Science, Technology, Engineering & Math | News

Arizona Schools Receive State-Wide License for GIS Software

In an effort to include more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) material into common core curriculum, all Arizona primary and secondary schools now have access to geographic information systems (GIS) software.

The state-wide education license with GIS mapping software provider Esri includes access to the company's ArcGIS software suite for students, teachers and administrators at nonprofit youth organizations, home schools, private, charter, and public schools. It also provides self-paced training in Esri’s Virtual Campus.

ArcGIS for Desktop is a platform that powers location-based applications and provides tools for modeling, and analysis of geographic data. It includes editing functionality and the ability to develop and share content. ArcGIS for Mobile provides apps for tablets and smartphones, map navigation capability, tools for collection and reporting of data, and GIS analysis. ArcGIS Online allows users to share maps via social media and custom apps, provides access to maps from any device, and templates to start the map-creation process. ArcGIS for Server provides a central management platform for maps and GIS services through server-side processing.

"Arizona schools are trying to weave more STEM-oriented material into its common core curriculum to help prepare a technology-savvy future work force," said Ronald Dorn, Arizona Geographic Alliance co-coordinator and professor of geography at Arizona State University, in a prepared statement. "GIS software, by its very nature, forces students into a mode of active learning and problem solving."

Arizona Geographic Alliance provides workshops to technology coordinators and teachers on how to use the software in the classroom.

The license is cosponsored by Northern Arizona University (NAU), the Arizona Geographic Alliance, and the Arizona Geographic Information Council. It is hosted by NAU's Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory.

Schools interested in using the software, can register at For more information about education licenses available from Esri, go to

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Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.