GIS as a platform for interdisciplinary education and research

GIS as a platform for interdisciplinary education and research

Geospatial tools offer a means to organize and analyze disparate types of information from diverse fields within a geographic framework.  Collaboration on the integrative effort, by a number of academics and students  who bring differing expertise and perspectives, has great potential to produce breakthroughs in multidisciplinary education and research.  There are several options for free online software for use in spatial analysis and multidisciplinary work, including Google Earth and GeoMapApp.  During the SAIL, participants undertook a “virtual” geology/geography analysis using GoogleEarth for study of the Apennines and Arno River.  [Click here to link to a version of the exercise.]

Advantages of GoogleEarth and GeoMapApp software include:  easy to use within an online, interactive environment;  easy to mark up scenes and add own data to GoogleEarth, easy to save and share new data layers, and leads to exploration and discovery of new sites and information sources that may not have been intended at the start of the work. In addition, these apps and complementary ones are available for smart phones and other mobile devices. Existing and a growing number of new GPS enabled apps allow real-time  data storage with locations, and the possibility to post photos and associated text to locations.  A multitude of data files exist and are being created in .kml format that may be loaded in to Google Earth as data layers (e.g. websearch on a topic plus ‘.kml’ extension, to find many sources!).


See an example that examines relationships in the Appenines, Chianti region, and Arno River drainage.

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