Following the success of the inaugural pilot program in 2015, the Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria (GTAV) ran the GeoTECH event for the second time in Melbourne over the June school holidays.
Twelve high-achieving students from Victoria were selected to participate in this event, which showcased the importance of Geography as a key subject which underpins many different emerging innovative career opportunities. Students in all sectors of education were involved – 5 males and 7 females from metropolitan and regional Victoria in Years 10, 11 and 12.
The aim of the program was to enable students to have hands-on experience and gain an insight into the diversity of exciting career pathways in the rapidly expanding spatial industry. Such an event clearly illustrates how geographic technologies are instrumental in improving understanding and management of a wide range of fields, including emergency and disaster management, urban planning and infrastructure, conservation programs, humanitarian aid and community safety.
The select group of students were engaged in a wide variety of activities across the three days, obtaining highly marketable skills to boost their future employment opportunities. They met with leading industry experts at site visits to RMIT, the Victorian State Control Centre, highly respected spatial technology companies at the forefront of geospatial science such as GHD, Lonely Planet and local government offices (Cardinia Shire).
Practical exercises using GNSS devices and GIS software gave students a taste of what is on offer in the Geospatial course at RMIT and enabled students to investigate real world issues such as the planting of trees in the City of Melbourne to reduce the urban heat island. Fieldwork around allowed students to investigate current development projects and conversations with planners gave students an insight into how new suburbs in urban growth corridors are planned and designed from the ground up.
This successful GeoTECH event was developed by the GTAV with the support of RMIT, Destination Spatial, Map4Life, Cardinia Shire, Lonely Planet, SIBA, SSSI, Spatial Technologies, GHD, CRCsi and Emergency Management Victoria. The GTAV GeoTECH event is made possible with a grant from the Department of Education and Training (DET) via the SPP (Strategic Partnership Program).
The organisers are keen to roll out initiatives like this more broadly and aim to do the same again in 2017.