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Successful Wyoming Atlas Project Launches Digital Version for Wyoming’s K-12 Schools

February 19, 2018
book cover with Tetons and bucking horse logo
This digital version of the Wyoming Student Atlas is now available for Wyoming’s K-12 schools. The 55-page document includes more than 100 full-color maps, as well as numerous charts, tables and photographs. (UW Photo)

In 2014, the University of Wyoming created a hard-copy version of a new Wyoming Student Atlas, with more than 10,000 copies distributed to all Wyoming school districts. Now, a digital version has been produced.

The Wyoming Student Atlas, now available in a digital flipbook version at, has been used in many geography, earth science and social studies classes in elementary and junior high schools, as well as libraries, across the state.

The digital version, like the hard copy, is produced by three UW programs -- the Department of Geography, the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) and the Wyoming Geographic Alliance. The digital 55-page atlas includes more than 100 full-color, interactive maps, along with numerous charts, tables and photographs. The School of Energy Resources provided the funding.

The digital student atlas is targeted to students in Wyoming grades 4-8. The previous hard-copy version was targeted to school libraries; elementary and junior high classrooms where geography is taught as part of the curriculum; and county libraries and their associated branches.

“Many teachers have requested an online version,” says Margo Berendsen, a WyGISC research scientist and lead cartographer for the project.

The online version has many advantages, including allowing students to explore more than 100 interactive maps of Wyoming. In addition to being able to zoom in for more detail than is possible on a printed map, students can click on the map to learn additional information about many features, along with photographs, charts and graphs.

Using a popular “story map” format, the digital atlas provides context for the maps for 38 different themes in physical and human geography, from climate and geology to history, culture, economy, energy resources, mining and agriculture.

The online atlas also encourages students to explore themes at different scales -- from their local community to a regional and, even, a global context. For example, natural hazards -- like earthquakes in Wyoming -- can be compared to hazards across the United States and major earthquakes around the world. Population centers in Wyoming and other economic factors are set within a context of the entire country, along with many other economic factors.

Andrea Hayden, a fourth-grade teacher at Spring Creek Elementary School in Laramie, developed a fourth-grade curriculum on energy resources in Wyoming, using both the hard-copy and online versions of the atlas, which fulfills core standards in social studies, science, geography and writing.

“The Wyoming Student Atlas is an incredible resource! I’ve really enjoyed using it with my students,” Hayden says. “This year, we began using the digital version of the atlas as well. It allows me to project the maps for all students to see, and the story maps provide a wealth of additional information. 

“Over the past couple of summers, I’ve done curriculum workshops with teachers from around the state,” she says. “They have been a great opportunity for increasing awareness of the resource as a powerful tool for incorporating geography and the atlas into their lessons.”

The digital version of the atlas also is geared toward junior high and middle school students. It is accessible on any computer or tablet with an internet connection and also works with classroom smartboards. 

Germaine Wagner, the Wyoming Geographic Alliance’s professional development coordinator, has incorporated the atlas and its maps into its annual summer geography institutes for teachers and plans to incorporate the online version as well.

For more information on the digital Wyoming Student Atlas and related resources, call Berendsen at (307) 766-6649, email, or visit the Wyoming Geographic Alliance website at

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