In this video clip from Penn State Public Broadcasting’s Geospatial Revolution project, the city of Portland’s use of information technologies is profiled. In the past people’s beliefs, knowledge and daily lives have been influenced by technologies like telephones, ships, cars and airplanes. In the digital age innovations from the Internet to smart phones are influencing the way citizens make decisions and live their lives. To evaluate these changes, citizens must ask: what are the advantages and consequences of these technologies for themselves and for their institutions?
In the past people’s beliefs, knowledge and daily lives have been influenced by technologies like telephones, ships, cars and airplanes. In the digital age innovations from the Internet to smart phones are influencing the way citizens make decisions and live their lives. To evaluate these changes, citizens must ask: what are the advantages and consequences of these technologies for themselves and for their institutions?
Technology has changed the political landscape for Americans. We saw that in the 2008 election of Barack Obama when social networking helped mobilize the vote, especially amongst young people. But there is more to politics than getting elected; governance is the common goal. How might technology be of use when governing a city, town or rural area?
The city of Portland, Oregon, has increased connectivity with its citizens through technologies that empower citizens to give and receive more data about the city. The increased information, about subjects as diverse as crime statistics and train schedules, has created more transparency about how the city is run. It has also fostered more power and responsibility for both citizens and the city.
For example, a citizen with a smart phone, can report a pothole or graffiti and track the status of the problem as it moves through the city’s system to be fixed. The citizen and the city are working in partnership to improve the problem – benefiting both of them. The citizen is empowered, and the city receives feedback about what needs to be done, from volunteers.
Still, Portland has invested heavily in technological innovation with tax dollars from all of its residents. Therefore, it is the city’s responsibility to provide the same services for citizens who may not be able to afford the latest technologies, as it does for those with cutting edge smart phones. To do this, the city maintains a customer service department reachable by phones of any kind, as well as online data available by computers from public venues like libraries.
Along with positive changes, technological innovations can bring unintended dangerous consequences, like identity theft or breaches of privacy, that both citizens and their governments need to monitor. These societal problems are as novel as the technologies that have created them and require ingenious, thoughtful solutions. Perhaps students who have grown up with digital technologies will be the source of some of the solutions.
Today digital technologies are ubiquitous and they are just tools that can be used for good or for ill. It’s up to us to assess them and decide what to do with them. This evaluation is especially important when considering the influence of technological innovation on our political processes.
To learn more about the history of geography, check out a video resource that traces the origin of maps to clay tablets in Babylonian times Geospatial Revolution: History of Geography.
To learn more about political geography, check out a video resource about maps that revealed potential voters during the 2008 presidential campaign Geospatial Revolution: Political Aspects.
To learn more about why geography is important, check out a video resource that explains how GIS helps us to understand how the earth works, climate change, and what new occupations have been sparked by emerging geospatial technologies Geospatial Revolution: Importance of Geography.
To learn more about the history of GIS, check out a video resource that traces the development of GIS from centuries of mapmaking to 21st century computer-based technology Geospatial Revolution: History of GIS.
To learn more about vocabulary that has developed with the growth of GIS, check out this interactive with relevant videos and embedded assessments of your understanding Geospatial Revolution: GIS Vocabulary.
To learn more about why you might want to study geography, check out a video resource that illustrates how maps can help you protect yourself and your house from an emergency, like raging wildfires Geospatial Revolution: Why Study GIS?.
To consider how GIS technology is helping address the lack of easy access to fresh food in high poverty neighborhoods, check out a video resource that profiles Philadelphia's use of geospatial applications. Geospatial Revolution: Food Deserts.
To consider how technology is rapidly changing the nature of jobs and careers in ways that will affect your opportunities, check out an interactive resource that profiles several job requirements at UPS. Geospatial Revolution: Your Next Job.
To learn more about how GIS is used to monitor areas of conflict, check out a video resource that shows how the US military uses GIS to protect soldiers in combat Geospatial Revolution: GIS to Monitor Areas of Conflict.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.