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GIS and cartography online curriculum

by Alan Forsberg

One of the challenges of teaching basic concepts of cartography and GIS is acquiring texts and online materials that are appropriate for an introductory geography student. I have created online presentations and assignments to fill this need. The following webpages are designed as windows which introduce the basic concepts in a simple accessible way, while also providing links to higher level information and easy access to examples from various sites on the internet.

Map Projections Examples - lecture presentation
Designed to easily introduce and compare various types of projections and their distortions. Matching projections for different data is one of the great challenges in GIS.

Mapping Data - lecture presentation
Designed to easily introduce the complex task of how to symbolize data. Introduces the basic cartographic concepts of point, line, area, and the ways these different kinds of data can be represented. Puts all the graphic examples on the same page.

Assignment A - Make a Map
This assignment is designed to show the student all of steps and decision making that go into making a map from raw data. This is particularly important to teach introductory GIS students as many of these steps and decisions become "automated" and often taken for granted by the novice user of a GIS.

Assignment B - Cartographic Communication
Do your students ever confuse the map they're looking at with the "real world?" This assignment is designed to get students to compare various cartographic depictions of the same place. The goal is to get students to appreciate the limited nature of maps and the selective decision making that goes into the cartographic process.

Assignment C - Mapping Data with Online GIS
Students get hands on experience using an online GIS automated mapping system with real census data. Students must match the appropriate data resolution to the chosen map scale. Given data categories are also a source of discussion and analysis.

Assignment G: - Mapping Populations
Students create a cartogram for the population of a world region.

Map Related Sites - Maps and Technology: GIS/GPS Resources - Links
Designed to provide my students with a window to the incredible variety of free maps and map related sources available online.

Alan's World