Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Engagement: Entry Points for GIS in Public Pedagogy

Type: Panel
Theme: Public Engagement in Geography
Sponsor Groups: American Association of Geographers
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon B2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Derek Alderman
Chairs: Rebecca Theobald


This session is one of several organized for the purpose of providing grounded but critical discussion of public engagement and outreach opportunities, strategies, and challenges. Sessions build upon the experiences of panelists/facilitators and the sharing of perspectives from the audience to create a space where geographers can train each other, trade innovations and ideas, and negotiate practical and even political obstacles to public engagement in geography. .

In keeping with the theme of public engagement, this session opens a space for demonstrating how geographers can support public groups through online mapping tools. Geographers engage with maps for a variety of reasons – spatial information gathering, analysis, and data visualization – as part of the geographic research cycle. Maps also grab the attention of individuals not trained in spatial thinking and are powerful tools for conveying spatial relationships and information. While computer users may be adept at finding favorite restaurants or avoiding traffic jams using online mapping tools, underlying data and software used to construct online maps are less familiar. Questions to explore in this session include: How can those knowledgeable about geographic information science (GIS) provide entry points for the public to become literate in online geospatial technology tools and applications? What are different levels of understanding that invite interactions with and contributions to online maps? Who are some of the most effective individuals at bringing map skills to audiences beyond geographers and GIS professionals? What venues, events, or interactions are most effective in dissemination of mapping knowledge? How can geographers and GIS professionals facilitate online mapping knowledge and experience? What role do elementary and secondary teachers play in exposing students to GIS? What role do librarians play in introducing patrons to GIS? Panel members will present brief presentations about work intersecting GIS and the public, discuss barriers and opportunities to reaching wider audiences, and brainstorm approaches to moving GIS into classrooms, nonprofit organizations, and collective public knowledge.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Rebecca Theobald University of Colorado Colorado Springs 20
Discussant Kelley O'Neal University of Maryland 20
Panelist John Harner University of Colorado 20
Panelist Timothy Hawthorne University of Central Florida 20
Panelist Michael Ratcliffe U.S. Bureau Of the Census 20
Panelist Nathan Piekielek The Pennsylvania State University 1

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