Undergraduate teaching modules featuring geodesy data applied to critical social topics (GETSI: GEodetic Tools for Societal Issues) Abstract


  • The GETSI project, funded by NSF TUES, is developing and disseminating teaching and learning materials that feature geodesy data applied to critical societal issues such as climate change, water resource management, and natural hazards (serc.carleton.edu/getsi). It is collaborative between UNAVCO (NSF’s geodetic facility), Mt San Antonio College, and Indiana University. GETSI was initiated after requests by geoscience faculty for geodetic teaching resources for introductory and majors-level students. Full modules take two weeks but module subsets can also be used. Modules are developed and tested by two co-authors and also tested in a third classroom. GETSI is working in partnership with the Science Education Resource Center’s (SERC) InTeGrate project on the development, assessment, and dissemination to ensure compatibility with the growing number of resources for geoscience education. Two GETSI modules are being published in October 2015. “Ice mass and sea level changes” includes geodetic data from GRACE, satellite altimetry, and GPS time series. “Imaging Active Tectonics” has students analyzing InSAR and LiDAR data to assess infrastructure earthquake vulnerability. Another three modules are in testing during fall 2015 and will be published in 2016. “Surface process hazards” investigates mass wasting hazard and risk using LiDAR data. “Water resources and geodesy” uses GRACE, vertical GPS, and reflection GPS data to have students investigating droughts in California and the High Great Plains. “GPS, strain, and earthquakes” helps students learn about infinitesimal and coseismic strain through analysis of horizontal GPS data and includes an extension module on the Napa 2014 earthquake. In addition to teaching resources, the GETSI project is compiling recommendations on successful development of geodesy curricula. The chief recommendations so far are the critical importance of including scientific experts in the authorship team and investing significant resources in data preparation (student interns can be excellent for this). GETSI also includes a research element on the way instructors adapt or adopt the resources. After publication, 4 additional testers will be recruited per module. They will provide feedback on how they choose to use the module elements in their courses.

publication date

  • 2015

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