The award winning Spatial Discovery program is a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas) and the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE) with additional assistance from the University of Tasmania (UTAS).
Permanent GPS receivers in Tasmanian schools
NRE Tas Land Tasmania installed the first of three permanent GPS receivers in Tasmanian schools at Taroona High in November 2014. The receivers in the other Tasmanian schools selected, Lilydale High School and Devonport High School, became operational in March 2015.
The installations are part of the GPS in Schools program, established under the
AuScope Australian Geophysical Observing System (AGOS) funded by the Education Investment Fund – an Australian Government Initiative – to promote geoscience education across the school sector.
The high precision GPS receivers continuously log satellite data and enable positions to be calculated to the millimetre. Data from these Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) is sent to Geoscience Australia (GA) in Canberra using an internet connection and the station data is freely available to schools, along with over 120 other stations Australia wide, from the GA website.
An interesting aspect of the Taroona installation is that it is within the
School Creek Landslide, one of only two active landslides being monitored by Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT). The observations from the GPS station will feed directly into the monitoring data being collated by MRT.
Collaboration to provide educational resources
In addition to the provision of the GPS receivers, GA engaged the University of Tasmania (UTAS) to provide educational resources targeted at high school students to explain both the GPS technology and the GPS in Schools program. UTAS worked closely with the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE) to prepare and refine this material in the context of the new national curriculum.
For Spatial Discovery, Land Tasmania is collating and preparing resources that will utilise LISTmap to enable teachers to integrate spatial techniques in their classroom delivery of a diverse range of subjects including maths, geography, outdoor education and leadership, environmental science, housing and design, and information systems and digital technologies and design.
Enhancements to LISTmap
AGOS funding was also used to make enhancements to LISTmap to make it a more valuable resource for educators and purchase a fleet of handheld GPS units, distributed through the Technology in Schools - GPS program.
Land Tasmania and DoE are collaborating to schedule specific teacher training in LISTmap, GPS and broader spatial technology opportunities. Further information relating to possible training is available from the contact below.