GIS Week in South Africa : 15 – 19 May

By Carrin Martin

_8The Geo-Information Society of South Africa (GISSA) was approached by teachers over the last few years to assist them with their understanding of GIS. As a result, Education Portfolios were established on the national GISSA council and the provincial bodies, and GIS Week was initiated. As the school year in South Africa ends in December, it was decided to have a week long event in May rather than in November. GIS became part of the Grade 10 curriculum this year, and will become examined as part of the geography curriculum in 2008.

Activities are taking place in some of the provinces, and media coverage has been secured at regional and national levels including a national TV education program. Provincial events range from a four day GIS fair in Cape Town, to participating in Science and Technology Week functions, and 'adopt a school' initiatives around the country. To promote a general awareness of GIS, businesses are encouraged to demonstrate Google Earth and GPS technology to their staff.

GISSA has set up an education page on its website where teachers can access information about GIS and register free of charge to receive relevant industry and education news. The site provides links to sites of interest including the South African GIS industry journal PositionIT.

This is in line with a greater awareness of GIS in general, as many GIS practitioners are in the process of registering with a professional body and the accreditation of GIS courses at tertiary institutions is about to take place.

Published Sunday, May 7th, 2006

Written by Carrin Martin

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