human geography image shanty town
EUROGEO News: 50 Human Geography Stories from 2014


50 Human Geography News Stories from 2014

In 2014, EUROGEO (the European Association of Geographers) completed 35 years of operation. This is the latest of a series of blog posts celebrating this anniversary by looking back at 2014 from the posts in the monthly newsletter of the association. Subscribe to the EUROGEO newsletter

Mega cities was a theme featured in the article on the era of the ‘endless city‘, a blog about sustainable cities from the Innovative Metropolis conference, reflecting on the importance of infrastructure, the social implications of such urban sprawl are commented on together with visions and planning for the future.

In Europe, the new Social Atlas of Europe was launched in August, with new visualizations on a range of topics, including values, culture, education, employment, well-being, social inequalities and cohesion. You can browse through the map collection at geography map

The Climate for Culture Project came to a close, looking at the potential impact of climate change on Europe’s cultural heritage assets – particularly on historic buildings and their interiors. It examined adaptation to preserve these cultural and heritage assets in Europe.

Research concerning the important role of maps and mapping was outlined in the Cartography Of Geopolitical Chaos with concerns raised over Who Owns the Arctic and modern-day land grabbing described in the New Scramble for Africa.

Several  articles provided glimpses into the future, for example in Thanet Earth the farm of the future, modernisation of agriculture is taken to an extreme, though critics question its sustainability.

Africa land grabbing Cities, smart and less smart were a frequent theme of news items throughout the year with analyses on technology potential and entrepreneurial capability featured in the Directions Magazine Blog. The Future Cities: Pocket Drones,

Bioinspired Designs & Smart Citizens reviewed the Future Cities conference and examined some of the possible breakthrough innovations that might impact on creating sustainable, intelligent and efficient future cities.

All 50 selected Human Geography stories are  available at

Subscribe to the EUROGEO newsletter

Publications image
Geo-publications 2014

At the annual conference in Malta (May 2014), EUROGEO (the European Association of Geographers) celebrated 35 years of operation. This is the first of a series of blog posts for the EUROGEO logoanniversary looking at 2014 from the perspective of the association monthly newsletter.  In this blog some of the publications featured in the newsletter are highlighted .Subscribe to the newsletter

Open access to data, research and publications has become very significant in Europe. The Digital Agenda for Europe aims to disseminate the results of publicly-funded research for the benefit of researchers, innovative industry and citizens. Open access is part of the strategy to boost the visibility and therefore citation of European research. Through its monthly monthly newsletter, EUROGEO has been promoting open access, free to download scientific publications for the past three years. Full list of publications from 2014

Geo-Publications: some highlights from 2014

This blog highlights some of those publications included in the EUROGEO newsletter that stood out in 2014. A full list of publications can be accessed here.Visualisation graphic

Visual Analysis Best Practices

If you need to use analytics and visualisations then this guide may help you take advantage of the tools available. This publication is a compilation of techniques from Tableau Software.

Global Change magazine

An excellent news briefing from IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme) . It is well worth subscribing to. This issue has  great features on deltas discussing the severe threats faced and the urgent action that needs to be taken to protect them and the rise coastal megacities.

wimbledon imageA history of Wimbledon in maps

In summer 2014, during the Wimbledon tennis championship, the UK Ordnance Survey published an interesting article on the history of Wimbledon in
maps. It illustrates the growth of the championship and includes some recent imagery.

Climate Legislation Study

Globe International published the 4th edition of the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study. This is the most comprehensive audit of climate legislation across 66 countries. The report is critical of the limited progress made so far in limiting the rise in global average temperature.

Mid-term evaluation report on INSPIRE implementation

This report presents the highlights of the open evaluation undertaken by the European Commission of the INSPIRE Directive. It is highly critical of public access to data and the lack of coordinated interfaces as well as the level of training and education implemented.Global Change

Earth Negotiations Bulletin COP 20 Lima

In December,  climate discussions took place in Lima Peru at the COP 20, the international political response to climate change. The event is organised by Climate Action, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) This publication was released in advance
of the debate and sought to initiate positive actions for the future.

