Friday, July 23, 2010

India to Teach Geospatial Technology in Secondary Schools

According to All Points Blog, India has begun a pilot program to teach students how to use geospatial technology. The instruction will give students the ability to use tools like GIS to become geospatial analysts.

Two important notes on this development:

1) India's emphasis on geospatial technology further divides what geography is between the East and West. Western geography is currently split sedevacantist-style between British-style social thought human geographers, hard core physical geographers, and GIS users who are making geographic information science its own separate field. Meanwhile, the Eastern geography powers of India and the People's Republic of China (PRC) focus solely on technical geography. There is no room in Eastern geography for "soft" human geography while physical geography is done by geology-based engineers. Much of the geographic work done today in the East is applied in construction, engineering, and urban planning.

2) The second note is one of worry. An overemphasis on geospatial technology would favor how to use technology over spatial thought. I have feared in the past that geospatial technology like GIS would be tech schoolized as the spatial reasoning and geography in general are abandoned. This has happened in the PRC and I worry that India may head down the same path.

2 comments:

Rybu said...

Fascinating thoughts!

Are you looking to go teach or volunteer in India? That sounds like a great opportunity.

The next great GIS front - Africa! That's where it get's interesting!

Cheers!

Catholicgauze said...

Rybu,
No plans to teach again just yet. However, I hope I will return to teaching once again. Thanks for the complement!