GIS in the Non-GIS Classroom: Using Student Mapping Assignments to Incorporate GIS in Traditional Lecture Classes

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History & Political Science


Over the past generation, the use of geographic information systems (GIS) applications has skyrocketed, and GIS hardware and software are now used for daily decision making by countless organizations (Abeyta Citation2021). In academia, a further focus on GIScience has aided the theoretical framework for a more focused GIS curriculum.

Unsurprisingly, GIS is also increasing its foothold in US education. In US higher education, both the number of GIS courses offered and the total number of GIS-specific degrees earned are on the rise. A recent report noted that programs using the federal CIP codes for “GIScience and Cartography” are rapidly growing. Since 2019, more master’s degrees have been earned under the “GIScience and Cartography” CIP code than all other “Geography” programs (American Association of Geographers Citation2022). The total number of bachelor’s degrees with the “GIScience and Cartography” code has more than doubled since the mid-2010s. In US secondary-level education, individual GIS course offerings, though rare, are increasing (Bednarz Citation2004; Kerski, Demirci, and Milson Citation2013). Meanwhile, extracurricular programs such as EAST or Project Lead the Way can offer GIS exposure to thousands of secondary students, and a national movement for high school GIS may be eventually met by the proposed AP course in GIS technology...


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The Geography Teacher