The EUROGEO journal (European Journal of Geography) has been open access since its origin in 2010. The three issues in 2014 published 18 peer-reviewed articles on different aspects of geography.

Many other reports, analyses, papers and books are available online for free download promoted in the EUROGEO monthly newsletter.

The full list of publications featured in 2014 EUROGEO Newsletters is available at

Subscribe to the newsletter

iManager word cloud

Education struggles to respond to the potential of Cloud computing

How vital is Cloud computing to 21st century education?Cloud computing, education, Digital Agenda

What really prevents educational organisations from implementing Cloud solutions and limits its integration in learning and teaching?

These were some of the topics discussed at the latest School on the Cloud iManager workshop held in Šiauliai, Lithuania December 15-17 2015. The meeting brought 11 partners of the School on the Cloud project from 10 countries together to examine the important role of inspirational leadership in education in bypassing the many barriers to the transition of education organisations into the Cloud.

Participants heard, via the Cloud, from Danny VanderVeken, a head master from Geel, Belgium, how imperative it was enable learning, teaching and administration through the Cloud, but that the challenges faced by his schools urgently needed to be addressed. The issues related not only to infrastructure and security but also to the training needs of his staff. He explained how the issues were very complex and many leaders were facing them right now. Participants confirmed that guidance and support were needed and a blueprint for leaders and managers would be useful.

cloud, education, discussion photo

Discussing Cloud issues in education

 leadership and management photo

Dealing with leadership and management

European policy under the Digital Agenda and Europe 2020 is committed to innovation and change through the use of open access to education through new technologies. The Cloud offers huge potential for this. However despite huge investment and major developments in business, education continues to lag behind. There are many reasons for this but particularly policy remains weak at European level and fragmented at national, regional and organisational scales. Major funding support for training is missing and pilot projects fail to be scaled up despite obvious benefits to productivity.

The activities of the iManager working group has identified specific roles for leaders in the process of inspiring Cloud-based education. Organisations need to ensure the development of integrative management plans to make the most of the immense opportunities for learning teaching and administering education. Visit and contribute to the workshop activities on the Cloud at:

About School on the Cloud

School on the Cloud – Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship (SoC) is an ICT network. It explores new dynamic ways in education that align with the way we think, share, learn and collaborate, across various sectors, by exploiting the opportunities arising from the Cloud.

School on the Cloud has created a learning network consisting of 57 European partners from 18 countries, distributed widely across Europe and includes most types of educational stakeholder and all sectors of education. More specifically, there are 21 Universities and teacher training departments, 9 NGOs, 8 schools, SMEs, research institutes, adult education and VET providers, a European professional association and a library.

The coordinating organization is The Doukas School in Athens Greece The Network is funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, Key Activity 3 – ICT Networks, with a duration of 3 years (01/01/2014 – 31/12/2016).

Join School on the Cloud on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and invite your friends and contacts.
Facebook Page:
Twitter Page:
LinkedIn Group:

contact ILN for more information

geography education meeting photo

GeoCapabilities Teacher Survey

I am working with EUROGEO on the EU-funded GeoCapabilities 2 Project. The European Association of Geographers is a core partner in this project.

GeoCapabilities 2 seeks to encourage high quality teaching about complex issues in geography. The focus for teachers is on sound content knowledge, pedagogic awareness and recognition of the needs of students they teach. The project focuses on the need for teachers to be effective ‘curriculum makers’. Subscribe to the GeoCapabilities Newsletter

As part of the project we are looking to to identify where Geography teachers go to for Geography support. Please complete and submit this form.

