Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learning the Old Ways Before the New

When I was in cartography class all I did was read the book and apply what I learned on Adobe Paintshop. My fellow students and myself were given base maps to work on. My cartography class was basically making maps pretty and not making maps. I feel cheated in a way. The true art of cartography has been lost to all but a few in this computerized world. The pen and ink, or even mouse drawn, techniques are no longer taught.

So it is in a way uplifting to find out there are still those who teach the art and science in geography. Popular Mechanics has an article about an MIT professor who is making students in his modern navigation course learn the sextant. The idea behind this is to force students to comprehend what GIS does for them and give the students a greater appreciation of the science of navigation.

I wish more schools would find ways to do the same.

1 comment:

Roger Hart said...

I couldn't agree more!
Starting out drafting by hand gives me a better understanding of what computer drafting is doing. Working trig problems "long-hand" helps to understand the limitations of computer software.
This idea could be applied to a number of disciplines.