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Educational concepts and content

5705.4 - Cartography, new technologies and geographic education: theoretical approaches to research the field

Wednesday, July 5
5:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Virginia C

Cartography engendered by new technologies appears to promote creative ruptures in the world of maps and, consequently, in our understanding of space. Although we recognize the potential of this new cartography for education, we still know little about the place it can take in geography teaching. In order to understand the roles that digital mapping can play in geographic education, we present the theoretical approach used in a research that is undertaking in the education of geography teachers.

To develop the study, we found in the works of Lankshear and Knobel (2013) a notion of new literacies that allows us looking at the practices within digital mapping in a sociocultural perspective, identifying the emergence of forms of communication and interaction significantly different from existing ones. This notion aims to emphasize the idea that the practices of reading, writing, interpretation and meaning with digital technologies are not new simply because a new medium emerged, but specially because different processes of signification started to be elaborated with it.

From this approach we conclude that in order to understand the changes that digital cartography is able to foment in geography teaching, it is necessary to go beyond the substitution of means and being able to explore what makes the new mapping practices different from others already consolidated in classroom. Therefore, in the ongoing research, we seek to work with future teachers some forms of cartographic literacy that are in full development with digital technologies, but are not determined solely by their use, namely: a) the interaction and deep permeability between the moments of production and consumption of maps, confusing the traditional author/reader, or cartographer/user roles, and engaging people in collaborative mapping projects and in the creation of new maps from the reinterpretation of pre-existing ones; b) the intense blend of languages that enables the articulation of maps with photographs, texts, films, drawings and other languages based on computing, culminating, in most cases, in the creation of hypermedia objects and computer applications; c) the increasing capacity of maps in following our movements through space and being with us everywhere, at any time, participating in the subjects' daily practices and mediating their relationship with the “real” and virtual world.

Another important theoretical reference that underlies the research is presented by Kitchin and Dodge (2007) and Del Casino Junior and Hanna (2006). For these authors, maps must be understood in a more processual way, which means that our attention should be directed, mainly, to the context and practices that occur with maps. Methodologically, this approach helps to understand that in the seek to comprehend maps and their meanings, irrespective of the medium used, we are dealing with a process of literacy that is very particular and emergent because it involves not only the characteristics of the map and of the individual that produces or consumes it, but depends mainly on a diversity of relationships that are being constructed between them (map and individual) within a given context.

From this perspective, we assume in the research that, as stated by Del Casino Junior and Hanna (2006, 51), “our objects of analyses are not simply maps but are instead the myriad interconnections that make production and consumption of map spaces a process of both authoring and reading simultaneously”. Here, the term map spaces is especially relevant due to the possibilities it presents to understand, through maps, the new literacies of the geographic space. When considering the process of signification associated with digital maps, we are also questioning the spatiality produced and consumed in the contemporary world, which is increasingly interconnected with cyberspace and digitalization.

Tânia S. Canto

University of Campinas - Unicamp

Tânia Seneme do Canto. Professor at the Geography Department, Geosciences Institute, University of Campinas - São Paulo, Brazil. Research and teaches in the area of Geography Teaching and has special interest in the following topics: school cartography and new techonogies in cartographic and geographic education. Currently develops the research entitled "Cartography and digital technologies: new literacies in geography teaching (?)", funded by São Paulo Research Foudation.


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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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5705.4 - Cartography, new technologies and geographic education: theoretical approaches to research the field

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