Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Maps are defined as a two dimensional, geometrically accurate representation of a three dimensional space. It is graphic representation of a set of features whose relationships are shown by size, position and time. Map is a tool by which we can view, measure and understand our environment. Map is one of the easiest tools and probably the best tool for establishing any environmental dialogue. It has generally been observed that the basic knowledge about maps is rather low among the people of this country, even among the formally educated. Map learning can make people able to handle geo-environmental information of local, regional, national and global levels efficiently and more accurately. Science Communicators’ forum, a Kolkata based NGO is pursuing map literacy programme in West Bengal since 2004. The organisation had implemented map literacy programme in 40 rural schools of West Bengal where 3000 students were given training on understanding, using, updating and creating maps of their local area. The exercises had given them a better idea and understanding of their local environment. They learnt how to observe the changes that occurred in terms of demography, social pattern, natural resource, pollution and biodiversity. Environmental mapping programme can be a part of environmental education where the learners will learn to prepare local area thematic maps based on different environment related themes and develop local environmental database. In an advance stage of map learning other geo-informatics tools like GPS, remote sensing and GIS may be introduced. A systematic curriculum can be prepared