Rethinking GIS teaching to bridge the gap between technical skills and geographic knowledge

Stefania Bertazzon


Teaching GIS in universities, over the last few decades, has often been applied in focus. Yet academic research is much more than application: epistemology, representation, critical GIS have been gaining an increasing share of research. This trend is paralleled by increasing awareness and sophistication in the professional practice of GIS. Nonetheless, the increasing availability of spatial analytical techniques in commercial and freeware GIScience software, not paralleled by an increased knowledge in GIScience practitioners, raises questions about the maturity of the GIScience user community and the potential consequences of an incautious popularization. Appealing to the average GIScience user by means of friendly interfaces, most analytical functions fail to keep a standard promise of GIScience software: guiding the user through a safe path to a successful application. This lack of guidance is perceived as a gap, the consequences of which range from discouragement to naïve or incorrect applications. Future GIScience professionals should be prepared to look beyond their software interface, and the discipline should strive to maintain its own rules and make its own decisions when it comes to packaging their tools. A key role can and must by played by those who teach GIS in our universities, whose task id to form a generation of GIScientists, not simply of GIS technicians.

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Sponsoring Organizations:

Sapienza Università di Roma University of Helsinki Università di Torino Western Michigan University


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Edizioni Nuova Cultura


Online ISSN: 2281 - 5694 Print ISSN: 2281 – 4310 © 2013 - Edizioni Nuova Cultura