The evolutions of geographic information systems have revolutionized the way we learn geography. Before the development of geoinformatics, we used to learn national and international geography with big maps of the world displayed in class and in our books. The learning process was based on memorizing this huge puzzle which is the world. Nowadays, it has become more difficult to provide such a basic learning of geography without demotivating students and making them bored.
Many researchers have worked to solve this problem: how scholar geography should change to attract more students? Through new technological tools, the maps of yesteryear have become authentic playgrounds.
Cartography: new playground for geography class.
Technology offers a totally new cartographic potential. It is now easier to create outdoor pedagogic activities involving the students. For instance, they can design maps of a place that they will later visit and compare. Geocaching can also set up treasure hunt or interest points very precisely thanks to GPS coordinates.
Edugéo is an online platform based on National Geographic Institute’s geoportal. Visitors can analyse contemporary maps and compare them with old maps using different layer of information. For example, student can study urban growth of their home town.
The platform also offers a statistic tool which uses INSEE’s data like density of population or life expectancy. It is possible for the young student to import the data into the cartography tool. Thus, this application allows pupils to know about representation of information. More generally, it helps them to understand how thematic maps, which are widespread nowadays in different medias, are designed.
In conclusion, many research have shown that learning efficiency is increased by playing. This tool, provided by IGN, goes into that direction by setting up a playful environment with serious problematics.