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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Digital Cartography: Mapping our Environment

Cartography has been the art, science, and technology of making maps for a very long time. Now, thanks to the available digital data and technology, we can not only create maps, but integrate locational data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there) to understand the patterns (why things are there).

In this 2-week course, we are going to explore different data formats by understanding how the real world is represented on our digital maps so they can be used to visualize what is happening in our environment. Then, we will travel in time to see examples of influential maps (e.g., mapping diseases, historic events), and then re-generate them with today’s technology by using sophisticated data.

During the course we are going to use QGIS which is an open source GIS software that is platform independent (can be run on Mac, Windows, or even Linux). Students will explore the basics of vector data representations and practice interactive mapping skills. During the discussion sessions, they will bring one map of their selection, and for hands-on time, they will make one of their own.

For the final project, students will create an online story map consisting of the maps that they have created during the course, along with the challenges and lessons learned from each mapping assignment.

Schedule: Live synchronous sessions will meet Monday - Friday, 12 - 2pm (EST)