Education and Training

Educational concepts and content

5705.3 - Creating a Body of Knowledge for cartography

Wednesday, July 5
4:50 PM - 5:10 PM
Location: Virginia C

The terms of reference for the ICA Commission on Education and Training (2015-2019) include the development of a Body of Knowledge (BoK) specifically for cartography. This is expected to be delivered at the end of the Commission’s term in 2019. The reasons for pursuing this goal are primarily driven from the cartographic community, and are presented as valid contemporary concerns held by cartographers about the nature of their discipline and their work.
The presentation starts by considering the nature of knowledge, its creation and formalisation, and some of the issues which relate to disciplinary knowledge in particular – the boundaries of a discipline, the role of uncertain and ‘troublesome’ knowledge in the corpus of a subject like cartography, and the need to enhance subject-specific knowledge with more generic supporting material, including appropriate skills and attitudes.
An overview of BoKs in other disciplines has been undertaken, and models of Bok structure, content and usage have been assessed. BoKs in closely related subjects, including civil engineering, GIS and software engineering, give examples of good practice. The majority of such BoKs have been created, and are used, for pedagogical purposes, notably curriculum development. Whilst this is important, and a well-constructed curriculum may well form the major deliverable for the Commission’s BoK project, there are many other ways in which a Body of Knowledge can be used.
The main part of this presentation concentrates on the work done to date to create the cartography BoK, and the adoption of the ‘Delphi’ method of consultation to develop the BoK document. The Delphi method is intended to yield consensus on the scope, content, context and use of the Body of Knowledge. It is regarded as a rigorous process, it is iterative (and therefore time consuming), and involves questionnaire survey, opinion gathering, discourse analysis, and feedback. The participants are expected to be experts, from a range of different sectors, but ‘volunteer amateurs’ are also important to consult with.
The presentation will report on progress with this initiative, and end by speculating on the possible outcomes of the BoK project: curriculum development in cartographic education; confirming relationships with sister disciplines (thus establishing the ‘territory’ of our branch of learning); establishing expectations in professional cartographic practice and specialist technical mapping skills; preparing responses to challenges and opportunities in the specific field of cartography (including formal research); creating a repository of accepted methods and praxis; presenting a road map to guide both future interdisciplinary collaboration and subject evolution; and conveying the integration of knowledge, working practices, skills and competencies, and elements of cartography, to the rest of society.

David Fairbairn

Senior Lecturer in Geomatics
Newcastle University

David Fairbairn has been Senior Lecturer in Geomatics in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University for many years. He lectures in topics related to cartography and GIS, and has research interests in visualisation, education, citizen science and terrain mapping. Currently chair of the ICA Commission on Education and Training, he has also previously served as Vice President and Secretary-General/Treasurer of the Association.


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Terje Midtbø

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Terje Midtbø is Professor in Cartography at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. There he is involved in education and research within GIS and Cartography. Hie research interests are in the direction of Cartographic animations, Web Cartography, Web experiments, Maps in VR etc.


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5705.3 - Creating a Body of Knowledge for cartography


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