Historically, for many Geodesy has been considered as a science unknown to society due in part to the lack of disclosure that has existed regarding its foundations and applications. Through this article we seek to review one of the causes that contribute to this situation: the educational deficit in young high school students that represents the next generation in this profession. Likewise, it is shown how the paradigms are changing, currently existing programs, talks and talks that try to fill this void in the population, sowing curiosity so that adolescents consider Geodesy, Geomatics, Surveying and the like as an opportunity of tangible development for their future, especially highlighting the work carried out by the students of the School of Geodetic Engineering of the University of Zulia (EIG-LUZ), members of the AAPG-LUZ Student Chapter.
At the time of entering as students in the School of Geodetic Engineering, professors and other colleagues highlight the privilege that it means to be trained in this career, the importance that it has within an extensive branch of applications due to the fact that it is an area with a reduced number of professionals. , a factor that increases employment opportunities around the world.
However, a crucial question that remains unanswered is: Why do Geodesy, Geodetic Engineering, Geomatics and related disciplines have fewer professionals globally?
In this article, it is stated that the deficit in the programmatic content related to these areas, presented to high school students during their educational training process, can be one of the determining factors to answer this question. High school is characterized by providing a comprehensive education in general knowledge so that adolescents and future professionals can discover the university career and area of specialization that they wish to exercise in the development of their adult life, however, there are considerable gaps in the content taught about of various earth sciences that greatly impact the ignorance of these areas.
Currently, through initiatives and programs developed by institutions, organizations and societies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the publication and activities concerning “Geosciences in primary and secondary education” (UNESCO, 2019), MEDEEM with the “The Next Generation of GIS Professionals” program in Zambia (MEDEEM, 2021) or the National Geographic Institute (IGN) of Spain with the publication of the GeoExplorer activity booklet for children (CNIG, 2020), among many others, they seek to educate the youngest from an early age in topics of geodesy, astronomy, geographic information systems (GIS), geomatics and related disciplines in order to arouse curiosity and introduce them to this world that for the vast majority of them is unknown.
In the specific case of Maracaibo, Venezuela, a reality has been evidenced in the Educational Units of the city, related to the lack of knowledge on the part of the student body in the topics mentioned above. The program created by the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists, for its acronym in English) under the title “Geosciences go to your Classroom” taught in Maracaibo by the AAPG-LUZ Student Chapter, offers university students the opportunity to attend and provide information to different schools in the city, through talks and discussions on these areas of professional development, with the aim of transmitting valuable knowledge to the succeeding generations. This initiative stands out for being innovative and beneficial for the academic development of the youngest (AAPG-LUZ, 2022).
From my personal point of view, as a facilitator of some of these talks, it has been impressive to show how high school students do not have the basic knowledge of these disciplines, highlighting that there were students who had not heard the word Geodesy or Geomatics.
Below are some statistics collected during the development of this initiative. Knowing that, from March 2022 to June 2022, this program has interacted with 185 high school students between the ages of 15 and 17, belonging to 7 Educational Units in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Graph N° 1. Situation prior to the talks of the “Geosciences go to your Classroom” program
Graph N° 2. Interest of high school students in Geodesy and related fields.
Facilitators of these talks: Victoria Guerrero, Arienay Sánchez and Dilania González, all EIG-LUZ students and members of the AAPG LUZ Student Chapter.
As can be seen in Graph No. 1, the number of students who had heard or had knowledge about Geodesy, Geomatics, Surveying and the like is less than 10% of the sample (18 students), a not encouraging picture, considering that the “Geosciences go to your Classroom” program developed in the city of Maracaibo has reached 7 educational units in the region. In addition, it is worrying to analyze the reality behind these data, since Geodesy being part of Earth Sciences and Engineering makes it worthy of having an immense number of applications in multiple fields, thus demonstrating the importance of giving know these areas of professional development to high school students who will later make up the next generations.
For its part, the curiosity of the human being and the power of a talk or a conversation with new and current information made it possible for the number of students interested in these professions to increase to more than 20% of the sample (38 students in total). ) as can be seen in Graph N°2, where they also expressed their interest in further delving into the knowledge provided, to consider Geodesy, Geomatics, Surveying and the like as an option for their professional development (AAPG-LUZ, 2022 ) which highlights the work carried out by the students of the EIG-LUZ.
Evaluating these data, it is possible to determine that one of the factors that impact on the ignorance of these areas is given by the academic gap that adolescents present during their secondary education and that part of the solution is given by increasing dissemination efforts.
It is our duty as professionals or future professionals in these areas to guarantee the development and knowledge of successive generations. This is the reflection of this article, taking into account that a talk, discussion, workshop or activity may be insignificant for some but will have unparalleled value for others, even defining the future of each individual.
The common denominator a few years ago was not knowing what Geodesy is all about, however, today these paradigms are being broken thanks to the development of new technologies, scientific dissemination by digital means e.g. [email protected] magazine, creation of non-profit societies and organizations e.g. SIGGMA (www.siggma.world) and AAPG-LUZ,
among others, have allowed the human being to associate Geodesy with GNSS, GIS, Control Surveys, Remote Sensing, etc., seeing it not only as a science that bears fruit within research, but as a service discipline that allows solve problems that contribute to global development.
Finally, it is important to mention that despite the fact that there is still a long way to go for Geodesy, Geomatics and Surveying to have recognition and fixation in society as indispensable sciences and disciplines for world development, the change in perception has evolved satisfactorily with the passage of time and it depends on each one of us to be able to carry it out.
The author thanks the Laboratory of Physical and Satellite Geodesy Dr. Melvin Hoyer (LGFS-MH) and the AAPG-LUZ Student Chapter for supplying the photographs and information for the preparation of this article.
- AAPG-LUZ (2022). AAPG LUZ Student Chapter. Internal Management Report. Program The Geosciences go to your Classroom.
- National Geographic Information Center (CNIG). (2020). GeoExplorer. National Geographic Institute (IGN). Spain. Website: https://www.ign.es/web/ign/portal/libros-digitales/geoexplorer
- MEDEEM (2021). Website: http://medeem.com/
- SIGGMA Global Network (2022). Website: https://sigma.world/
- UNESCO (2019). Geosciences in primary and secondary education. Volume 1. Montevideo, Uruguay.
Geodetic Engineering Student
Communications and Marketing Member
SIGGMA Global Network