Science & Technology in Action

11th Edition

Coding and Mapping

Ordnance Survey Ireland

This lesson deals with the topic of coding and discusses some of the principles involved. An example of the ‘object oriented’ concept is presented and the object-oriented spatial database Prime2, Ireland’s National Spatial Platform, is described. The OSi project with CoderDojo and Minecraft is outlined.

Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

Codes are designed the way they are so that human beings can learn to write them. However, a computer cannot understand them so they have to be translated into machine language i.e. a language that computers can understand. This is done in several steps: 

1. The code a person writes, like the C++ code shown above, is called the source code. This is known as high level language as it contains words and instructions close to human language. This source code is then processed by a compiler or interpreter into assembly code.

2. This assembly code is known as low level language as it is close to what a computer can understand. It breaks the source code instructions in many simpler ones. 

3. The computer’s assembler then converts the assembly code into machine code. The computer can understand this language which it executes as binary i.e. 1’s and 0’s.

This may seem like a complicated process but as computers can only understand instructions given in 1s and 0s (binary). 

Using high level languages saves programmers a lot of time. They can write the instructions and understand what is written. Otherwise they would have to type billions of 1’s and 0’s just to run a simple app.

Quiz questions

  1. A computer programme is a set of instructions that a computer can understand. true
  2. Source code is a form of code that a human writes. true
  3. Machine code is a high level language. false
  4. Binary code is a language that contains words like human language. false
  5. Binary coding is easy for people to write. false
  6. HTML is used to write the content of web pages. true
  7. In an object oriented language a parent object inherits its attributes. false
  8. Prime 2 is the name of the OSi Database. true
  9. A special programme is needed to translate the Prime 2 data into Minecraft virtual world data. true
  10. Nearly every modern electronic device uses code to operate. true