GeoCapabilities teacher survey

“Thinking geographically means to think and finally also to act from different perspectives.”

capacity building, geospatial, GWF, education, training,

Building Geospatial Industry Capacity

Geospatial is big! The industry has a high growth profile according to the US Dept of Labour. GeoBusiness analysis showed continued steady growth, even during recent times of crisis and the prospects remain encouraging. But the industry cannot maintain its performance without building capacity in and strong connections to education and training. This was the theme of the workshop and sessions at the 2014 Geospatial World Forum. I attended the 2014 event to promote the GeoSkills Plus Project.

The greatest threats to the future of the geospatial industry are not economic or technological, I believe they are related to the low levels of geospatial awareness in political circles and especially among policy makers who are tasked with implementing education and training systems with the capacity and capability to meet the needs of society.

GeoSlills Plus Project

GeoSlills Plus Project

One of the most important but challenging elements of the 2014 Geospatial World Forum in Geneva was to establish agreed visions, a clear agenda with objectives around which networking between industry and institutions can be facilitated.

Emergent discourses will need to converge if we are to communicate a strong and unified message. Networking is required. Industry needs to meet education needs to meet policy makers. This involves consistently communicating shared visions, needs and concerns of the geospatial stakeholders into the political arena but also to define and offer genuine viable options. No forum exists at this time to do this. The geospatial sector is innovating at ever-increasing rates. The industry operates in a short-term perspective.

We should avoid a short-term focus on fixed-term 2 or 3-year projects so prevalent in institutions and business. I believe the time has come to scale-up our successful projects with the goal to integrate spatial literacy, spatial thinking and geospatial technologies into schools, colleges, higher education and initial and continuing forms of teacher training. Therefore we will need to wrestle with the most difficult challenges, namely how to work together in the political arena to get geospatial learning as a component vertically integrated into education and training structures.

To assist economic revitalization and stimulate growth, forecasters predict growing industrial demands for a workforce with geospatial information skills. Across our societies and cultures, citizens are being empowered by open sources of geo-data, but in the main they do not have the fundamental skills necessary to enable them to benefit from this emancipation. If we are to meet changing needs and stimulate further geospatial industry developments, we have to establish ways to influence policy makers so that they actively respond to this rapidly changing environment. It is significant that many politicians are not even aware the geospatial industry exists, most still think in terms of last century needs and technologies.

We need to have opportunities to think strategically, create dialogue, establish a broad picture of what capacity building needs to take place and confirm the long-term commitment of key stakeholders to unite, establish an infrastructure whereby regular collaborative action can occur in order to take these challenges forward.

Where is the forum for industry – education – policy to connect?  

We need a long-term project to engage all stakeholders.

ILN, together with other partners is planning some pan-European action in the future – contact us if you would like to be kept informed.

ge-media, spatial citizenship

Finland confirms: Geography and GIS essential in renewal of the core school curriculum

Does anyone doubt that Finland continues to give their youngsters the best education in the world?  Now they are introducing geographical studies throughout their core basic curriculum. This blog introduces the changes and suggests some aspects of geo- that have become so important in Finnish school education.

Finnish curriculum reform

Talking about curriculum reform

Finland has been reflecting on the aims of their education system and as a result is renewing their national core curriculum for basic education. The process has involved all stakeholders, particularly education providers, educators, parents and pupils and will be completed by the end of 2014. On the basis of this consultation, the Finnish Ministry of Education has just released statements about basic, core primary and secondary teaching.

These education leaders believe Geography and the use of geo-media must be central to a core curriculum in school education.

In a video Ms. Irmeli Halinen, Head of Curriculum Development at the Finnish National Board of Education, discusses the basic education curriculum reform in Finland and identifies key components involved in the change.

Geo-media (or geographic media) is an important new perspective, added as part of the core competences all pupils must develop. Geo-media is described as media that uses the spatial localisation of information, i.e. that uses geoinformation (GI). It includes all representations of space, covering a wide range of outputs from verbal description, multimedia to visualisation (Gryl and Jekel, 2012).

