Education

Are geographers part of the GIS discourse

GIS has effectively entered multiple disciplines of health, education, power etc., areas that have a fair number of geographers conducting research.

As far as India is concerned, statistics prove that GIS has not been taken up in a big way, neither by the academia, nor by the market. And as far as geographers are concerned, GIS opportunities are just beginning to emerge.

GIS offers a mixed bag of opportunities for assessing the worth of geographers in the market. But in the meantime, instead of being mere bystanders, we need to take important clues and adapt ourselves, as always, to the changing times.

One reason why geographers are not playing a very important role in the GIS is because there is a gap in the course curriculum and the expectations from GIS. GIS holds many opportunities for modern education in which students learn geography by engaging in geographic inquiry. However, there are many requirements for successful implementation of GIS.

Although even now geography and related areas of study dominate the discourse especially in the field of career (Fig 1) – but increasingly apparent is the advent of other subjects (Agriculture, Computer Science, Physics, Environmental Science, Geology, Civil Engineering Other Engineering, Photography, Forestry, Business Related, Social Sciences and General Studies) as may be seen in the Fig below.

gis-opp

Source: Dr. M S Nathawat, 2016, Integrating Geospatial Technologies in Higher Education Curriculum

In order to design good tasks, teachers need to be able to reorganize and transform their own geographic subject knowledge and geographic methodological knowledge so that it becomes accessible for students.

A curriculum revision is required in the nation from the secondary levels to develop a model where science can be integrated into geography so that the advantages of both are maintained. For example, geographers need to be trained in adapting GIS software (just as a B. Tech would) to their needs during their course work to open up a new era of opportunities for specialised professionals.

Realizing this, LIGHTS Research Foundation with the support of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had organized a two day national seminar on ‘Integrating Geospatial Technologies in Higher Education Curriculum’. The seminar entailed with a training programme for school and college teachers on GIS and its applications. The training was carried out on both the days and got fairly good response from teachers in the National Capital Region.

The training saw active participation from the faculties of Delhi Public School (DPS) Bulandsheher, DPS International, DPS Greater Fridabad, DPS R K Puram, DPS Mathura Road, Salwan Public School, Mothers International School, Step by Step School (Noida), The Mann School and more.

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