Beyond Mapping: Meeting National Needs Through Enhanced Geographic Information Science (2006)Board on Earth Sciences and Resources
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Geographic information systems (GIS), the Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, and other information technologies have all changed the nature of work in the mapping sciences and in the professions, industries, and institutions that depend on them for basic research and education. Today, geographic information systems have become central to the ways thousands of government agencies, private companies, and not-for-profit organizations do business. However, the supply of GIS/GIScience professionals has not kept pace with the demand generated by growing needs for more and improved geographic information systems and for more robust geographic data. This study assesses the state of mapping sciences at the beginning of the twenty-first century and identifies the critical national needs for GIS/GIScience professionals. It examines the forces that drive and accompany the need for GIS/GIScience professionals, including technological change, demand for geographic information, and changes in organizations. It assesses education and research needs, including essential training and education, new curriculum challenges and responses, quality assurance in education and training, and organizational challenges. Some of the report's recommendations include more collaboration among academic disciplines, private companies, and government agencies; the implementation of GIS/GIScience at all levels of education; and the development of a coherent, comprehensive research agenda for the mapping sciences.