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Geo-Spatial Technologies for Indiana Educators and Students

 

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What are Geo-Spatial Technologies?

Geo-spatial technologies are the twenty-first century mechanisms for more rapidly obtaining, managing and utilizing data to solve problems from a geographic, or spatial, perspective.

•Historically, obtaining data took much time:  coastal mapping with compass and sextants, sailing ships, paper and pen; walking the Santa Fe Trail with paper, pen and journal; economic/resource mapping by foot, horse, camel, elephant, or ship and more. All of these methods took significant amounts of time.  And the information was available on the one piece of paper (or copied to a few other papers).  The information could not easily be obtained.  Each time an individual or organization needed to collect information (population, natural resources, agriculture, habitat, climate, economic goods and products, best trade routes…) they would need to go into the field and gather the information (provided they did not have access to the original information).  Soon, though, several organizations began to create a collection of information (United States Coastal Survey) that could be catalogued at a library or museum or office.  But the information could not be readily obtained by everyone.

•Geo-spatial technology tools or mechanisms include topographic maps, compasses, GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographic information systems) software, orthophotography (aerial photography), satellite imagery and remote sensing (reading the satellite image based on the visual and non-visual light spectrum). Lots of resource possibilities exist. Students can understand the technology tool concepts without necessarily utilizing the tools; although for better understanding and applications, utilizing the tools is desired.

•In the past twenty years or so, new technologies have made the collection and sharing of information (data) more permanent.  With the advent of GPS (global positioning systems), exact locations of data on the Earth’s surface can be collected and permanently stored.  The stored data can be accessed and utilized by almost everyone through software designed to utilize the data (GIS – geographic information systems). GPS tools and GIS software are fairly easy to use and are a fun way to open the world to students in their own 21st century technology window!

A quick Power Point demonstrating the relationship between various geo-spatial technologies (as listed in the left-hand column - orienteering, GPS, GIS, orthophotography, satellite imagery/remote sensing) moving from a two-dimensional technology tool to a multi-dimensional tool. Geo-Spatial Technologies in the K-12 Classroom.

View a short video about the GeoSpatial Revolution Project, where the location of anything is becoming everything! http://geospatialrevolution.psu.edu/ This is an excellent visual about the value of geography and geospatial technologies.

For an archived chat with the creators of GeoSpatial Revolution Project from June 16, 2010.

 

National Geographic Education Foundation