Click for next page ( 2

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
Summary Digital mapping is about to change our world by documenting the real world, then integrating the information into our computers, phones, and lifestyles. Roll over, Mason and Dixon: spurred by space photography, global satellite position- ing, mobile phones, search engines and new ways of marketing information for the World Wide Web, the ancient art of cartography is now on the cutting edge. --Levy 2004, p.78 T he announcement of the first Virtual Globes Scientific Users Con- ference1 caps three decades of rapid technological change that has had profound and challenging impacts on the mapping sciences. Geographic information systems (GIS), the Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, and other information technologies have all changed the nature of work in the mapping sciences and in the profes- sions, industries, and institutions that depend on them for basic research and education. Today geographic information systems have become cen- tral to the ways thousands of government agencies, private companies, and not-for-profit organizations do business. Geographic information sci- ence (GIScience) is crucial to the way thousands of researchers perform science in numerous disciplines. The supply of GIS/GIScience profession- als, however, has not kept pace with the demand generated by growing needs for more and improved geographic information systems and for more robust geographic data. In response to this dilemma, several gov- ernment agencies2 asked the National Academies to conduct a study that assessed the state of mapping sciences at the beginning of the twenty-first century (Sidebar S-1). 1 (accessed 24 May 2006). 2The Census Bureau, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey. 1

OCR for page 1
2 BEYOND MAPPING SIDEBAR S-1 Statement of Task The study will assess the mapping sciences, addressing the following questions: 1. How have mapping/geographic information activities evolved and what have been their fundamental underpinnings? 2. What is the nature of the research agenda related to the mapping sciences and how might this agenda be addressed by current and possibly future collaborations among many disciplines? 3. What skills and knowledge will be required for professionals in the mapping sciences in corporations, agencies, and educational institu- tions? 4. What are the current strengths and weaknesses of the mapping sciences and how successful have they been in responding to technologi- cal change? 5. What is the state of the research infrastructure and the varying roles of universities, government laboratories, and the private sector? A committee with expertise in geography, geography education, GIS, remote sensing, cartography, spatial analysis, geodetic science, cognitive science, survey engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineer- ing, urban and regional affairs, environmental science, natural resource management, economics, urban economic geography, and computer science was formed to complete the study. The committee gathered, syn- thesized, and analyzed information from sponsors, personnel from gov- ernment programs, representatives of industry, academia, and from professional societies and other nongovernmental organizations. The committee held three meetings and a workshop between June 2002 and February 2003. The workshop was organized to bring together technical visionaries as well as early adopters and innovators. As background ma- terial, the committee reviewed government documents and materials, pertinent National Research Council reports, and other relevant studies. This report identifies the critical national needs for GIS/GIScience professionals. It examines the forces that drive and accompany the need for GIS/GIScience professionals, including technological change, demand for geographic information, and changes in organizations. It assesses edu- cation and research needs, including essential training and education, new curriculum challenges and responses, quality assurance in education and training, and organizational challenges. The report also looks at such GIS/

OCR for page 1
SUMMARY 3 GIScience research needs as practical and theoretical challenges, society and infrastructure issues, and research agendas. The focus for this report was developed during the study process. There was general agreement among the sponsors that the report would be most effective if it were to address university and college administra- tors because universities and colleges are the primary producers of GIS/ GIScience professionals. It was also agreed that federal agencies and pri- vate organizations would find the report of interest because they are con- sumers of GIS/GIScience professionals. The overriding challenge for society with respect to GIS/GIScience is to ensure that the next generation of scientists and technicians is produced in large numbers and is well prepared to build on the impressive progress achieved during the last 30 years. The committee offers five recommenda- tions in response to that challenge: 1. The mapping sciences, despite numerous attempts to formulate one, still lack a coherent, comprehensive research agenda. Scientists from the multiple disciplines engaged in GIS/GIScience should make a con- certed effort to achieve consensus on such an agenda, using the most re- cent outline proposed by the University Consortium for Geographic In- formation Science (UCGIS) as a point of departure. 2. Private-public funding models should be thoroughly investigated and, where feasible, should be applied to GIScience research in the United States. A possible model is Intelligent Transportation Systems and Ser- vices--Europe ( [accessed May 24, 2006]). 3. GIScience should be recognized as a coherent research specialty. The National Science Foundation should take responsibility for coordi- nating funding for GIS/GIScience, as recommended in Mark (1999). 4. Collaboration should be promoted among academic disciplines, private companies, and federal, state, and local government agencies to create a virtual network of GIScience researchers, laboratories, centers, and corporations. For example, an Institute for Geographic Information Science could be established under the joint auspices of the UCGIS (Sidebar S-2), representing major research universities, and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), representing industry, government agen- cies and laboratories, and universities (Sidebar S-3). 5. The country's colleges and universities must become more flexible if they hope to keep pace with the GIS/GIScience industry and with gov- ernment programs. Industry and government have taken the lead in de- veloping and implementing digital approaches to map production; aca- demic institutions follow as much as they lead. Accordingly: a. Academic institutions should reconsider their internal organi- zation and reward structures to make them more responsive to emerging

