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 dont 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.
From 25.04.2011 to 29.04.2011, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, (INPE) (Brazil) and the Institut for Geoinformatics (ifgi) (Germany) of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster held a one week workshop in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brasil. This event was organised in the context of the German-Brasilian Year of Science, Technology and Innovation. Researchers of the GI@School initiative of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster got in touch with scientists from Brazil, all of very different professions, to present work, exchange ideas and discuss future cooperation. This workshop was divided into two parts, a scientific meeting to present and discuss ideas and concepts of the use of GI in the educational context and hands-on session, where the GI@School-group presented concepts and software for use in education (more information).
The GeospatialLearning@PrimarySchool initiative was presented during the scientific meeting part by Thomas Bartoschek. Henning Bredel presented his work in software development for OLPC´s XO-Laptop. During this part of the workshop, many interesting topics were presented by the participants; you can find all the presentations here.
The whole week was filled with inspiring discussions, development of new ideas, also for future cooperation and the exchange of ideas. The second part of the workshop was finished by a mapping party to add the area of the INPE to openstreetmap. The results can be seen here.
Some impressions of this week:
The study project ArcGIS Server – Client/Server Setup and Development for Geospatial Learning (introduced here) finished with some nice developments and results. The groups developed different applications and conducted usabillity-testing at a school in Muenster. The results of these tests were incorporated into the applications.The individual applications were developed as lightweight web based applications and were based on different frameworks. Topics that were covered by the developed applications were:
If you are interested in the individual implementations of the projects, get in touch with us, we will put you in contact with the authors.
The magazin Arc Aktuell by esri will also feature this study project in their upcoming issue.
The new issue has just been released, more on this here.
The ESRI Development Center (EDC) program is an initiative by ESRI to support university departments with outstanding teaching and research in the GIS area. The Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) at the University of Münster got the first EDC in Germany in 2009 (see arcaktuell article 2/2010) . One of the main pillars of this cooperation is the „Geospatial Learning@Primary School“ – initiative.
The focus of spatial learning is one important part of research, teaching and cooperation at the ifgi since some years. The research initiative „GeospatialLearning@PrimarySchool in cooperation with esri develops systems that can be used to foster spatial learning of children, starting at the age of primary school. This development is strongly intercultural and multi-platform based. (Read the full article in english or german)
During the winter term 2010/2011, the Institute for Geoinformatics offers a study project where students will setup a Client/Server Architecture, based on ArcGIS Server. The aim of the study project is the development of different modules for special target groups. i.e.:
– simple location based games
– public participatory planning tools
– web-based editing (digitizing) tools
Those tools, designed to to foster Geospatial Learning will be developed, tested in a school environment and later on published.
Results are to be expected around April 2011.