Thomas Bartoschek

ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics

Germany - 2012


For the contributions of Thomas Bartoschek and Johannes Schöning to GI@School (Geoinformatics at Schools), a program that encourages young people to develop a fascination for computer science and computer science research.

The core idea behind the project GI@School (Geoinformatics at Schools) is to encourage young people with a scientific bent to develop a fascination for computer science and computer science research. The importance of applications that deal with geographic information increased enormously in the last years and wide parts of society have started to make use of it. By teaching elementary theoretical and practical knowledge on geoinformation science and computing, students are empowered to design solutions to problems in their local communities such the design of a solar cadastre or the use of GPS-devices to map their neighborhood.

Starting in 2007 the project has been brought to many different countries mostly by students. Projects and cooperations were started in various countries such as Venezuela, Russia, India, Ruanda and Portugal. GI@School further evolved and started to offer periodic intensive two-day teacher theoretical and hands-on workshops. GI@School has established a functioning network of schools teachers and students, where the exchange with public authorities (free geo-,and statistical data for educational purposes), industry partners and in particular partnerships with local schools playing an important role.

Thomas Bartoschek, the inventor of this initiative, and his team have been educating students in Münster, Germany and around the world. Thomas has received only partial funding by his University and has acquired all funding for major trips from non-university institutions. Together with Johannes Schöning, an expert in Human-Computer Interaction, they brought high-end technology, such as interactive surfaces and mobile context-aware computing into the classrooms. Both of them have dedicated many hours of their free time to this project, to motivate young people that computer science and technology can make a difference in solving problems which matter to all of us.