"My dream is that every American student, at the end of every block of instruction in every conceivable subject, can say proudly and knowledgeably, I have done the map. Because that means they know who they are, where they are, and how to get where they want to go."Walter A. McDougall
GECO (and yes I know, that’s not how you spell the friendly little lizard – but hey! there s only so many tortured acronyms you can cope with – its the best I could come up with and its not too far off!!)
Anyhow, GECO (our project, not the misspelled lizard or one of many geology survey firms – try Googling ‘GECO’ for fun!), is about making ‘geo stuff’ more widely visible to it’s core audience – the UK Higher and Further Education community.
I confess that I have some concerns over the use of the term ‘community’ as it strikes me as being overworked and a shorthand way of saying you are not entirely sure who specifcally you are trying to target. Indeed, without veering towards Thatcheresque pronouncements along the lines of ‘there’s no such thing as community’ I do think its fair to say there is no single ‘community’ – there are lots of them!! Not surprising really as UK HFE (blasted abbreviations/acronyms again) is a variegated environment, socially, culturally and institutionally. That’s before you consider discipline specific idiosyncrasies and fetishes…
So, if variety is the spice of life, what we want from GECO is a curry that’s palatable to as broad a culinary audience as possible (thats perhaps an unfortunate metaphor as I now have images of diced lizard in tikka masala).
GECOs initial focus will be to work with the JISC funded geospatial projects (funded under JISC Call 15/10, geospatial strand), to esnure that there is some cross-fertilisation and synergy achevied or at least attempted – a mild curry if you will.
Its unlikely, given that the rationale and impetus behind the funding call was to spur the uptake and use of geospatial resources in ‘non-traditional’ domains – yes, geographers stand back, others have an interest in space too!, that it will be easy to foster a ready sense of ‘community’ across the (presumed) disparate projects but perhaps everyone likes curry these days.
However, we need to await the outcomes of the funding decisions to decide just how a (hopefully) eclectic mix of projects can assist in bootstrapping the larger aspirations of GECO i.e. to make geography matter across as broad a user and discipline base as possible.