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Sharing and cooperation in geo-information technology
Aziz, T. Lukman

2. The Impact
As we all aware, at present, most of the photogrammetric and
remote sensing education institutions have to review their
curricula. The main reason to do such a review is because they
have to cope with the quickly changing environment of
technologies and tools. These changing mainly because of the
IT influences. Some impacts due to that changing may occur,
for example:
First is the setting up of new education program. Since the name
of IT becomes very popular there are many possibilities to put
IT as a selling point. The SEAMEO BIOTROP in Bogor -
Indonesia for example now offered a two years master program
on IT for Natural Resources management. The course was
started in the beginning of 1998. The goal is to train students to
become experts in the application of IT for natural resource
management. The primary aim of the program is to deal with
quantitative approaches to enable the development of a reliable
decision-support system for natural resource management. The
core (major) courses consist of (1) Simulation Modelling and
Expert Systems, (2) GIS, (3) Remote Sensing/Image Processing,
and (4) Decision Support System. As we can see, no doubt that
IT plays an important role in this program.
Second is how to incorporate IT in the course subjects. In the
Institute of Technology, Bandung (ITB) there are at least 4
departments try to incorporate IT within their course though it
is mainly in GIS. This is applies because the relationship
between IT and GIS is more explicitly (Chan & Williamson,
1995). By definition for instance a GIS comprise of five
elements, i.e.: data, information technology, standard, expertise
and the organisational setting. Here it is explicitly shows that IT
is an element (out of five) that required meeting an
organisation's geographic information needs. Thus, without
touching it too much IT is there already. This situation may
occur in other university as well as the high learning
Third is the possibility of free access and use of information.
For example a number of tutorial subjects are now available and
can be access through the Internet. This mean, in addition to the
lecture in the classroom, the student could learn directly from
different sources. No limitations found on the learning process.
It will cover a complete range of the learning process. This may
includes the literature studies, understanding the exercises and
the case studies. The Internet also provides a place for hosting
data that can be accessed by anyone, without the need to explain
why and to what use it will be put regardless the possibility of
piracy of data for sale.
Fourth. IT will open a new era of long distance education
'broadband'. Even with the availability of the advanced network,
the satellite images can be retrieved in real time mode. In this
regard a Remote Sensing expert could disseminate their
knowledge to the larger audience. In Indonesia this will be a
promising model in order to improve the student knowledge
from other university in which the remote sensing expert is not
available. The curricula will then be standardised as well.
Those four examples above only show some indications on how
the IT could influence the education. However, the challenge is
still there. This includes:
• Investment: the education institutions should make an
investment in IT. IT affects strategic issues, account for
large expenditure, competes for resources, is complex, and
could eventually become at the core of educational
process. The approach to evaluating cost and benefits
depends on whether we are interested in big issues or local
ones. On the other hand, education is an investment in the
future of a nation. The impact of technology development
such as IT toward education system should be carefully
studied in order to make the best used of IT.
• Employer: employers need workers skilled in all aspect of
IT. Level of technological skill needed may vary. Some
require large teams of many specialists to produce and
deliver learning materials. Others need only normal staff
level of IT skill (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, etc).
Others even need very little learning IT skill. But in
general they should have the following skills: (a) teaching
in higher education, (b) computer science, (c)
programming, (d) information handling: text, library,
database, Internet, (e) graphic design, (f) CAL
development, (g) technical writing.
• Infrastructure: Computer and network infrastructures.
Making a decision to adopt new technologies on a large
scale is not trivial for an organisation or nation. It requires
long term survival as the criteria, rather than short-term
profitability. Educational change should be driven by
teaching and learning needs, which in them selves are
usually driven by external pressure. Therefore it is
important for education institutions and individual
lecturers to evaluate and make decision on investing in the
effective use of IT in delivering learning.
3. The Internet Challenge
Discussions among various education institutions are ongoing
and it appears that the special Government task force for
regulating the so-called information superhighway promised
some time ago has yet to be organised. Indonesia appears to lag
behind its ASEAN neighbours in crafting a comprehensive
regulatory response to the perceived opportunities and threats of
the Internet. Meanwhile, enthusiasm for the Internet access by
educational institutions continues (Gingerich, 1996).
In ITB the most successful utilisation of IT or Internet access is
at the library. It was started on September 1996 when ITB
installed a Ku-Band earth station equipment to access JCSat-3
satellite that was support by AI3 Project from Japan. This is a
big leap for Indonesian educational institutions to connect them
to Internet (Ismail Fahmi, et.al. 1999). It is hope that Internet
will motivated the learning process of the students. This is
because the Internet allows students to directly access various
sources of information around the world.
However besides the merits there are some demerits of using the
Internet in education. Example of demerits (Miyazawa, et.al.):
• Exposing the malign information e.g. pornography,
aggression, racism, etc.
• The staff cannot cope with the movements, especially in
hardware and software, and it is difficult for them to
undertake administration on the network.
• There are insufficient number of trainers to provide advice
both to the lecturer/teacher and students. In addition, the