Geographic information system provider is the first private-sector organization to sign the St. John’s Declaration that will promote spatial thinking through improved education and research
TORONTO – December 10, 2013 – Esri Canada today announced its support for the St. John’s Declaration, a national agreement and action plan for advancing geographic education for Canadians. The company is the first private-sector organization in the country to sign the agreement, along with geographic educators and non-profit organizations led by the Canadian Association of Geographers and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Esri Canada will provide leadership and support in promoting the value of geography and spatial thinking in Canadian schools to help maintain the country’s leadership in geospatial science and innovation.
Earlier this year, CBC News reported that many Canadian college students are not able to identify where continents are on a map. This reinforced the already recognized need among Canadian educators and professionals to enhance geographic literacy among students. The Canadian Association of Geographers and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society organized a meeting in August in St. John’s, Newfoundland among geographic educators and professionals, which resulted in the St. John’s Declaration. Signed by 18 organizations from academia, business and industry, the accord emphasizes the urgent need to improve and update geographic education in light of the current economic, social and environmental issues facing Canada and the world.
Esri Canada is the sole private-sector organization to ratify the agreement. The company has 30 years of experience in providing geographic information system (GIS) solutions, which are used in numerous schools from K-12 to higher education in Canada. Esri Canada develops lesson packs and other educational resources, as well as provides support to help educators incorporate geographic learning in their curriculum. The company also promotes careers in geography through its GIS Scholarships program and recently announced its GIS in Education Grant program, which will provide GIS technology, training and support for up to five K-12 schools in Canada each year.
“Canada is recognized as an international leader in geographic innovation,” said Dr. Brent Hall, director, higher education and research, Esri Canada, and one of the original signers of the Declaration. “Geographic information system technology, which integrates vast amounts of data into easy-to-understand maps, was invented here in the 1960s to manage the Canada Land Inventory. For the country to maintain its geospatial leadership, it’s important for Canadians to develop a solid understanding of geography and an appreciation of its role in our daily lives. Our goal is to help move the St. John’s Declaration from a paper agreement into action by improving geographic education and research.”
About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300. Information about the company can be found at esri.ca.
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Interested parties may also contact the following individuals who signed the St. John’s Declaration:
- James Boxall, Dalhousie University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Jean Andrey, University of Waterloo & President, Canadian Association of Geographers, email@example.com
- Dr. Stuart Semple, Mount Allison University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kim Wallace, Ontario Representative, Canadian Geographic Education, email@example.com
- Dr. Bob Sharpe, Wilfrid Laurier University, firstname.lastname@example.org