (POD) project are to build a continuity of experiences that improve teaching and learning for a diverse audience through geospatial data-enhanced inquiry, opportunities to develop 21st century workforce skills, and attention to the interdependence of science and technology in the STEM workforce in order to increase student interest in careers that utilize geospatial technologies.
According to some estimates, up to 80% of the world’s data has a geospatial component to it. Demographics, watersheds, precipitation, temperature, real estate values, transportation routes—these are all examples of geospatial data. Critical issues facing our world including the environment, economy and security, depend on an understanding of geospatial relationships. Therefore, it is important for students build their capacity to reason with geospatial data.
Geospatial Inquiry engages students in geospatial thinking, which requires exploration of relationships and patterns in data. Because Geospatial Inquiry employs powerful geospatial technology tools, students are able to critically analyze authentic datasets in ways they would not be able to otherwise. When incorporated to support existing learning activities like research, field work, and laboratory investigations, Geospatial Inquiry can enhance student learning of disciplinary core ideas. The geospatial perspective can contextualize concepts in many subject areas to make them more relevant for students.
The Project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technologies for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program and was developed at the Northern Arizona University’s Center for Science Teaching and Learning.