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4 Recommendations T he overriding challenge for society with respect to GIS/GIScience is to ensure the next generation of scientists and technologists is produced in large numbers and is well prepared to build on the impressive progress achieved during the last 30 years. The committee of- fers the following recommendations 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 (http://www.ertico.com/ [accessed 24 May 2006]). 3. GIScience should be recognized as a coherent research specialty. The National Science Foundation should take responsibility for coordi- nating funding for GIS and 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 55
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56 BEYOND MAPPING 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 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 and an informed citizenry, education programs in GIS/GIScience should be implemented at all levels of education (K-20, with special attention at the K-16 levels) in the United States. These programs should cut across tradi- tional disciplinary borders and employ the latest technologies. The nu- merous ways GIS and GIScience can enhance spatial thinking (NRC, 2006a, pp.166-216) offer promising mechanisms for accomplishing that task, especially at the K-12 level. Maximum use should be made of the National Science Foundation's programs for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institu- tions (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 NCGIA 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 es- tablished to promote such relationships, perhaps under the auspices of UCGIS and OGC or as part of the Institute for Geographic Information Science proposed in Recommendation 4. Industry and government could
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RECOMMENDATIONS 57 also expand their existing contributions to universities of serving on advi- sory boards, offering internships, and serving as adjunct faculty. e. The UCGIS Model Curricula Body of Knowledge1 should be maintained and widely adopted and implemented, since it provides a basis for determining the eligibility of education achievement claims for GIS certification. 1http://www.ucgis.org/priorities/education/modelcurriculaproject.asp (accessed 24 May 2006).
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