EduGIS: the educational GIS portal of The Netherlands
EduGIS is a web environment which Dutch educational institutions can use for free to access geographical datasets (digital maps), a map section with basic GIS functionality and related assignments. The current version of EduGIS is aimed at geography lessons at secondary schools, but it can be used also for all other subjects in which a spatial component is important. One of the most important objectives of EduGIS is to lower the threshold for teachers who are prepared to start using GIS in the classroom.
Both in the private and public sector, there is a growing demand for experts in geographical information systems (GIS). Although sporadic attention is paid to GIS in secondary and primary education, this is often complicated because of the lack of country-wide geographical data, the right software and clear assignments that can be discussed together with the students.
The EduGIS website contains various datasets and a viewer for viewing these sets. The assignments that correspond to use of the maps allow the students to become acquainted with GIS and the use of various digital maps without effort. In addition, the site provides general information about GIS and the objective and use of EduGIS. The cases included in the portal are consistent with the study plan and with different educational methods. They deal with current subjects, like flooding in the Ooijpolder, but also with the students’ own environment. The cases are prepared in conjunction with geography teachers.
The web mapping component of EduGIS contains basic GIS functionality. This means that maps can be put on top of one another, that it is possible to zoom in and zoom out, and that the information linked to the map layers can be retrieved.
Until 2008, the functionality can be further expanded. First of all, GPS functionality will be supported so that the students can add their own field data to the map. Besides, there are plans to support 3D visualisation and the use of PDAs in EduGIS.
With EduGIS there are no reasons left for teachers not to start working with GIS with the students while:
- it takes little time to prepare a class and to acquaint students with GIS
- the modules, data and GIS functionality are ready
- not a single installation is required
- the system requirements for the school computers are low
- the assignments in EduGIS deal with general and current subjects and will be kept up-to-date at least until 2008.
The EduGIS website is developed using Open Source components. Examples include the Content Management System (CMS) Joomla, the map component Mapbuilder, the UMN mapserver and a PostrgreSQL database for data storage. The web services are based on OpenGIS standards. So the maps can be viewed with any GIS software that complies with these standards.
The EduGIS consortium facilitates EduGIS. Besides Geodan, the Free University Amsterdam, the Dutch Cadaster, Geonovum, ESRI and Animaxander are represented in this consortium. Geodan is responsible for the technical components of EduGIS. The EduGIS project is partly financed by the Space for Geo-Information Foundation and will run until the end of 2008.
You will find more information on the EduGIS website