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ArcGIS for Schools Program - Lurgan Sentiment Survey

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Lurgan is a very spatially divided town. The sectarian issues work themselves out in many ways, including spatially - residential areas tend to be very segregated, and the shared public spaces tend to be underused, especially at night.

This video showcases the journey of 45 students from Catholic & Protestant students from St. Ronan's, Lurgan College and Lurgan Junior High on 29th January 2019 - as they conducted a sentiment survey of 10 emotive locations in their town. The students used ArcGIS for Schools technology and the Survey 123 App to gather over 460 data points during the survey, which they then analysed back in class. This created insightful talking points with the students about how their feel about their town and ways it could be improved.

There is a Shared Education Programme project between the schools in the town and the Geography departments in the schools are keen to use GIS to help explore the spatial dimension to the division in the town with the following goals:

- Give the students a meaningful GIS experience to deepen their experience of Geography applied to the real world.
- Facilitate reconciliation outcomes by allowing students to explore and discuss the issues relating to sectarianism in the town, especially as they relate to their spatial out workings.
- Partner with key stakeholders to collect and present useful data on the young people’s perceptions of the spaces around Lurgan.
- Showcase this in appropriate contexts as a model of how partnership and the use of 21st century technology can help facilitate discussions and interactions regarding the spatial impacts of sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

Alistair Hamill, Head of Geography, Lurgan College, said: “The cross-community element of the project was very important. Residential areas in Lurgan tend to be segregated, and shared public spaces are often underused, especially at night. The project brought together students from every school in the town to explore these divisions.

“Using Esri’s mapping platform and mobile app, students visited areas across the town and recorded their perception of safety within that space. Data collection through Esri’s app was seamless and intuitive, meaning the tech never got in the way of the subject. The project enabled students to visit places they’ve never been before - increasing their sense of understanding of both the town and each other.”

Hannah Murtagh, geography teacher, St. Ronan’s College, concluded: “This project gave young people in Lurgan the opportunity to have their voice heard - enabling them to put forward suggestions to make the town a better and more inclusive place. Incorporating digital elements within learning makes absolute sense as using the technology came as second-nature to my students. The Esri team were fantastic in their support throughout and I will continue to utilise the digital mapping platform for other topics as well as recommending its use to my colleagues.”

About Us:
Esri Ireland specialises in the application of geographic information systems, helping customers record where things happen and analyse why, with the aim of providing insight and helping them to make better decisions. As Esri's official point of presence in Ireland it has, since 2002, partnered with both the public and private sector to help them understand the impact of geography on their business. Recognised as one of the Best Workplaces in Ireland, Esri Ireland is part of the Esri Global Network, a billion-dollar privately held software company with nearly 10,000 employees worldwide.

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