Mapping and Geospatial Workshop - B-WET Program

The New York Geographic Alliance and the Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES held a Mapping and Geospatial Workshop on November 12, 2015 in Ithaca. It was part of our B-WET Upper Susquehanna Project, sponsored by a grant through NOAA.


Photo on the left: Teachers working on a map using ArcGIS Online; Photo of the right: Presentation about the maps and aerial imagery of Owego, NY. 

This was a hands-on professional development. It was divided into three main parts. First, Andrew Mendola of Pictometry, Inc. (Rochester) demonstrated how educators can use their high-resolution imagery (taken from a Cessna) to study their communities. Businesses and governmental agencies pay considerable funds to access the imagery, but Pictometry has allowed our teachers to use them free of charge. They will be very useful when teachers plan outdoor watershed experiences for their students in the next two years of the grant period.

Next, the participants worked with maps and aerial imagery under the guidance of Susan Hoskins of Cornell University’s IRIS Program. She prepared topographic maps and historic photographs of several towns in the Susquehanna Watershed. The teachers studied these resources as evidence of change over time, either by human activities or natural events (i.e. flooding). Upon completion, each group presented their findings. We learned that this watershed is very dynamic and in need of further study. Teachers who commit to the B-WET program will receive the maps and imagery they need to study their communities in depth.

The afternoon session was devoted mostly to learning the basics of ArcGIS Online, which is available free of cost to all school districts. Tim McDonnell, Mike Jabot, and Heather Pierce were the presenters. The participating teachers learned how to create maps on the local level. They will be using their new skills to design maps with their students as they investigate their section of the Susquehanna Watershed. Mike Jabot is creating shapefiles to help with this part of the project.

The NYGA and TST BOCES are considering offering a similar workshop in the spring. Watch the Events section in the next couple months to find out more. In the meantime, any teachers or schools in the Southern Tier that want to be part of our B-WET Upper Susquehanna Program should contact Tim McDonnell, or call the NYGA Office at (585)-292-2398. We want to help you make watershed education a reality for your students.