West Virginia K-12 GIS


West Virginia K-12 GIS

WVDE has the industry-standard tool for teaching the 21st century skill of spatial thinking with geotechnologies available to ALL educators and students!

West Virginia is one of a special group of states and school districts in the United States that provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software throughout its entire educational system. The software license allows every K-12 school and teacher in the state access to ESRI’s ArcGIS software ( You can see a map of other states and districts using the software here.

To start using GIS in your class today, head to where you’ll find a FREE searchable online GIS with multitudes of data layers and maps appropriate for classroom use. Check it out today!

To request the FREE desktop software, please send an e-mail to Erika Klose, the WVDE GIS Project Manager, at You will receive a set of DVD’s for installing the software for educational use in your school and on your personal computer, along with a license for the software.


About GIS

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a powerful tool for exploring and analyzing spatial data. Spatial data is any piece of information that has a geographic position, such a census values, water quality monitoring stations, cities, department stores, battlefields, etc. The WVDE is making available ESRI’s ArcGIS 10 software, with the goal of incorporating spatial data across all disciplines to teach the 21st century skills of spatial thinking, problem-solving, global awareness, economic and business literacy, entrepreneurial skills and civic literacy.


GIS Listserv

The WV GIS in K12 Listserv regularly sends out information and resources to teachers using GIS in their classrooms and those who are learning how to use GIS in their classrooms.

To subscribe to the WV GIS in K12 Education listserv, send an e-mail to: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.WVNET.EDU with no subject and the following in the body (not subject) of the message:

subscribe WVGIS-K12-L FirstName LastName

Make sure you put your first and last name as specified. 



GIS software training is available through the WVDE.  Announcements regarding training are sent out through the social studies, science, and the WV K12 GIS listserv.  One-day, two-day, and week-long trainings are available at regular intervals at both beginning and more advanced levels.

Online training is available FREE to WV educators through the ESRI training center.  This website lists the courses available: If you are interested in any of these courses, send an e-mail to Erika Klose ( with the name of the course and an access code will be sent to you for the course.

Start with the course, Teaching with GIS: Introduction to Using GIS in the Classroom. You can access it here:

We also recommend the following courses: The 15-Minute Map: Creating a Basic Map in ArcMap;  Learning ArcGIS Desktop (for ArcGIS 10); Understanding Geographic Data; and Understanding Map Projections and Coordinate Systems. You must have an ESRI Global Login to take these courses, which you create at the website.

GIS training is also available through the NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center (ERC) in Fairmont, WV. You can find a list of available courses here.

Erika Klose maintains a personal blog of GIS training activities at



GIS Lessons

Complete lessons for use in your classroom are available online in a number of places.

1. Try a Google search on GIS lessons: 

2. Lessons created by WV educators during GIS training: (These will be continually updated, as lessons occur and as WV SS and Science CSO’s are updated.)

3. ESRI’s educational community lesson database:

4. Explore your world (A set of six lessons designed for grades 5-12, with no computer required)



GeoTech Center

ESRI’s Educational Community

Our World GIS Education Series