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GIS Resources

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) help us see, analyze, and understand data. They assist us in answering questions and solving problems. GIS can enhance instruction for PreK-12 teachers, nonformal educators and homeschool educators. The Office of Environmental Education has three categories of GIS maps and apps: N.C. River Basins, Your Ecological Address, and Environmental Education Resources.

North Carolina's River Basins

Our River Basin App is an interactive map with the location and size of the river basin, as well as links to information sheets about each basin. Use the search bar to find what river basin you are located in!

Our River Basin StoryMap describes how river basins function, explains how humans and rivers are interconnected, and demonstrates how the decisions we make everyday affect water quality.

We have 17 StoryMaps available for each river basin in North Carolina:

Broad Little Tennessee Savannah
Cape Fear Lumber Tar-Pamlico
Catawba Neuse Watauga
Chowan New White Oak
French Broad Pasquotank Yadkin-Pee Dee
Hiwassee Roanoke  


To learn more about river basins, visit our River Basin page.

Discover Your Ecological Address

Our Discover Your Ecological Address App is a teaching tool for learning about North Carolina's ecological components (like soil and air). The characteristics of each component help determine the effects your actions have on your environment and help increase your awareness of your relationship with the natural world.

Check out our ecological address app information sheet to learn how to best use this app.

To learn more about your ecological address, visit our Discover Your Ecological Address page.

Environmental Education Resources

Our Environmental Education Resources App helps you find environmental education resources across the state and locate areas to explore around your home, school, or work. The app has information for schools, managed lands, libraries, environmental education centers, and more.

Check out our environmental education resources app information sheet to learn how to best use this app.

To learn more about environmental education resources near you, browse our site!

Citizen Science Projects

North Carolina's Candid Critters is a citizen-scientist run camera trap survey of North Carolina. The interactive web map shows the daily detection rate of bear, deer, and coyote.

eMammal is an international data management system and archive for camera trap research projects. Use the web maps to analyze animal acitivty and diversity around the globe.

Use Mosquito Byte! on your mobile device to record a mosquito bite in your exact time and space by simply pressing a button. The application is updated every hour for real-time data.

FrogWatch USA is a field-based program where you use your ears to distinguish among the calls of frogs and toads at wetland sites. There starter maps will help you find out where frogs have been located across the United States.

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality

The Department of Environmental Quality's GIS public platform has datasets, maps, and apps related to every division and environmental topic. Use this site for exploring and downloading open data, discovering apps, and engaging to solve data issues. You can share ideas with others, flag your favorite datasets for later use, and communicate with data developers to improve data and apps for all North Carolinians.

GIS 101

What is GIS?
A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends.* GIS help answer questions and solve problems using mainly maps but also involves globes, reports, figures, and charts. GIS are growing as education tools across disciplines – from science to history.

What is AGOL?
AGOL is ArcGIS OnLine. ArcGIS is a type of GIS software for desktops; AGOL is the online version. We share AGOL maps and apps on this website. Using AGOL, we can share information quickly within our department as well as with our site users.

What is a Layer?
Think of a layer like a piece of wax paper with shapes drawn on it. Only these shapes (points, lines, or polygons) represent things like the North Pole, rivers, and state parks. Layers do not have much meaning by themselves.

What is a Map?
Maps are layers with meaning; a map is one or more layers put in context. So, now, that piece of wax paper is laid upon an existing basemap – like one of North Carolina. You can have multiple layers on top of each other in a map. Depending on how they are laid out (i.e., which piece of wax paper is on top), you may not be able to see every part of every layer in a map. Because of this, you can toggle layers on and off when in a map.

What is a Basemap?
Basemaps are maps that are used to give context. They are interchangeable and have different uses depending on your need. You have probably used basemaps already when relying on a GPS service; sites often allow you to change between three basemaps: cartoon streets; actual landscape imagery, and topographic displays.

What is an App?
Apps are the third piece of the puzzle. Using a map, you can create an app. An app is an interactive map - you can do more than turn layers on or off! For instance, you can measure distance between shapes in layers (ex., the distance from The North Pole to the Outer Banks); filter out shapes in layers (ex., only show state parks that have mountain biking trails); and calculate properties of shapes (ex., find the largest body of water in my county).

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