Geology & Geography Faculty Work


Geographic Information Literacy and the World Wide Web

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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Maps and the Internet




This chapter discusses World Wide Web (WWW) that has profoundly transformed the ways to use and create maps. The explosive growth of WWW mapping sites and their popularity suggest that the map education is more important than ever. The chapter also explores the issue of map education in a world transformed by the WWW. As a focus, it documents the ways in which a typical introductory course in “Map Reading” was transformed into a course with extensive exercises in map use and mapmaking by incorporating WWW mapping sites. This course engages students not only in active learning about mapping, but also in critical thinking about the nature of maps and mapping sites on the WWW, a skill that is more necessary than ever. Potential long-term benefits include both map literacy and a more sophisticated understanding of the human and physical environment. The course is influenced by recent initiatives on “Information literacy,” and course resources and exercises have been developed in collaboration with an Information Literacy specialist. As the mapping of WWW sites proliferate, map education, map literacy, and geographic information literacy becomes increasingly vital skills.

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