Opportunities and Challenges in Using Geospatial Technologies for Education

  • Joseph J. KerskiEmail author
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)


Opportunities in using geospatial technologies as a meaningful and sustained part of education exist as never before. Most obvious are technological opportunities, centered on the evolution of GST to a web-based platform, including editable online maps that can be customized, analyzed, and shared on any device. Geospatial skills and approaches can be effectively taught in an ever-growing variety of face-to-face and online platforms such as Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). But equally important are opportunities in education that focus attention on inquiry, critical thinking, outdoor education, authentic assessment, STEM, technical, green, and other careers, and meaningful teaching with technology. Societal trends offer unprecedented opportunity to use GST in education. These include location analytics that are embedding a positional component in everyday electronic devices, a growing awareness of the geographic significance of key twenty-first century issues, such as biodiversity, urbanization, food, hazards, water, human health, and others, and the increasing role seen for citizen science in solving problems.

Despite these opportunities, technological, pedagogical, and administrative issues still pose challenges. Technological challenges include Internet bandwidth, spatial data availability and permissions, and cost for software as a service. Pedagogical challenges include teaching with rapidly evolving web GST tools and a lack of a “home” for and awareness of geospatial technologies and spatial thinking in the curriculum. Administrative issues such as competition for educational class time and funding pose additional challenges. Nevertheless, geospatial technologies as a “transformational technology” could very well be poised to make a significant positive impact on education and society.


Opportunities Challenges Inquiry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EsriRedlandsUSA
  2. 2.The University of DenverDenverUSA

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