Geospatial Technologies

The Present and Future Roles of Emerging Technologies in Environmental Education

Authored by: Barnett Michael , James G. Makinster , Nancy M. Tarautmann , Meredith Houle Vaughn , Sheron Mark

International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892384
eBook ISBN: 9780203813331
Adobe ISBN: 9781136699313


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The ability to use geospatial technologies to explore and analyze the world is no longer isolated to a few skilled scientists and researchers. Rather, such technologies are now available to nearly everyone. Over the past decade, consumer demand has skyrocketed for ways to manipulate and display geospatial information using global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) (Folger, 2008). For example, the integration of GPS data with digital maps has led to handheld and dashboard navigation devices used daily by millions of people worldwide. The release of Google Earth in 2005 made it possible for people from all walks of life to manipulate digital maps and geospatial data (Folger, 2008). The ability to swiftly and dynamically represent Earth's geography and scientific, social, political, economic, and environmental issues from a variety of perspectives creates powerful opportunities for teachers and students. Geospatial tools expand the scope of topics that students can explore, promote interdisciplinary learning, and change the way that students learn to reason about and interpret data (Audet & Abegg, 1996). In other words, anything that can be referenced to a specific geographic location becomes a candidate for investigation (Ramamurthy, 2006).

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