New Master´s thesis within the GeospatialLearning@PrimarySchool context

After Henning´s Diploma Thesis and Thomas ongoing Ph.D. thesis that both fit the context of GeospatialLearning@PrimarySchool, I will soon begin writing my master´s thesis for my degree in Geoinformatics. In fact I am already doing preparatory work, literature research as well as preparing practical parts.
The topic of my thesis will be USING OPEN GEODATA TO CREATE “MAPS FOR KIDS”. I guess, even though the topic is pretty self-explanatory, I will try to explain my project a bit more. It mostly consists of two parts, a theoretical foundation on the one hand and a practical implementation on the other hand. The idea is to explore the spatial perception of kids and its representation on a (digital) map. So how do kids perceive their environment and how could this be represented best, using digital maps? To support the findings in literature, i am trying to deploy a series of paper based tests with children to get a better idea of how the perfect map for kids should look like. The result of the literature work will in the end be implemented into a custom renderer that takes the raw data from the openstreetmap database and creates a digital map (served as WMS) that is suitable for kids.
The idea for this topic was merely born while working on different projects (e.g. within this study project) within the context of creating software to be used by kids to strengthen their spatial thinking. Even though all these projects were designed very child-friendly and intuitive, they always relied on either google maps or the standard rendered openstreetmaps, which are both very good products, but do not account for the special demands that kids might have towards such a map. So I decided to investigate further into that issue.
A first series of tests will be performed later that month in the School Padre Emilio Miotti in Brazil, where I am currently staying. This is done to also ensure the intercultural aspect of the final map. First results and more information are to come soon. If you have questions or remarks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. During my stay here, I work with the NIED in a project that promotes cooperation between research and schools, based on the deployment of XO-laptops . The NIED uses the approach of participatory design to ensure the incoorporation of all project partners.

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