4-H Geospatial Sciences

Extension and outreach activities for educators and youth leaders focus on technical capacity building workshops in geospatial science and technology. The tools of global positional system (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing are taught and applied to explore and analyze changing landscapes and create community maps for local empowerment and informed decision-making.

Educator Professional Development

As part of the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Science extension initiative,  staff at IRIS have been involved in a number of outreach programs that engage New York State educators in geospatial technology.

Engaging youth in GPS, GIS and remote sensing technology

Providing educators with tools, resources and skills for engaging youth in GPS, GIS and remote sensing technology.

4-H'ers are having a blast exploring geospatial sciences from simple Geocaching (using GPS receivers to look for hidden treasure boxes all around the world) to complex community mapping projects.  New local clubs are forming as a result of a generous grant opportunity sponsored by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).  The result is 4-H'ers are learning to use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to collect spatial data, plot results on detailed maps, and provide useful resources to community planners. CCE Staff may check out GPS equipment by contacting sbh1 [at] cornell.edu (Susan Hoskins).

GPS, GIS AND Remote Sensing Program Components

4-H Youth Career Explorations is a three-day event for youth on the Cornell University campus. The purpose of this program is to provide youth with exposure to academic fields and career exploration, to develop leadership skills, to provide hands-on experience in a college setting and to introduce you to Cornell University.   The event is made up of two grade specific tracts: University U for youth entering grades 8 - 9 and Focus for Teens for youth entering grades 10-12.


4-H STEM Challenge (formerly known as National Youth Science Day) is an exciting, interactive learning experience that engages thousands of youth across the country in conducting the National Science Experiment. The 2016 experiment was Drone Discovery. Drone Discovery was developed by Cornell University Cooperative Extension. It’s a hands-on engineering design challenge that explores the science behind drones and how they are being used to solve real world problems. Youth will learn everything from flight dynamics and aircraft types, to safety and regulations, to remote sensing and flight control.


Engaged Programs - Getting Kids Excited About Spatial Science through 4-H Drone Discovery

Best of the Show: New York Giant Traveling Map

Cornell Partners on 4-H National Youth Science Day


IRIS Partnerships

Visualizing Coastal Change

IRIS partnered with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) New York Sea Grant(NYSG) to develop workshops for New York educators. The series of exercises were drawn from a Web-based mapping project on how coastlines change over time along more than 500 miles of New York's urban coastal and estuarine environments.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI)

Partnering with New York Geographic Alliance (NYGA), IRIS developed teacher training workshops. The NYGA received a grant from NOAA and the National Geographic Society as part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative.  It was a two-year grant (2012-2014) that trained teachers and informal educators in New York about watersheds and related topics.


Adopt a Pixel (AaP) is a NASA program to involve youth in collecting ground reference data to help improve the accuracy of Landsat scene interpretation by Landsat scientists.  In NY, IRIS in partnership with NASA has engaged 4-H group to participate.

Workshop materials gathered by IRIS staff

As part of the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Science extension initiative, staff at IRIS has been developing a collection of workshop materials aimed for use by NYS educators.


We gather together geographic imagery (photos and maps) for individual sites.  These resources illustrate how these reference materials help to identify land use changes, natural and man-made features in area of focus.


The key element of our workshops is how to get participants engaged and excited about the information they can glean from these resources.


sbh1 [at] cornell.edu (Susan Hoskins )- Senior Extension Associate, Image Analyst, Resource Inventory Program Leader, and Institute Director.