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Modern trends of education in photogrammetry & remote sensing

Grenville Barnes and Duane F. Marble
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
This paper examines the scope of LIS/GIS in an effort to understand what educational
topics and issues need to be addressed in this area. This area of study has received a
great deal of attention at The Ohio State University (OSU) and several programs have
emerged across campus. The programs in the Department of Geodetic Science and
Surveying and the Department of Geography are described in the second part of the
paper. This paper contributes most directly to ISPRS WG VI/2, but should also be of
interest to other groups who are grappling with similar issues.
KEYWORDS: LIS, GIS, education, Ohio State University, interdisciplinary, scope.
Over the past decade the field of
geographic and land information systems
(LIS/GIS) has begun to evolve from a
secondary component of several of the
established disciplines, such as
geography, geodetic science, and
landscape architecture, into a much more
important field of study. Educational
programs in this field are emerging at
many colleges and universities around the
world with over four hundred institutions
using some version of the ARC/INFO
GIS and nearly two hundred and fifty
making use of OSU Map-for-the-PC, a
teaching package developed at The Ohio
State University.
In any rapidly evolving area, such as
LIS/GIS, it is difficult to attempt to define
it in any precise manner; such was the
case, in the early years, with areas such
as operations research. However, in
attempting to structure educational
programs in any field, especially within a
multidisciplinary context, it is necessary
to identify its various facets as well as
those disciplines currently expressing
substantial interest in the application of
LIS/GIS technology.
The authors of this paper are both
responsible for developing programs in
tliis area within the Department of
Geodetic Science and Surveying and the
Department of Geography at 1 ne Ohio
State University (OSU). The OSU
structure and course offerings in the area
of LIS/GIS are described in the latter pan
of the paper. By outlining the scope of
LIS/GIS education and discussing how
this is structured relative to some of the
more traditional disciplines, this paper
attempts to contribute to the debate
surrounding educational issues in the
One of the most challenging problems
that one faces in attempting to define
LIS/GIS is that the scope of the topics,
issues and applications is so broad that it
is difficult to translate it into the familiar
(and narrow) disciplinary structures
found in many colleges and universities.
It has become clear to many professionals
working in the field that applications of
LIS/GIS should not, and indeed can not,
be considered as belonging entirely to any
single discipline.
Initial consideration of LIS/GIS easily
leads us to focus upon the earth and
mapping sciences such as geography,
geodetic science, surveying, cartography,
geology, etc. However, this perspective
is much too narrow to encompass either
the present range of applications or the
factors which are critical to creation of
viable LIS/GIS. One of the weaknesses
in LIS/GIS development and education in
the past has been the underestimation of
the non-technical or institutional factors.
Marble (1990, p. 5) reminds us that: