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1 Lost?


ow did it start? The main question in Geoinformation is; what actually is Geoinformation? In most cases

we understand with this, spatial information. Within this, you always need to know where is something. Where is this place and what can I do there?

Before humanity developed computer technologies,





`where´ and `what´ was a manually drawn map or illustration. People used chalk, quills, rulers and other material to ban their environment on papyrus, paper or stone. This all was long before the term GIS was even invented and mapping was known as cartography. The oldest known illustration of environment was found in Turkey around 1963. It showed an ancient human 2 Medieval cartography was hard work

settlement next to a volcano. This drawing was dated about 6200 BC.


Another representative exposure was the Nebra sky disc. This is a round bronze disc which was found near Nebra in Germany around 1999 which is till know the oldest know representation of the sky. Cartography went through long years and always developed together with new technologies. In the late 1960s the term GIS was invented. GIS has different description like Geographic Information System. It can be an application people need to solve a problem or to get information. On the other hand, GIS stands for Geographic Information Science which means the science between the technologies. All in all GIS means to collect, query, manipulate and display the changed data in a digital map. Still it used the







specifications to these to descriptors.

With all these information, people can find easily things via applications on their electronic devices. Today people are able to find the next restaurant with a click on their phone or tablet and also get information about the place. 3GIS


HE BEGINNING of GIS – Computer mapping

More knowledge, more innovative technologies, new programs were invented. Computer mapping became more automated. Points, lines and defined areas (polygons) on a map

got represented as organized coordinates. Technology was able to handle huge data and also store spatial information in new developed databases. They are the most important part of digital mapping! Without place for the information behind the coordinates, you would just see a normal map without any further information. Together with new technologies, scientists and developers focus on processing! Fully automated computer mapping started in the early 1970s Points, lines polygons and polygons now got represented as set of X and Y coordinates. With this innovation web mapping was born



EENAGE YEARS or The link between mapping and databases

From now on, developers got new opportunities and options to work. In database systems you refer a number to an attribute. A desert or rainforest would have different

identification numbers. Now it got easier to add specific information to your data and also link it together. Queries and conclusions were easily made and also displayed. A user now was able to point or click on a specific area on a map and instantly got more information about this place if there was something added to the database. The advantages of the new innovations got quickly clear. First, it was much easier to update or change a map. Users now were able to recreate maps and change just parts of it. Storage and usage also changed and data needed more storage space (disks). The focus changed from progress to data storage topics. Standards were built up all over the world to make this easier. 4 databases


ROWN UP - YEARS – Analysis and Modelling (around 1990s)

Now technology even became more innovative and users could see different layers in

their maps, and also switch layers on or off. Prior GIS users had to overlay maps on an overhead projector to see different layers in ‘one map’ which cost a lot of time. Analysis and program handling became easier to use. People who were not actually GIS experts or programmers, now also were able to use maps and databases for their own work. For example; forest rangers could compare different forest and could make information visible on a map. Where are which animals and why is this so.


5 Evolution of GIS

Ok that was a quite long historic excurse. Good to know that but what does Geoinformation mean today with all the new technologies?


IS TODAY? Guess what! People today got used to the fact, that information is available wherever they are. Smartphones, tablets and Wi-Fi together made this enable all over the world. They

don’t need to be experts or programmers to use applications. The complex parts of data programming were hidden behind user interfaces, buttons and applications. Some are not even aware that GIS is behind this and how much they use it every day. The next big step was the integration of GPS in application. Tracking now got available for everyone on their phones. Navigation systems are part of nearly every smartphone. Users can track themselves during sports and can get information afterwards.



IS in education:

Thousands of years ago people met together and discussed their theories and talked about their

experiences. Together with new innovations also education standards changed and improved. Later, with the invention of papyrus and paper, people started to write and draw. They created drawings of their environment and slowly cartography evolved. Formerly times were no schools or institutes for cartography. People met together, discussed and shared their theories and

6 exchange of theories

experiences. Maps were created with brushes and parchment. With the increasing inventions like the compass, the printing press, the sextant and so on, cartography became a profession and maps got very artistic and also accurate. With increasing technologies and education of the people, cartography became more and more ambitious. Institutes, schools and Groups were built to educate more and more people. In the course of time and with the invention of computer technology, GIS was invented and also educated. Today there are many ways to learn GIS. A lot of Universities offer Geoinformation as course. Schools, Groups and University have different focuses on Geoinformation. Like geodesy, cartography, geoinformation, geoinformatic , surveying technologies and other. GIS also brought learning and also teaching to a higher level. Students and teachers now don’t even have to be in the same room to exchange issues.

7 no problem with GIS



e interested!

GIS in schools: INTERGEO is an annual specialized fair for geodesy and Geoinformation and it also announces annual competitions about GIS at schools where especially young people can come in touch with Geoinformation. The participants work on up-to-date projects linked

8 selfstudy

to GI. An example is the topic about ‘Google Earth’. This and other issues will become more and more important especially from secondary schools and higher! About 80% of all decisions in economy and administration departments have a spatial reference and need geodata to work. Pupils get in contact with GIS and actually get aware of its importance.

Today GIS is a very fast and exponential growing technology and science. The past already showed how important GIS became in everyone’s live and in the future it will become even more. Interfaces, Applications and technologies will become easier to use. Information will be available everywhere and for everyone. Schools already try to integrate GIS in their lessons. Location based learning is already used all over the world. The future together with innovations will show us to use GIS in new ways and it will make our life easier and more comfortable.


References: GIS Goodchild, M.F. (1992) Geographical information science. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems Bild 1 Bild 2 not easy Bild 5 evolution Bild 6 discuss Bild 7 Australia


The evolution of gis in education  

Evolution of GIS

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