With the introduction of formal GIS education being implemented into the school syllabus for 2006, GIMS and ESRI have taken responsibility to assist schools and teachers by producing a workbook to make the transition easier. The result is a workbook called Mapping Our World - the South African version.
In the words of Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI, "This book is a milestone in GIS history. It does not describe the latest developments in software design or the newest applications, but it does advance understanding of the potential scope and power of GIS in one of the most significant ways possible: these are the first comprehensive lessons in the theory and practice of GIS to be designed for middle- and high-school students."
The Mapping Our World kit contains a hardcopy of the book: Mapping our World; a one-year access to ArcView 3.2a software; and a complete teachers resource CD.
The Mapping Our World book has a modular approach and has seven modules that can be used to introduce GIS to learners.
The ArcView 3.2a software tools are the same GIS systems that are being used in the commercial market. For example: central government, utilities, mining companies and consulting firms and many other businesses. ESRI and GIMS have taken out the complexity of the system to make the software user friendly.
GIMS in conjunction with various organisations have made local South African data available to be used with the workbook exercises. This localised data will assist teachers and students to understand the concepts, as the data will be familiar and easy to identify with. The licence agreement states that schools may install the software on as many computers as are needed, provided that the software and data are only used for activities related to the GIS Investigations or extensions in the book only.
The software licence will expire after one year from date of installation.
The resource CD contains a number of Adobe PDF which can be used as additional reading material for students and teachers; Microsoft PowerPoint presentations providing teachers with presentation material; multimedia clips eg, What is GIS? and references to web pages where more information on GIS can be obtained.