2008 Ohio GIS Conference
Presentation Abstract

A Pocket Full of Wishes, A Magic Wand & A Globe Made Out of Gold

Patricia Moehring, City of Lebanon, Rose Haverkos, City of Hamilton

Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 1:50 PM - Track 1

In the beginning there was curiosity, curiosity about our natural surroundings. From the Age of Exploration to the Space Age we have asked “Where is it, what does it mean, when did it happen, who did it, why did it happen?” We are influenced by our natural surroundings and by acting through economic, social and political events; we become agents of change. Our art and science are derived from our perceptions of these observations. But, what if all we knew were sounds of gun shots, blaring sirens, needle littered playgrounds, and every type of violence imaginable? How then would the world be perceived?

In this session you will meet Steven and other children from Southwest Ohio whose worlds are just that. In 2006, Caching Our World was formed to bring geographic adventures to at risk children. Through the help of Miami University and many volunteers from municipalities and consultants throughout Ohio, over three hundred children have the opportunity to explore and imagine other places in the world during National Geography Awareness Week in November each year. Activities include a geocaching style treasure hunt, a Goggle Earth exercise, and cultural activities such as mask making. They hear music and taste food from regions around the world to give them a complete cultural experience. A gallery of maps created by the children is displayed in downtown Hamilton during this week. Here the public gains insight into the field of geography and how the children perceive their world. But this is not enough to open their imaginations and inspire hope for the future.

According to the 2006 National Geographic Roper Study, half or fewer, young men and women (18-24) can not identify the states of New York or Ohio on a map (50% and 43%, respectively). An even more alarming fact is that only 17% of school age children have an atlas. So, how are children to succeed in a global world when understanding of other cultures, economic systems and beliefs are foreign to them? One problem is being solved thanks to McGraw Hill, Rand McNally and Princeton Hall. Students leave the event with an atlas of their own so they can explore new places. But it does not stop there.

We are very lucky to have the ultimate box of crayons as our profession, GIS. With a pocket full of wishes, a magic wand called a computer and Google Earth at our finger tips; we change the world around us through our profession. This session will enlighten you on how you can become “a GIS hero,” become part of this year’s K-12 event, and leave with ideas to start your own local program. Learn how K-12 programs like this one have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of GIS professionals.

Presentation PDF (18.6MB)