Geographic Education, Universal Mapping, and Public Participation: The Search for Umbrella Theory




Stea, David
Blaut, James M.

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


While much has been written in recent years about the ability of pre-school children to comprehend geographic-scale spatial representations, issues of theory and application still remain unresolved. Some of these revolve about the relationship of developmental theory in psychology to geographic education. Two other issues relate to whether progress from one developmental stage to another is fundamentally “irreversible,” and to the interpretation of scale errors made by very young children in attempting to read aerial photographs, a surrogate task for map reading. A final question addressed in this article concerns how the legacy of such early spatial learning, and of geographic education, may be applied to participatory planning among groups of adults.



spatial cognition, universal mapping theory, participatory planning


Stea, D., & Blaut, J. M. (1999). Geographic education, universal mapping, and public participation: The search for umbrella theory. Research in Geographic Education, 1(2), pp. 179-193.


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