Using GIS On-Line Mapping Tools

CCISD Elementary Social Studies -

GIS mapping tools:

Essentially, GIS maps are created by incorporating various sources of data, in layers, on a digital mapping platform. Data can either be found through limitless on-line sources, or added using the cartographer's own understandings.

GIS mapping is currently in the top three job growth areas, as determined by the US Department of Labor. GIS mappers usually have degrees in Geography, Analysis, or Marketing.

  • Create a free account
only create 1 per campus,

good for up to 500 individual student access codes per campus.

  • Students can upload, save, and modify maps in their account.
  • initial account free & active for 60 days
  • transfer to a permanent free account
  • won't lose creations already saved
  • *Only education accounts are free

Once your account is created, here are some ideas for using

To become familiar with the site:

1. Go to "Gallery" tab, near top of page.

2. Go to "My Organization's Featured Content" tab.

3. Click on the "USA Territorial Acquisitions: map.

4. Once there, you can zoom in on the map, as you choose.

5. Walk students through using the Legend (left sidebar) to interpret.

6. Click on any color section of map to see more in depth information about the content within that section.

7. Select "Basemap" tab at top of mapping page.

8. Click on different basemap options to see how the map changes.

9. Students can explore the details of this, connecting their recent historical and US mapping understandings to what they find.

Other ideas to explore with

1. On the home page, click on "Maps" tab.

2. Students can make their own maps. It just takes a bit of playing around to become familiar with the tools.

3. Zoom in on the United States.

4. Ask students to investigate different Basemap options.

5. There is a tutorial, "Learn to make a map." This is helpful!

Questions? Please feel free to contact me at

I won't necessarily know every answer, but will explore the site with you to find out!

- Marny Doepken, Elementary Social Studies Coordinator