Kyung Hee Selected as Spatial information Specialization University, Offering Specialized Undergraduate Track at the Department

2022-08-16 Academic

The Department of Geography has been named among the eight universities selected by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to introduce a specialized undergrad track to nurture experts in objective decision-making based on spatiotemporal big data in urban setting

Kyung Hee was selected as a spatial information specialization university by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The Spatial Information Specialization University is a government project to nurture young talents in the geospatial information field that is widely expected to be a new industry engine for the future. Professor Chul Sue Hwang at the Department of Geography and his team (hereafter referred to as the project group) will cultivate young talents through innovative programs in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), smart cities, and drones. The project group will receive approximately 4.5 billion KRW over the next three years.

The central role of objective decision-making based on urban spatiotemporal big data
The project group will focus on training experts in the concept of smart city that the cities in the 21st century will be transformed into. The precise project name is New Normal Crisis City Space and Smart Space Decision Making Convergence Talent Cultivation for Urban Citizens. The goal is to nurture talents with competencies in △ spatiotemporal big data analysis △ data-based city management △ inclusive cities and inclusive land management △ urban climate environment data analysis.

This project will be crucial for the survival and prosperity of cities and city dwellers in the new normal crisis that emerges in multiple space-time scales. In the modern society, where spatial stratification of cities is getting increasingly complicated and conflicts among diverse social groups are growing, the need to make an optimal decision through an objective decision-making process based on spatiotemporal big data is greater than ever. The climate crisis is also changing the urban structure. While the study of climate falls under natural geography, properly understanding the impact of climate crisis on human civilization requires convergent expertise on big data, natural science, and geography. The convergence education that Kyung Hee aims for is the key to the success of the project.

The convergence education program will be added as a specialized track to the undergraduate program in geography. The program will include General Curriculum spanning four semesters, Major Curriculum in the third semester, and Industry-University Cooperation Practical Curriculum in the first semester. The general curriculum consists of basic education on spatial information processing, convergence competency education, and basic data analysis. In the major curriculum, specialized knowledge can be gained to cultivate experts in solving urban problems based on spatiotemporal big data analysis and spatial information analysis technology.

The industry-university cooperation practical curriculum allows students in the convergence education program to directly experience real-world problems through field practice, independent research, and capstone design, and to find solutions based on convergence and creative thinking. Professor Hwang said, “We expect this a new curriculum to train experts who will be well-versed in both the theories and the actual practices of smart space decision-making to solve the sustainability challenges faced by cities in the 21st century.”

The Department of Geography will lead the University in the convergence education
Among the diverse types of big data, which is widely seen as the core of Industry 4.0, spatial information is used, for instance, in autonomous vehicles. Geospatial data research is therefore essential for the broad market adoption and commercialization of autonomous vehicles. The accuracy and resolution of the map must be increased by ten times or more over the current level. Once that level of precision is achieved, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and metaverse will then converge on this high precision spatial big data as technological elements.

The project group develops both the basic technology and spatial information contents that utilize the developed technology. To demonstrate the level of technological sophistication, the project group has created a three-dimensional digital model of the University campus based on drone photography with plans to integrate street views into the virtual world contained in this model. This means that the model development process conducted in the graduate program has been expanded to undergraduate classes. Professor Hwang explained, “The Department of Geography is the most exemplary and proactive in implementing the spirit of convergence education that Kyung Hee pursues.”

Plans to shoot two birds with one arrow―excellent employment rate and quality of employment―through specialized training
The Department of Geography has reorganized its overall curriculum by introducing spatiotemporal big data convergence education for five years from 2014 to 2018 in the wake of the Ministry of Education’s selection of the University Specialization Project (CK). The students who completed the specialized track during this period reported markedly improved quality of employment. The project group plans to further advance the level of specialization in related fields by expanding faculty members to train geography students into the talents optimized for Industry 4.0.

The project group also plans to take this project as a starting point for a leap forward and expand the scale further after the end of the three-year project. Professor Hwang said, “Our plans for convergence education does not end after three years but is only just beginning. Many performance indicators suggest that our Department of Geography is on the best level in the nation. Now, we are aiming to expand our influence in Asia.”

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