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Spatial Citizenship

Google Earth, geoinformation and geo-representation in education

Cloud created by:

Karl Donert
7 October 2009

The are increasing amounts of geoinformation (GI) available to us as citizens. Google Earth, Google Maps, WorldView and many other online sources offer millions of pieces of geoinformation and many varied modes of visual geo-representation.

Location-based services are becoming pervasive. Spatial awareness and geo-understanding are core competences which need to be developed to enable citizens to contribute meaningfully to these shared digital environments. Critical evaluation of the information available is also essential where maps and other visualisations frequently tell lies at their worst and half-truths at their best.

This cloudscape aims to discuss and develop some competences associated with spatial citizenship and the learning and teaching issues facing those in education.

European benchmark statements for citizenship and GI in education have been produced by the HERODOT network for Geography in higher education, However it is clear the geoinformation and its uses crosses most disciplinary boundaries and work is being undertaken at many different levels and areas, see for example the iGuess Project ( Thus it is hoped that this discussion will not be limited to the geo-community, but to others involved in technlogies and teaching.

Some initial questions which might be worth discussing include: 

  • what uses do/could citizens have for spatial information? How and where do they get them now and in the future?
  • what core skills and competences can be considered as spatial literacy?
  • what does being spatially aware involve?
  • how do we make meaning from goinformation? What role does visualisation have?
  • what pedagogies need to be encouraged that might lead young people to act as responsible citizens?

Hope to read you soon

Contact details: Karl Donert:

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