Lessons Integrating Information and Communication Technology within a Curriculum Area


Teresa Kewachuk (CCRSB)


Using GPS Units to Find the Location of Restaurants

Grade Level


Subject Area

ACS 9, Geography, Economics

Overview of unit/lessons/activities (assumptions of prior knowledge/learning)

Using GPS units, students will collect waypoints to locate restaurants in a town. They will add the waypoints to a map and analyze distance, location and proximity of restaurants to their school. They may suggest a possible location for a new restaurant.

Correlations to ICT and curriculum outcomes

ACS 9 (location SCOs)

Geography 10 (mapping and location SCOs)

ICT Integration:
RPSD 12.1 (relates to 9.1) select appropriate devices and software to collect data, solve problems and note patterns; to make logical decisions and draw conclusions; and to present results, with general supervision
PTS 12.2 (relates to 9.2, 9.6) evaluate, select, and use the following to learn and to represent curriculum concepts under study: specialized software, including computer-based simulations; and measuring, sampling and recording devices, including complex calculators

Projected timeline for preparation and for carrying out activities

Several days; one day to collect GPS waypoints (could be given as homework by sending GPS unit home with students)
One class to upload waypoints to online map and to analyze distance and pattern of location of restaurants.

Equipment Requirements: (computers, software, etc)

GPS unit(s) – the unit used to develop this activity was a Garmin GPS unit
MapSource MetroGuide Canada software (for Garmin GPS unit) see website: http://www.gpscentral.ca/accessories/mapsourcetopocanada.htm

Note: there are other models of GPS units and accompanying software.

Teaching materials provided (Blacklines, worksheets, templates, teacher materials)

Textbooks and geography lab manuals will have basic information about location and maps.

Resources available for teacher/student use (websites, references, etc)

Instruction booklet with GPS unit.
Instruction booklet for MapSource software.
Websites that support your model of GPS unit.
Example: Waypoint information: http://www8.garmin.com/support/faqs/faq.jsp?faq=19

Detailed instructions for each activity or lesson (teacher notes, activity information, learning strategies, teacher role, student roles)

After introducing the topic of location and maps, the teacher could present a question for the students to answer, i.e. where is the closest restaurant? How many restaurants can be supported by the population of their town/area? Where would be the best location to invest in a new restaurant? The questions would depend upon the grade level and access to computer software that can manipulate maps.

Students can brainstorm with the teacher their knowledge about restaurants in the area. They should develop a theory about restaurant placement and attempt to prove it.

Students and teachers can take GPS units and collect waypoints for each restaurant. Note, be sure to have a common strategy to name the waypoints for each site, and that students understand how to correctly name the waypoint in the GPS unit. Refer to the GPS instruction booklet.

When all waypoints are collected, the teacher or student can upload them into the map of the area. Refer to the mapping software instruction booklet.

The map of waypoints can be displayed to the class using a data projector or the teacher can print the map and distribute copies to the student.
Sample: NorthSydRestaurants        Word format        pdf format

Either using the measuring tool in the mapping software or with pencils and rulers and the paper map, students can measure the distance from their school to the various restaurants.
Sample: Measuringdistance        Word format        pdf format

Students and teachers can analyze the map and data to suit the question for this project. Economic students might incorporate demographic data from ESTAT (http://estat.statcan.ca) and examine population trends and sites for local restaurants.

Geography students might conduct a fieldtrip to measure pedestrian and vehicle traffic, street patterns and distance to and from homes if students walk to school.

At the end of the data collection and map analysis, students can write a one-two page summary of their research data and answer to the project question.

Student products expected

Printed map of town (or area) with proper labels for school and restaurants.
One page summary of map analysis and proximity of restaurants to the school.

Samples (include teacher notes, assessment information, student work if available)

Sample map of North Sydney with waypoints for restaurants and Staff Development Centre. NorthSydRestaurants        Word format        pdf format

Sample map of North Sydney, measuring tool on.
Measuringdistance        Word format        pdf format

Logistics (organization, grouping, management issues, access to technology)

One day to collect GPS waypoints (could be given as homework by sending GPS unit home with students)
One class to upload waypoints to online map and to analyze distance and pattern of location of restaurants, and print the map.

Homework: Students will write concluding summary.

Assessment information (e.g., rubrics for products and/or process)

Students could be assessed during the process of collecting data and analyzing the map.
Rubric for collaborative mapping project        Word format        pdf format

Depending upon access to computers with mapping software, students could be assessed on individual maps and data collected from map analysis.

Alternatively, students could write a one-page summary incorporating collected data and their personal analysis.

Possible extensions

Students can collect waypoints for many locations such as banks, churches, gas stations, shopping malls, etc. They can analyze proximity relationships and predict the location where a new business (i.e. gas station) would have the most success.

For example, where might another Tim Horton's be set up, based upon population and transportation routes?

The same activity could be done with car dealerships or with any other type of business.

Adaptations for students requiring additional support

The teacher could create the map with waypoints, and the student can draw conclusions, or use the measuring tool to determine the shortest route between two buildings.

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