Penn State video shows how maps make cities more personal

November 11, 2010

Penn State Public Broadcasting’s second installment of the “Geospatial Revolution Project” focuses on the mapping technology that makes life easier.

University Park, Pa. -- With the latest geospatial technologies at our fingertips, we can now have more of a participatory role in the development and protection of our cities. Civic applications have been developed using geographic information systems (GIS), which allow mobile users to catalog issues in their neighborhoods. From documenting graffiti with a cell phone photo to using a mobile app to acquire real-time locations of public transit, digital maps are transforming data into knowledge that can be shared with everyone.

Penn State Public Broadcasting (PSPB) has released the second episode in the four-part online video series, The Geospatial Revolution Project. It features the city of Portland, Ore., and how local government officials are offering more geographically coded information about crime, transportation and urban planning to the public. In return, residents can open their eyes and ears to the problems of their communities – using geospatial technology to participate in public discourse.

The Geospatial Revolution Project offers free outreach resources, including videos, essays and discussion questions. The outreach material will be posted to Teachers’ Domain, an educators’ online resource providing digital media for classroom and professional development throughout the world. Also, educational collaborators will share the videos with their networks and members.

PSPB engaged expert content advisers including faculty from Penn State’s online Master of Geographic Information Systems program, which was named the 2009 Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program by The Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit online education organization

Episode Two also shows viewers the connection between GIS technology and UPS, an international package delivery company. The 14-minute program wraps with a discussion about urban environments that don’t have sufficient access to healthy food. Digital maps were used to target locations in Philadelphia that were in dire need of supermarkets. And developers are now building grocery stores in those areas that offer affordable, nutritious food.

The Geospatial Revolution Project: Episodes One and Two are available as full programs or in shorter chapters at Penn State Public Broadcasting’s Geospatial Revolution Project website.

Penn State Public Broadcasting, licensed to Penn State, produces noncommercial television, radio and online media. PSPB's public service media programming and complementary outreach materials address important societal issues for Pennsylvania, the nation and the world.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010