OCR for page 1
4 BEYOND MAPPING SIDEBAR S-2 The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) The UCGIS is a nonprofit consortium of universities and other research institutions dedicated to advancing our understanding of geographic pro- cesses and spatial relationships through improved theory, methods, tech- nology, and data. The three major components of its mission are: 1. To serve as an effective, unified voice for the geographic informa- tion science research community; 2. To foster multidisciplinary research and education; and 3. To promote the informed and responsible use of geographic in- formation science and geographic analysis for the benefit of society. The goals of the UCGIS are: To unify effort by providing ongoing research priorities for ad- vancing theory and methods in geographic information science and to as- sess the current and potential contributions of GIS to national scientific and public policy issues; To facilitate the expansion and strengthening of geographic infor- mation science education at all levels and to provide the organizational infrastructure to foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research in geo- graphic information science; and To benefit society by promoting the ethical use of and access to geographic information and by fostering geographic information science and analysis in support of national needs. SOURCE: UCGIS website, (accessed May 24, 2006). specialties like GIS/GIScience, and to reward (or at least not penalize) faculty members who pioneer innovative topics and who engage in col- laborative work with government agencies and private firms. Where credit for enrollments impedes cross- and multidisciplinary education, credit-sharing mechanisms should be employed. Devising institutional arrangements that favor robust GIS/GIScience and the funds necessary to sustain it will yield large dividends in the form of ready employment for undergraduates and advanced-degree graduates. b. To meet the need for trained GIS/GIScience professionals as well as an informed citizenry, education programs in GIS/GIScience should

OCR for page 1
SUMMARY 5 SIDEBAR S-3 The Open Geospatial Consortium The Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. (OGC) is a nonprofit, interna- tional, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the de- velopment of standards for geospatial and location-based services. Through its member-driven consensus programs, OGC works with government, pri- vate industry, and academia to create open and extensible software appli- cation programming interfaces for geographic information systems and other mainstream technologies. Its mission is to lead the global develop- ment, promotion, and harmonization of open standards and architectures that enable the integration of geospatial data and services into user appli- cations and advance the formation of related market opportunities. SOURCE: OGC website, (accessed May 24, 2006). be implemented at all levels of education (K-20, with special attention at K-16) in the United States. These programs should cut across traditional disciplinary borders and employ the latest technologies. The numerous ways GIS and GIScience can enhance spatial thinking (NRC, 2006a, pp.166-216) offer promising mechanisms for accomplishing that task, es- pecially at the K-12 level. Maximum use should be made of the National Science Foundation's programs for Research Experiences for Undergradu- ates (REU) and Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) in pursuing this goal (NSF, 2006a,b). c. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Science Foundation are to be commended for their recent programs en- couraging needed research and organizational changes in academia. Such programs should be expanded and broadened to ensure that the country produces enough trained professionals to lead GIScience in the future. d. More government-private, industry-academic partnerships are needed, and industry should consider funding relevant academic research and training to assure continued future innovation. The success of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis in obtaining private-sector funding for its work provides a model for such efforts and illustrates the benefits of academic-federal-industry coalition building. A government-industry-academic board should be established to promote such relationships, perhaps under the auspices of UCGIS and OGC or as part of the Institute for Geographic Information Science proposed in Rec-

OCR for page 1
6 BEYOND MAPPING ommendation 4. Industry and government could also expand their exist- ing contributions to universities of serving on advisory boards, offering internships, and serving as adjunct faculty. e. The UCGIS Model Curricula Body of Knowledge3 should be maintained and widely adopted and implemented, since it provides a basis for determining the eligibility of education achievement claims for GIS certification. 3 (accessed 24 May 2006).