Inspiring learners to take up GISc careers

August 28th, 2014, Published in Articles: PositionIT

 

A Global Connections and Exchange: My Community, our Earth (MyCOE) Youth TechCamp was hosted at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Geoinformation Science (GISc) from 14 to 22 July 2014. The program aims to provide opportunities for youngsters to learn more about online geo-technologies and how to apply them in service of their communities. The camp was arranged by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) with funding and support from the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as the assistance of local organisers, EIS-Africa and AfriSpatial.

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The participants were selected through a competitive application process, and the TechCamp exposed them to various career opportunities in GISc. The camp was attended by thirty-seven learners, with ten learners flying in from the US to join local high school learners from three different provinces in South Africa. The learners were between the ages of 15 and 18, and most have geography as a subject at school. The main aim of integrating learners with different levels of skills and from different contexts, was to initiate skills and cultural exchange.

The ten-day camp included practical sessions in computer labs, field trips, and inspiring talks by well-known environmental scientist, Prof. Coleen Vogel, and geologist and speleologist, Roger Ellis. Learners worked in groups to complete a project that applies geo-technologies to solve a real world spatial planning problem related to water resource management, climate change, pollution, dolomite and sinkholes in the Centurion Lake area. They used Gauteng datasets, which included satellite imagery, a digital elevation model (DEM), street networks and geological data, and acquired basic GIS skills, such as digitising, spatial analysis and map composition, by using QGIS and Esri Story Maps.

Contact Serena Coetzee, University of Pretoria, Tel 012 420-3823, serena.coetzee@up.ac.za

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