Michigan Sea Grant has partnered with National Geographic Education Programs to develop Great Lakes FieldScope, a new web-based geospatial tool for formal and non-formal educators. It is a web-based mapping, analysis and collaboration tool that engages students and volunteers as citizen scientists.

See: FieldScope

Students can explore data layers such as:

  • Rivers and streams
  • Watershed boundaries
  • Water depth
  • Political boundaries
  • Elevation
  • Land cover

The data can be investigated at different scales. For example, a student can look for information at the hyper-local level, tracing the path of water from a particular yard or neighborhood to the Great Lake that it eventually drains to. They can also explore on a wider, regional scale, pinpointing all Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes or gaining an understanding of how the lake basins are linked, for instance.

FieldScope also enables students and volunteers to upload their own field data, including quantitative measurements and field notes. Students can integrate their fieldwork and data with that of their peers and professionals, adding the opportunity for further analysis and student investigation. This type of learning provides a rich geographic context that allows students to gain a better understanding of how their lifestyles are connected to the Great Lakes.

FieldScope will continue to evolve as more data is added. For example, data entered by different groups as well as additional layers including dissolved oxygen, pH levels, turbidity and temperature will enrich the available information.