Geospatial data plays a significant part of our modern lives and, to many people, making use of it is as easy as interacting with a mobile device. Behind that interaction is a vast array of technologies responsible for the data acquisition and manipulation prior to it arriving on the user’s device. Take Google Earth and Maps as examples. Most people see these as almost-infinitely zoomable and searchable maps and images of the world controlled by simple user interfaces. Behind these two software are the efforts of many people working with a broad array of technologies. One effort by a group of academics to itemise the educational aspects of those technologies produced a list of 73 discrete learning topics from 10 domains covering physics, geography, mathematics, computer science, cartography, land surveying, remote sensing and political science.
Designing an academic programme for students wishing to follow a career in the geospatial domain is thus a daunting task and presents many challenges to teachers. The current trend is for an academic programme to pick a focus area and minimise or even ignore the presence of other topics with the result that graduates see only a limited part of the geospatial domain. The goal of the Geospatial Education Forum is to draw together educators from a range of constituent disciplines to identify critical limitations to their academic programmes and to propose a New Geospatial Curriculum (NGC) that will produce widely knowledgeable geospatial graduates.
There are 5 objectives in this Project:
- Identify the framework of an NGC that would encompass the various disciplines involved in Geospatial Education.
- Establish a sample set of core challenges the NGC will present to Geospatial Education teachers.
- Develop and test solutions to those challenges.
- Establish a synergy between Geospatial Education practitioners to sustain the development of the NGC.
- Aspire to position Hong Kong at the forefront of the NGC and Geospatial Education.
Project Core Challenges
Three major challenges faced by current Geospatial Educators were identified:
- Incoming Foundation: Addressing the diversity of student knowledge and background.
- Content Awareness: Addressing the diversity of knowledge between educators.
- Reinforcing Study: Addressing issue of encouraging the study of the field
Two type of solutions were produced: tools designed based on teaching pedagogies with the intention to improve teaching of Geospatial Concepts, and tools design to aid the development of Geospatial Subjects.