GIS Thoughts

Peter Cochrane on GPS

Interesting post by Peter Cochrane noting the reliance people have on GPS navigation as it becomes more widespread.

As noted in this blog before, the potential result could be that users perception of location and distance change as geograhphical knowledge is replaced by the female voice of the navigation system. As Peter notes this may not matter, in the same way calculators have replaced mental arithmetic skills.

I think however a “sense of place” remains vital, having a basic understanding of the geography of the world is still really necessary as a knowledge of basic maths is still important despite the arrival of Microsoft Excel. Indeed by daughter is currently being taught how to do quite complex mental arithmetic, “chunking numbers” etc., something I was not taught and wish I had.

I only hope the education world take the same approach to the teaching of Geography, I would hate to see a generation of GPS savvy children not knowing if Birmingham is North or South of London.

One reply on “Peter Cochrane on GPS”


I too believe a sense of place is important just as a clear understanding of basic maths is.
All is not lost!
Being part of the DNF group, I was biding my time in the DNF room at AGI waiting for punters and chatting to Brian Higgs of Dudley MBC. As well as the fine example of DNF principles he and his team has been creating he was telling me that not only do several thousand MBC staff access the corporate GIS system, but Dudley has now made part of the system available to school children. His description of the enthusiasm and skill 8 or 9 year old school children have for GIS was truly infectious. I have copied my reply to Brian as well as a link to your fine blog so that he can describe this to you first hand. Infectious enthusiasm, stimulating an interest in a specific topic and a desire to know more, is the only way to ensure children know chunking numbers can be fun, milk comes from cows, and yes, Birmingham is north (or NNW) of London.

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