Geospatial case study: Ngaio School kids hunt schoolyard treasure with GPS and LINZ
21 June 2012
Ngaio School eight-year-olds put digital information into action as they scoured the Wellington primary school’s grounds for treasure with the aid of GPS units on 19 June.
Land Information NZ (LINZ) staff joined in the activities and were impressed with the children’s understanding of maps, location-based information and coordinates.
LINZ became involved with the children’s map studies earlier in the school term when Mike Judd of the NZ Geospatial Office showed them how to use interactive maps on the LINZ website.
The children are an example of their generation growing up ‘digital’ which is a sub-theme of the international Digital Earth Summit that LINZ is co-hosting with Wellington City Council in Wellington from 2-4 September.
The workshop run by the school’s year four syndicate was designed so the children could put their new skills into practice.
One activity was the GPS treasure hunt game called geocaching in which children used coordinates downloaded onto GPS units to find little treasure canisters hidden round the school. Other activities included traditional orienteering with maps, finding places on Google Earth, solving a treasure map problem and designing a ‘travel bug’ for hiding in geocaches.
Syndicate leader Adelle Broadmore said the action-packed workshop provided both a taster for children who had little practical experience of geocaching and orienteering and an opportunity for more knowledgeable children to share their skills.
The inclusion of geocaching and orienteering in the maths curriculum at Ngaio School stemmed from the enthusiasm some of the children and their families have for the activities, including ardent eight year-old geocaching fans Jack Braddick and Scott Taylor-Beech. As Jack says,” Geocaching improves how you see.”
Scott’s father Geoff organised the geocaching hunts for the workshop and will arrange for a ‘travel bug’ designed by the children to make its way round the world from one geocache to another as enthusiasts log their find online and move it on.
For more information on the Digital Earth Summit, visit www.digitalearth12.org.nz