The BBC reported today on the launch of a project of the Spatial-Literacy group, a collection of universities working together to improve the understanding of spatial data in the “general public”. This is a fantastic project, although i must admit to being on its Advisory Committee, I think this is just the type of outreach activity we need to do to prevent the misunderstandings and mis-reporting I bogged yesterday.
The project maps the distribution of popular surnames in the UK, and apparently illustrates some interesting points including some clear regional concentrations which indicate that our population may not be as mobile as we thought. I say apparently because the site was too busy for me to try out just now.. so clearly the outreach mission is working well.
Projects like Spatial-Literacy and the GIS Day are important activities which we need to embrace as an industry – although the awareness of geospatial information developed by the mapping offerings of GMY (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) is useful – we also need to grow the next generation of GI scientists who are the people who now want to move beyond web mapping.