My World GIS
My World GIS
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Developer Information

My World GIS has been designed with the needs of curriculum and data library developers in mind.  This page is the entry point to our support infrastructure for people interested in developing  learning activities and data libraries, either for their own use or for dissemination to others. 

Designing activities.  My World makes it easy to create new activities and to convert existing activities designed for other GIS tools.  The features to help with authoring activities in My World include:
  • Tools for importing data in virtually any geographic projection from many standard formats, including shapefiles, comma-separated text files (CSV), tab-separated text files (TSV), netCDF, and GPS waypoint file exchange (GPX). 
  • Tools for specifying how to display data values appropriately for categorical data, numerical data, dates, html links, and boolean values.
  • Tools for identifying the units associate with all numerical data and automatically doing unit conversions, so that students see the data in units that are appropriate for them.
  • Tools for creating project files that can have all of the following stored within a single compressed file: multiple data files, pre-specified map layouts, hyperlinked files of any sort including multimedia, pre-computed selections within data files, and step-by-step activity guides.
  • Tools that allow My World to locate all the data and projects on the computer My World starts up, so that students can access all data and projects that they need to implement an activity without ever using the "File" menu or interacting with the computers file system and directory structure.  . 
Are you considering converting existing GIS activities to My World? 

Here's what one experienced developer of GIS activities emailed us about her team's experiences:
The conversion is not only going smoothly, it is much easier than converting from ESRI 3.2 to 9.x.... The team was dreading the MyWorld conversion and has been pleasantly surprised!

Designing data libraries.  My World GIS is designed to allow developers to create data libraries that are ready for students to use quickly and efficiently. 

Processes like importing data and dealing with projections can be done in efficient "batch" modes.  Developers can efficiently associate all the information with data files that My World uses to make the data accessible to users, such as readable variable names, units, display formats, default colorschemes, legend ranges, and other symbolization. 

My World makes it possible to assemble related data files into collections called "data libraries" that enable students to find data by looking for the relevant data library, without ever interacting with the file system.

My World allows data library developers to distribute data in a variety of different ways.  Data library developers can place data on a My World installation CD in a way that will cause the My World installer to automatically copy that data in its default data library during installation.  Data libraries can be copied after installation into My World's data library, which will result in My World making that data accessible to students automatically whenever it launches.  Data can also be made available over the web via four server formats: ArcIMS, WMS, THREDDS, and http.  My World is able to browse and read data directly from ArcIMS, WMS, and THREDDS servers.  It is able to import data files directly from any http server by importing from a URL. 

Do you have an ArcIMS or WMS server with data that you would like to make available to My World users?
Here's what you need to do to make an ArcIMS or WMS (Web Map Services) data server available to My World: nothing.  All users need to do is to use the "Import from Internet" command and type in the URL of the ArcIMS or WMS server.  They can then browse the contents of the server and directly import the data without concern for file formats or projections.  My World will even remember the URL in future sessions. 

Developer Resources

The My World Project (part of the GEODE Initiative) is committed to providing assistance to individuals or organizations who would like to develop instructional materials and data libraries for My World, or who would like to offer professional development involving My World.  We are currently working with scientists doing education outreach, curriculum developers, and classroom teachers to support the use of My World in K-20 classrooms.

We have three primary resources for developers:

  • Developer Community Forum
We offer an online forum for developers to ask questions and share resources with each other and project members, hosted by Yahoo! Groups. It also provides a way for the My World developers to make announcements and solicit feedback and design input. Click here to join the My World developers' Yahoo! Group. 

(We also maintain a community forum for general users.)

  • Resource Centers
We maintain an Activity Center, Data Center and Help Center for users to post and download the latest activities, datasets, and support documentation for use with My World GIS.
  • Developer Program
The My World Project supports a developer program that includes a free license for each developer and a collaborating classroom.

Contact us at the address below for information about joining the developers' program.

GEODE Initiative
Northwestern University
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208

Are you interested in developing activities or data libraries for publication? 
We are currently working with several projects who are developing instructional materials for publication.  PASCO Scientific offers licensing arrangements to enable publishers to bundle My World with their products.  In addition, PASCO is interested in publishing and distributing activities and data libraries.  Please contact us if you would like to find out more about developing activities or data libraries for publication.

Visit our Gallery for examples of what we and other developers are doing with My World GIS.


Last Updated: 2010-01-04 15:15:34

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