School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Carol Gillespie


GIS, workforce, emerging trends, geospatial education, remote sensing, geographic information systems


Education | Geography


The purpose of this exploratory collective case study is to discover how geospatial education can meet the geospatial workforce needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the emerging intelligent web mapping era. Geospatial education uses geographic information systems (GIS) to enable student learning by increasing in-depth spatial analysis and meaning using geotechnology tools (Baker & White, 2003). Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy theory and geography concept of spatial thinking form an integrated theoretical framework of spatial cognition for this study. Data collection included in-depth interviews of twelve geospatial stakeholders, documentation collection, and supporting Q methodology to determine the viewpoints of a total of 41 geospatial stakeholders. Q methodology is a type of data collection that when used as a qualitative method utilizes sorting by the participant to determine their preferences. Data analysis strategies included cross-case synthesis, direct interpretation, generalizations, and a correlation matrix to show similarities in participants' preferences. The results revealed four collaborative perceptions of the stakeholders, forming four themes of social education, technology early adoption, data collaboration, and urban fundamentals. Four strategies were identified for higher education to prepare students for the emerging geospatial workforce trends. These strategies are to teach fundamentals, develop agile faculty and curriculum, use an interdisciplinary approach, and collaborate. These strategies reflect the perceptions of stakeholders in this study on how higher education can meet the emerging drivers and trends of the geospatial workforce.