Students get a taste of maps, charts and data

It’s never too early to learn about hydrography, topography and the cool things LINZ can do with data – especially when it comes to knowing the vital difference between maps and charts.

11-year-olds Ataahua Smith, Jaidyn Russell and 12-year old Kendra Coombes get a taste of hydrography with Hydro Systems Data Analyst James O’Brien

11-year-olds Ataahua Smith, Jaidyn Russell and 12-year old Kendra Coombes get a taste of hydrography with Hydro Systems Data Analyst James O’Brien.

“They hate the charts being called sea maps,” says 11-year-old Jaidyn Russell, who visited LINZ today with Hastings Intermediate School. “We also met the people who make maps more user-friendly and easier to read.”

The children are spending three days in Wellington, getting a glimpse of science-related careers and work. As well as LINZ they are visiting Victoria University, GNS Science, engineering firm Becca, Te Papa, the Observatory, the Kapiti Expressway construction site, and Unitec to learn about robotics and 3D printing.

The visits were set up by FutureInTech – an organisation which encourages kids to consider science careers. James O’Brien in the Hydro team is one of LINZ’s FutureInTech ambassadors, and enjoys showing primary and high school students through the high-tech world of hydrography.

“I learnt how they measure the deepness of water. They get a boat with a laser,” says Kendra Coombe, 12.

James then told the children that the most common question his team fields from the public relates to the tides: “They want to know: when can I get married on the beach in 2017?”

Cartographer Richard Freeman and Senior Spatial Analyst Ian Reese also joined in, demonstrating and chatting about cartography and making map data easier to use.

Science teacher Murray Gosling says the children are part of the school’s Scitech Academy, extending those who show an interest in science and technology.

“We try to expand their interest, so they’ll go on to study science at high school and university. Since setting up Scitech, we’re already starting to see a proportion going on to take science at university.”

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