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Free ESRI ArcVoyager

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What Is ArcVoyager?

"ArcVoyager" was created by ESRI's Schools and Libraries team to go along with ArcView. It is a 50-mb package of carefully selected data, ArcView projects, and help files, in a tiered format. There are comparable Windows and Macintosh versions. The help files are written broadly to a "junior high" level, but ArcVoyager is being used effectively by elementary teachers, middle school students, high schoolers, librarians, college instructors, museum professionals, or parents. click to see larger ArcVoyager

ArcVoyager is available in ArcView 3.x formats for Windows and Macintosh. Each one works in the same way, but is tailored to the software's capacities. When you upgrade your ArcView package, you should also upgrade your ArcVoyager package. There is also ArcVoyager Special Edition, for people who do not own a full copy of ArcView GIS.

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  • Level 1 engages just the helpfile, providing a tightly controlled text- and graphic-based introduction to basic concepts and skills of spatial thinking with a computer.
  • Level 2 engages an ArcView project, with a world atlas and a constrained interface that lets the user explore in a tightly controlled environment. In "bumper cars" fashion, users learn easily about choosing, adding, and deleting themes; turning themes on and off; shuffling layers; zooming in and out; and identifying features, all looking at about 25 different layers.
  • Level 3 engages a more open and powerful but still customized interface, with more capabilities involving tools that students and teachers use most often. Here, users start with a vast set of data at the ready, and can add an unlimited amount and modify it all in standard ArcView fashion.
  • Level 4 engages the Level 3 interface and provides an open set of data without pre-arranged starting layers.

Why Build ArcVoyager?

ArcVoyager was built to help teachers who acquire the ArcView for Schools & Libraries bundle—a site license for ArcView software (Mac or Windows) plus 8 CDs of data, and a boatload of instructional materials—and find it almost too much of a good thing. There is so much power in the software, and so many choices for data, and the mindset needs to shift so radically (from simple exploration of an electronic atlas to critical analysis of patterns and trends on a scale from global to local) that it can be challenging for many teachers to figure out what to do. "Where do I start, and how on earth do I remember everything?"

The goal of ArcVoyager is to give students and teachers a ramped approach for developing their spatial thinking and learning how to employ ArcView tools. After getting comfortable with the "ArcVoyager training wheels," they should be able to shed the wheels and use the standard ArcView tools and available digital data to explore the world, at a scale from local to global.

Within ArcVoyager data, users will find information at several different levels: cities and countries of the world; and states, counties, and cities of the US. One state in particular (Georgia) is profiled, but almost the exact same profile could be developed for any state using the data and tools in ArcVoyager. Users in the US can drill down to see characteristics of their county and surrounding counties. They can add other data sets to ArcVoyager projects as they develop facility and acquire more information.

ArcVoyager is not a curriculum. ArcVoyager is a toolkit that is ready to be used in support of their existing curriculum, but which also opens doors to new ways of learning.

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Visit the ArcVoyager Website.

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