SPACIT, geo-media competences

Geo-media competences

Geo-media was first used as a term in the network project, which sought to elaborate on the potential offered by geo-technologies in school education in developing ICT, problem solving, critical analysis and other important competences. The project shared more than 3000 examples of geo-media through its activities and on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, @Twitter).

Since then a teacher training competence model and curriculum for introducing geo-media in classes has been developed by the Spatial Citizenship project. Now a teacher training course and materials are available for download from the Web site.

In Finland, teachers will prepare new local curricula based on this core curriculum by the beginning of school year 2016–2017.

Geocapabilities logo

GeoCapabilities Project

This approach connects closely with the goals of the GeoCapabilities Project, seeking to develop professional development and teacher training developing  teachers as leaders in curriculum change and where ‘capabilities’ rather than only competences are an important perspective.

So how should other countries respond?


Finnish school curriculum (in Finnish) - English versions will follow

Basic elements of curriculum reform: presentation

About Spatial Citizenship

Spatial Citizenship Project: Progress Report

Spatial citizenship competence Model


Gryl, Inga; Jekel, Thomas (2012). “Re-centering geoinformation in secondary education: Toward a spatial citizenship approach.“ Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization. 1 47: 18–28.

Further Reading

Carlos, Vânia; Gryl, Inga (2013): “Where do Critical Thinking and Spatial Citizenship meet? Proposing a framework of intersections.” In: Jekel, T., Car, A., Strobl, J. & Griesebner, G. (eds.): GI_Forum 2013, Berlin: 437-446.

Gryl, Inga; Jekel Thomas; Donert, Karl (2010), GI and Spatial Citizenship, , p2-12, In Jekel T, Donert K and Koller A (eds.) (2010), Learning with GeoInformation V, Berlin, Wichman Verlag

Gryl, Inga; Schulze, Uwe; Detlef, Kanwischer (2013):  “Spatial Citizenship. The concept of competence“, In: Jekel, T., Car, A., Strobl, J. & Griesebner, G. (eds.): GI_Forum 2013, Berlin: 282-293.

Gryl, Inga; Schulze, Uwe; Detlef, Kanwischer (2012), “Spatial Citizenship – Dimensions of a Curriculum“, In Jekel, T., Car, A., Strobl, J. & Griesebner, G. (Eds.) (2012): GI_Forum 2012: Geovizualisation, Society and Learning. Herbert Wichmann Verlag,



cloud computing, learning, teaching

The Future of Learning and Teaching in the Cloud

School on the Cloud (SoC) is a network project exploring the impact of Cloud computing on different aspects of education. Project partners interested at the ways the Cloud transforms learning and teaching meet in Porto between 7-10 November 2014 to share experiences and expertise in learning and teaching with the Cloud. The project has produced a ‘state-of-the-art’ assessment. The goal is now to develop and provide recommendations for European education authorities.Cloud computing, education, Digital Agenda

European policy like the Digital Agenda, Europe 2020 and the European Innovation Plan are committed to innovation and change. There are many drivers for this, notably with a forecasted European ICT skills gap of 15% between 2012 and 2020 which needs urgently to be closed. Europe must encourage innovative uses of technology to drive business and industry forward for ensuring the longer-term economic success in Europe. In order to do this innovation in learning and collaboration is vital, enabled by Cloud Computing.

Access to Cloud-based technologies is recognized as having mutual benefits for companies and public sector activities, they need a well-trained workforce able to cope with these developments. If they are to be well prepared to compete for the higher-skilled jobs demanded by today’s knowledge economy, young people must be able to tackle the use of 21st century Cloud Computing tools head on. Access to the Cloud in education will also provide the impetus to modernise educational institutions and strengthen their reputations, helping to improve quality and drive greater competitiveness. School on the Cloud is a new European ICT project that assesses the state of the art of Cloud Computing in education in different European countries. The network examines the potential of Cloud for schools, colleges, universities and other education agencies.

