K-12 Open Source Educational Resource Library


USGIF Anthology 

This resource includes different lessons for K-5, 5-9, and high school students, as well as an open-source compendium of data for research and lesson planning. Lessons and resources are categorized by grade-level and application. Lecture notes, videos, and print outs are supplied with lessons. 

Think Geospatial 

Classroom resources for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as educators. Additional resources focus on social justice, Esri ArcGIS, and Illinois-specific GIS tools and projects. 


GeoInquiries™ are short, standards-based inquiry activities for teaching map-based content found in commonly used textbooks. Each activity is designed using a common inquiry model and can be presented quickly from a single computer and projector or modified for students’ hands-on engagement. Collections of 15-20 activities per topic enhance your curriculum throughout the year. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons 

A public digital library of open educational resources. This site features a section dedicated to STEM literacy, and targeted collections for different topics or learning objectives. This site has over 600 geography lessons and nearly 50 lessons dedicated to geospatial. 


Lessons range from introductions to geospatial technology to using Python. Lessons include lecture resources and syllabi. Appropriate age ranges are not included. 

GeoTech Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) 

These lessons specifically focus on drones and other unmanned aircraft. Features nine segments on UAS. 

United States Census Bureau Open Mapping  

A two-part lesson at the intermediate level, with an estimated two hours for completion. The first part is designed to teach OpenStreetMap skills, while the second part focuses on geospatial skill building. Prior knowledge is not required.  

Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis 

This collection contains 13 different categories of learning surrounding GIS, remote sensing, and other geographical analysis skills. This is mostly a host for materials available through other sources, but acts as a comprehensive place to find the necessary and ordered steps in learning a new topic. 



Introduction to Geographic Information Systems by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP 

A free and easy to navigate online book that covers an introduction to GIS, data and information, cartographic principles, mapping Earth, and GIS data models. Grade level/age range for book is not available, though it appears to be appropriate for middle and high school students.  

Essentials of Geographic Information Systems by Jonathan Campbell and Michael Shin 

A well-reviewed, comprehensive overview of GIS. This book has ten chapters that cover topics like map anatomy, cartographic principles, and GIS project management. This book is most likely an appropriate resource for high school students.  

Open Geography Education Textbooks 

These textbooks are freely available under creative commons licensing, and are mobile friendly. Six books in the collection focus on geography topics and one is geared towards GIS. Age or grade ranges for the books are not available.  



Esri free bundle for K-12 educators 

This version of Esri’s mapping software is free and available for classroom, school, district, or club use. No account is needed, but creating an account expands access. 


QGIS is a free and open-source geographic information system. It will work with various hardware and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. A comprehensive help or “for users” section contains a user guide, training manual, and tutorials.  


Free software for geodata processing and analysis. This software appears more user supported than QGIS, with limited support documents. Can import and process data from various scripting environments such as shell scripts, Python, and R.  


GRASS GIS includes tools for terrain and ecosystem modeling, hydrology, visualization of raster and vector data, management and analysis of geospatial data, and the processing of satellite and aerial imagery. Includes a host of resources for first-time users.  


Data and Datasets 

USGIF Compendium 

An up-to-data and thorough collection of geospatial datasets ranging from government to commercial to international. Each source includes a brief description.  

Esri Living Atlas 

Geographic and data layers that can be used to enhance mapping in ArcGIS.  

Missouri Spatial Information Service 

Vector data, aerial photography, and LiDAR elevation data from Missouri, sourced by local, state, and federal agencies.