28/8/2015

Mapping in the classroom

 

The tools for visualization, be it charts or maps, are evolving rapidly. Tasks that would have been very difficult and time consuming can now be solved with a desktop application or even simpler via a browser-based tool. Take the creation of detailed, data-driven maps: This would have required expert level knowledge for all steps of the process just 10 years ago. This has changed. Creation of maps is becoming easier, as a result the number of potential users is rising. 

One big upside of this development is that many more topics of relevance for the public will be covered, by students, workers in organizations that would have not created maps in the past and - of course - experts and specialists working with data and maps all the time. But how can we structure the needed knowledge for meaningful maps into a curriculum?

Mapping as a resource for more disciplines

CartoDB published a white paper on that topic, titled "The Future of GIS Education. A cloud-based, open source GIS and mapping solution for education". The paper makes a point about the shifting focus in teaching how to use maps. Future trainings will be aimed both at casual users as well as to future experts, who might be focusing a whole career on maps. Futhermore, the ability to map outcomes, trends, changes can be a part of scientific fields. Quote: "Administrators and educators need to find ways to incorporate this new definition of GIS education into their institutions and curricula. Visualizing data on a map has a home in formal GIS courses, but also as part of a history project or biology field exercise."

This is why structured training and teaching about mapping is about to change. The published paper is a good start to develop a training plan.

Link:
Carto DB White Paper (Note: Asks for personal data before download is possible.)

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