The 2011 European Commission ICT Cluster report “Learning, Innovation and ICT” commented on lessons learned through the Lifelong Learning Programme. They identified i) digital leadership, ii) placing the learner at the centre; iii) a change of mindset in teacher training and iv) reinforcing the evidence base and research on use and impact of ICT for learning as most important features.

Six future actions for the future of learning in Europe were recommended:

  • Leadership and institutional change for a renewed strategy on learning
  • Digital competences and new transversal skills as core life and employability skills
  • Towards a new learning paradigm
  • Professional development – the teacher as learner at the centre
  • Research on learning in a digital society
  • Envisioning the future of learning in a digital society

The four working groups organised under the School on Cloud network embrace all these areas. The meeting in Porto will concentrate on the innovative teacher (iTeacher) and the independent learner (iLearner). Outcomes include a state-of-the-art assessment as well as guidance and advice for those looking to use the Cloud for learning and teaching.

About School on the Cloud

School on the Cloud – Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship (SoC) is an ICT network. It explores new dynamic ways in education that align with the way we think, share, learn and collaborate, across various sectors, by exploiting the opportunities arising from the Cloud.

School on the Cloud has created a learning network consisting of 57 European partners from 18 countries, distributed widely across Europe and includes most types of educational stakeholder and all sectors of education. More specifically, there are 21 Universities and teacher training departments, 9 NGOs, 8 schools, SMEs, research institutes, adult education and VET providers, a European professional association and a library.

The coordinating organization is The Doukas School in Athens Greece The Network is funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, Key Activity 3 – ICT Networks, with a duration of 3 years (01/01/2014 – 31/12/2016).

Join School on the Cloud on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and invite your friends and contacts.
Facebook Page:
Twitter Page:
LinkedIn Group:

contact ILN for more information

geoskills, project, geospatial, GIS, digital

A manifesto for Europe: building geospatial capacity

The Geospatial World Forum developed as meetings of industry, policy makers and academics. It regularly attracted people from more than 100 countries and illustrated the maturity and diversity of the geospatial industry in Europe. A Transfer of Innovation Project called GeoSkills Plus is seeking to bridge the gap between the maturing industry and their labour force needs and the supply of qualified, well trained people.

GeoSlills Plus Project

GeoSlills Plus Project

According to Kadaster, there are more than 15,000 professionals currently working in the Netherlands and this figure is expected to grow by 20% in the coming 5 years (Foundation Labour Market and Geo Information). Eurogeographics confirm there are more than 100,000 mapping professionals in Europe. The sector is booming and in 2014 directly employs more than an estimated 550,000 people in Europe. However there is already a clear mismatch between workforce demand and supply.

In order to ensure its growth is not limited: we need policy developments that build a European education/training system with the capacity and capability to raise awareness of the geospatial sector, create a geospatially literate workforce and European citizens who can benefit from our developments.

Almost all aspects of our economy and society are based on geoinformation and geotechnologies. More than 80% of all information produced today has a geospatial component. Citizens are being empowered by geospatial technologies and geodata, not simply ICT. They are tracking, mapping and communicating geographically on an unprecedented scale. But most of them do not have the fundamental spatial skills to enable them to benefit from this new emancipation.

Leading industrialists should ask why it is that “geospatial” so rarely appears on the policy agenda. They should also be concerned and comment on its invisibility in the Digital Agenda for Europe.

We must have European policy that integrates our industry and research needs with policy and education if we are to meet changing industrial demands and stimulate further geospatial industry developments.

The European Commission should respond to these urgent needs and ensure the “geospatial workforce” becomes a high priority. We must increase education activities to produce the workforce we need now and for the future. The goal must be to integrate spatial literacy, spatial thinking and geospatial technologies into schools, colleges, higher education and initial and continuing forms of teacher training. Education and Training 2020 and specifically the Digital Agenda must develop a strong geospatial perspective which is developed through a regular, full and open discourse between industry, education and policy makers.

geoskills, geoskills plus project, geo-jobs, geography

Is Geo- really important?

