Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Geographic Information Systems

Youth Education

ESRI K-12 Software

This site is an educational portal for information and resources associated with the statewide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) license in the state of Maryland.  Geospatial technologies are one of the three fastest growing technology fields (Source: U.S. Department of Labor). To introduce students to the geospatial tools and skills that will be required for many high-demand jobs of the future, the GIS Lab through a partnership with ESRI has negotiated a statewide license for ESRI Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software for all K-12 public, private and charter schools.

GIS technology in the classroom provides an opportunity to use the same tools used in high-demand careers to examine geographic questions, conduct analysis and explore themes. Students work with data in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts. These skills are invaluable to studies in many subject areas, including science, mathematics, career and technical education, social studies, reading and language arts.

ArcGIS Online

If you are interested in trying out an online version of ArcGIS software before downloading the desktop version, you might consider trying ArcGIS Online. This online mapping platform allows you to create and share interactive maps without installing anything on your computer.  If you are interested in learning more about how to use ArcGIS Online,  ESRI provides a series of introductory tutorial videos, which can be found here. Information on how to use an ArcGIS Online subscription account in your K12 classroom can be found here.

ESRI Virtual Campus

As part of the Enterprise License Agreement, ESRI is also providing an unlimited Virtual Campus Annual User License (AUL), which gives access to online self-paced Virtual Campus courses. These are primarily technology courses in ESRI Software.

To view a full list of ESRI Virtual Campus courses, click here.


Interested in ESRI software, but not sure where to start? If you would like to bring this exciting technology into your classroom, but have no experience with GIS or ESRI software, the Washington College GIS Lab is here to help. We offer a range of training courses via Geoworkshops, starting with What is GIS and Intro to ArcMap for beginners and ranging upwards to advanced ArcGIS skills. Any K-12 teacher may register for a course for only $50. All materials may be used without restriction for in-school use.

We are also in the process of developing an Elementary STEM course, which integrates GIS with science, math, engineering, and technology core curriculum, specifically for the elementary classroom. This course will include the same introduction to GIS skills as our standard course, but will also contain valuable tips on lesson planning and applying GIS in a multidisciplinary approach.