logoChesapeake Bay FieldScope

FieldScope is a National Geographic tool for exploring, sharing, and analyzing real-world data sets, including observations from students and scientists studying the world around them.

FieldScope requires the Adobe Flash Player version 10.2.0 or newer. Download the flash player here
NOTE: Apple's Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad does not support the Flash player. To use FieldScope on one of these devices, consider purchasing a third-party web browser that supports Flash, such as Puffin.

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Welcome to Chesapeake Bay FieldScope!

FieldScope is a National Geographic tool for exploring, sharing, and analyzing real-world data sets, including observations from students and scientists studying the world around them. Before getting started with FieldScope take a tour to learn about what you can do with this online tool.


FieldScope offers a variety of datasets for you to explore including rivers and streams, wetlands, elevation, and water depth.


Toggle the transparency of a layer on the map by moving the horizontal bar back and forth. Add two or more layers and experiment with the transparency to view relationships between variables.


Click the blue information icon beside each layer to view its legend.


Use Query Point to get information about a given point on the map. Make sure the layers you are interested in are added to the map, then click a point to get specific data from that point.


See how the Chesapeake has changed from 1607 to today with embedded clips from National Geographic's "Exploring the Chesapeake - Then and Now."


View student-collected water quality data by clicking on the "Student Observations" and "Student Photos" layers. Click on the black dots to view data, or the camera icons to see photos students have taken.


Student data is displayed alongside professional water quality data collected in real time around the region. The window displayed is information collected by CBIBS, the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System, maintained by NOAA.


Create an account and log in to upload data of your own. Once you're logged in, the "Add Observation" and "Add Photo" options will appear in the upper-right toolbar.


Choose from different styles of base maps, including terrain, topographic, satellite, and a custom National Geographic view. Street view is shown.


Identify your geographic position on the map using the latitude and longitude display at the bottom right of the frame. The latitude and longitude values change as you pan around the map.


Click the arrows in the bottom right to view FieldScope in full screen mode.


Use the Search function to plot an address, such as your home or school, on the map. Simply type in an address and FieldScope will plot a balloon at the desired location. You may also search using latitude/longitude coordinates in decimal degrees or degrees/minutes/seconds.


The flowpath tool allows you to display the path water takes from a given point to the Bay. Plot an address using the Search function, select the Flowpath tool, then click as close to the point as possible to calculate your flowpath.


Once you have a point on the map, you can calculate its watershed. Select the watershed tool by clicking the icon indicated on the right, then click as close to your point as possible. Get information about your watershed by selecting the "Query Polygon" tool indicated on the left, clicking in the polygon you've generated, and selecting "Use Watershed."


The measuring tool measures linear distances in either miles or kilometers. Start by clicking at the desired start point, then double click to finish.


Use the Drawing Tools to add labels and markings to the map.


Use the Link and Save functions to link to the map you've created or save it to your computer.


Use the Time Series tab to graph data collected over time. Choose one or more locations, a variable, and a time period to create your own graph. Export it when you're done and save it to your computer for future access.

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Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and other educational resources provided by National Geographic by visiting our website at www.natgeoed.org.

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic Society. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. GEO-0627923 and DRL-1010749. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

The Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Project is a citizen science initiative in which students investigate water quality issues on local and regional scales and collaborate with students across the Bay to analyze data and take action. Chesapeake Bay FieldScope is a project of National Geographic's Education Programs in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.

Find out more on the National Geographic Education website:

Link to National Geographic FieldScope web page Link to National Geographic FieldScope Projects

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