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International IT Conference on Geo-Spatial Education, Hong Kong

In the subject areas of mapping, geography, environmental science and the like, spatial concept is an important element. At the time, when our society is encouraging the use of digital maps, the research into environmental protection, the tracking of cars using GPS navigation system etc., there is no excuse of not updating our teachers and students with the rapid developments of spatial information science and technology, especially. With a mission of introducing geo-spatial science technology widely to education policy-makers, managers, principals and teachers, the International IT Conference on Geo-Spatial Education hosted by the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was held on 6th –8th July 2000 in Hong Kong. Its objectives are summarised as follows:

  • to share local experience in teaching spatial science subjects;
  • to bring international experience to all participants;
  • to investigate existing and new education techniques and technology;
  • to review the policy to implement IT for geo-spatial education at all levels; and
  • eventually to pass on the gained knowledge to students.

A wide range of topics had been covered, including curriculum development, education theory, computer-aided teaching and learning, distance learning, multi-media technology, applications of GIS in high school education, web-based spatial science education, applications of remote sensing in high school education, children and cartography, map-based teaching and virtual reality. These were disseminated through a range of activities such as technical sessions, poster exhibitions and software demonstrations to over 200 participants. Altogether 27 papers from 13 countries and regions were presented in the conference and were published in the conference proceedings. The support was given by various local universities, government departments and private companies in exhibiting and demonstrating their activities and products. Four different workshops with hands-on experience on ‘Developing a Virtual World for Classroom Teaching’, ‘A Quantitative Approach to Transport Networking Studies’, ‘Hong Kong Digital Map Data – Structure and Applications’ and ‘Internet and Web-based GIS’ were fruitful and interesting, especially to participants who were new to the GIS technology.

The opening ceremony was graced by three renowned keynote speakers. Professor David Rhind, Vice Chancellor of City University of United Kingdom addressed the importance of GIS education worldwide and depicted the essential elements in knowledge economy. Professor Kai-ming Cheng, Chair Professor of Education and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong provided an insight on educational reforms and the important role of IT to our new generation of children. Mr. Wing-ching Shih, Managing Director of Centaline Property Agency Limited switched the tone more to the commercial side, exemplifying the application of mapping and Internet technology on the market economy. The three-day conference was full of discussions and sharing around, not only in the technical sessions, but also during tea time, while walking around and on the boat with the spectacular night view of the Victoria Harbour. On the basis of the experiences of teaching Geography, GIS, Remote Sensing in schools or universities, the participants felt a strong need for such an occasion, getting chances to know what others have been doing, to justify one’s effort in investigating and implementing new methodology, to exchange contacts and correspondences.

For more information, contact Lilian Pun-Cheng, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, (email: [email protected]).