Apr 162012

I remain to be convinced of the merits any commercially-derived GIS software in the school environment, preferring to use the classic product AEGIS 3 and Google Earth. However the MAGIC GIS operated by  multiple agencies to provide the UK with environmental data is quite easy to engage with.

My Year 10 students are being encouraged to learn how to create maps in MAGIC as part of their coursework investigation. Instructions have been posted on my Posterous, and partly reposted below. I hope this information could be useful to others.

A GIS can be thought of as a digital base map over which layers of data can be displayed. GIS offers powerful ways for geographers to analyze spatial data and make decisons. Many jobs rely on GIS technology; one reason why geography graduates are very employable. I’d like you to use the MAGIC GIS to find out a little more about Dawlish Warren as part of preparation for your coursework project.

Before you start, be prepared for your computer to run slowly as you will be interacting with an enormous database buried deep in some high security government bunker.

Follow this link to the MAGIC map of Dawlish Warren

After a while you should be looking at a map of Dawlish Warren. The map will be complicated at first, so here are the basic tools you need to use:

To move the map (panning) click this symbol, and then drag the map..

To change the scale, click the symbol, then click again on the map to zoom in and out on the location you’ve selected.

Now, lets make sense of the map data. At the moment all the available information is being displayed. Click this button to see all the data layers…

This box will appear.

Try turning all the layers off apart from Sites of Special Scientific Interest…
Nothing will happen until you click this button!

If the map slows down or you want to go back to the map with all the layers active, click this button.

Reload the map or click here if you see this message for too long.

While it is common for there to be delays when using GIS, this message also means that data is being collected, so be patient.

Finally, the map tools will let you print off maps, save screen shots, measure distances and a lot more. Just mouse-over the different symbols to find out what each one does.

Now it’s time to get mapping…

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