Is geo- really important?

Why has President Obama put his name behind a $1 billion programme in the US?

Why are there plans to integrate geospatial education in every school in India? Indian National Task force in Geospatial Education

Why is geospatial compulsory in Finnish schools?

GeoSlills Plus Project

GeoSlills Plus Project

This post is about the GeoSkills Plus Blog, raising awareness of the education gap between the needs of the European geo-industry and education and training policy and perspectives. In 2011 EUROGEO estimated more than 50,000 geo-jobs remained unfilled across Europe (

Geo- is not recognised in Europe. The GeoSkills Plus Project tries to make a start on putting that right. It is an ambitious attempt to transfer innovation in geo-vocational training, geo-jobs and geo-skills development from one country (The Netherlands) to others around Europe. It is based on establishing a professional community in the geo-sector – something I have been working on for the past 10 years through innovative projects and networks like HERODOT (http://www.herodot .net) and geo-media for education (

geography, higher education, learning and teaching, quality

HERODOT network

The GeoSkills Plus Project is a Transfer of Innovation Project funded by the European Commission. The Project has its own GeoSkillsPlus Blog sharing news and ideas on geoskills and geo-jobs. You can register at

The challenge is to raise awareness of the importance of the geospatial sector in policy and among decision makers in education and training.  There is a greta need for quality education to feed the rapidly growing geospatial industry sector. Three areas need to be focused on: careers, skills and qualifications. Sign up for the GeoSkills blog and help us on social media to raise awareness of the issue.

So what are GeoSkills? Find out more at


Cloud computing, education

School on the Cloud: lessons from Digital Earth

It is commonly agreed that networking in education is important. This post reflects on some lessons learned from networks I have been involved in and looks to the future. It is based on a presentation I am making at the 2014 Scientix  conference in Brussels. It’s planned to be a networking meeting for projects, researchers and leaders in the field. It is hosted by the European Commission and European Schoolnet.

My presentation will reflect on the experiences learned from the  Scientix project, which networked more than 80 organisations involved in using Digital Earth technologies and geo-media in schools, teacher education and training.

It seems to be a real pity that such neworking opportunities for schools and teacher education have disappeared under the Erasmus Plus funding system. These networks generated so much innovation and built the capacity for change. They were able to gather ideas and initiatives from many different stakeholders.

My presentation will review the outcomes of the ambitious network, recently graded at 90% by evaluators from the European Commission and which received a Global Award for Capacity Building in education at the GeoSpatial World Forum in earth, geospatial, industry, geo-media

The project raised awareness of the explosion of science and technology opportunities, open data and open science developments. It highlighted learning and teaching perspectives and sought to scale up the implementation of innovative approaches through a Centre of Excellence approach. These outstanding organisations continue to be highly active in promoting geo-media and geotechnologies in their own contexts. Many spinoff projects and other innovative developments continue.

I will examine the legacy and subsequent developments taken forward by the School on the Cloud network: Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship. School on the Cloud (SoC)  is a KA3 ICT network aiming to explore new dynamic ways to integrate the Cloud into education.

Cloud computing, education, Digital Agenda

The goal of the network is to explore how to align education with the way we think, share, learn and collaborate, across various education sectors, by exploiting the opportunities arising from “Cloud” Computing environments.

SoC started with 57 Partners, most of whom are leaders in their educational sectors. They represent 18 European countries and include 10 Schools, 21 Universities, Companies, NGOs, National Authorities, Research Centres, Associations and Adult Education providers. School on the Cloud has undertaken a state-of-the-art survey and established 4 working groups to look at the prospects for management, teaching, learning and Cloud-based digital futures,

Scientix  conference programme - School on the Cloud -