GeoWorld December 2012

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Rewriting the Future toward an Age of Geographic Utopia POSITION W BY TODD DANIELSON illiam Shakespeare wrote in ���The Tempest,��� ���How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in���t.��� Had The Bard been able to see into the year 2013, he might have changed the word ���mankind��� to ���geotechnology��� and written the perfect introduction to this year���s GeoWorld ���Industry Outlook��� feature. Alas, poor readers, you���ll have to settle for my contrived version to make the point. Shakespeare���s line also spawned the title of one of the great works of literature, Aldous Huxley���s ���Brave New World,��� a science-���ction novel that guessed at what the world might look like in 2540. Fortunately, this magazine���s editorial advisory board (EAB) members are only asked to guess about what 2013 will look like, and only in terms of the technology we cover. The State of Geographic Knowledge Todd Danielson is editor of GeoWorld magazine, PO Box 773498, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; e-mail: 4 G E O W O R L D / D E C E M B E R 2 O 1 2 Each year, we ask our EAB several questions that relate to major trends in the industry, and this issue publishes their responses. One question tackled our evolving use of geographic skills, particularly our ability to read and use maps while digital navigation technologies on portable devices have practically replaced printed versions. Although a few EAB members lament our lost ability to read a map, most only consider that a problem if you���re smartphone or navigation device runs out of power or loses its connection. At that point, we���re all clearly in deep trouble, as it seems even our experts have dif���culty reverting to traditional techniques. ���I can still look at a paper map, ���nd my location and destination, and select an appropriate route,��� writes David S. Linden, chief scientist at SAIC Inc. ���However, my ability to execute that route has been severely compromised, especially regarding my sense of direction.��� But, somewhat surprisingly, most everyone agreed that geographic literacy, as a whole, has been greatly improved by an exponential increase in mapping use brought on by digital technology. ���Consumers have been exposed to maps far more than they ever were before,��� notes Dale Lutz, co-founder and vice president of development for Safe Software. ���There are surely more eyeballs on maps now than at any time in human history. The halo effect of this has to be an increased geographic literacy, an increased appreciation of ���where,��� and a deeper understanding of how maps work and how useful they are. So the use and understanding of digital maps undeniably is on the rise.��� Levels of Education Another question posed to our EAB asked about the current state of geography/geotechnology education, and most responses indicate that we���re heading in positive directions on that front as well, although there���s always room for improvement. Esri president and founder Jack Dangermond summed up the importance of teaching geographic concepts to our young people. ���Today���s youth are tomorrow���s decision makers, and an understanding of geography and the use of geospatial technology will be crucial to helping them make good decisions that affect global health and community life,��� he says. In terms of what needs to be done, Anup Jindal, chief operating of���cer at RMSI, added the following: ���In the future, we need visionary geographers and future-thinking geotechnicians. Actually, we need to bridge the gaps in terms of required skills and competencies for academic and professional accomplishments.��� We posed several other questions to our board, but you���ll have to turn to page 14 to ���nd out what they were and how they were answered. And don���t forget that the responses found in this magazine are just a fraction of what we received, so we���ll again post all the responses in their entirety at, beginning on Jan. 1, 2013.

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