Saturday, July 27, 2013

We take for granted: it is a geospatial revolution!!

The technology we take for granted: it is a geospatial-revolution!!

It is amazing how quickly we absorb technology. Technology which only a few years ago was met with ‘wow’ is just taken as ‘of course you can!’ Can you imagine walking into a meeting only 20 years ago and launching Google Earth (let alone the 3D capacity (Google Earth) on your computer and then showing people their house using the Streetview function of Google Maps? People would be incredulous and truly amazed by the technology. Today, everyone uses the technology and consider it as a norm and expectation. What has happened during this osmotic absorption of spatial technology is indeed a geospatial evolution.

“Ask someone about ‘geography’ and their response would probably be that it is an academic subject dealing with countries of the world and their political and physical characteristics. However, over the past 15 to 20 years there has been a massive revolution happening in both the private and public sector, as geography has proved to be a fundamental part of the processes on which these commercial and non-commercial organisations rely.”       Roy Laming ESRI (UK) CEO

Over the past 10-15 years the capacity of spatial systems has resulted in more than 80% of all data being attached to place (coordinates to enable a geo-referenced location for the data).  People expect to see a map, not just view data!  As a result it can be argued that as a  citizens capacity people should be able to read, interpret and analysis maps. This skill has become even more important than making a map – the technology can make the map! While this revolution has been going on, geography has been declining in our schools!  Why?  This is a question the spatial industry and geographers keep asking. In essence we have a shortage in ‘spatially enabled people’ as functional citizens and workers. We need more Spatialogists!
The so called geospatial revolution has implications for the development of the spatial literacy of the students in our schools. Some commentators refer to spatial literacy (or spatial thinking as described in the US) as the 4th R. The following YouTube videos from Pennsylvania University in the US are a great introduction to the nature and implications of the geospatial revolution for our society and in turn our curriculum and schools.

No comments: