Catalog Description: Display techniques for statistical and terrain data. Cartographic communication models, data models, algorithms, and symbol conventions. Techniques for assessing map design.
Overview: GIS, the web, and inexpensive graphics-capable computers have brought rapid changes in availability of cartography, but the basics of graphical data presentation remain rooted in cartographic conventions developed over a much longer period. This course uses GIS technology to illustrate and explore cartographic communication and the "classic" technical and graphical challenges in entails.
This course introduces the theory and practice behind GIS-produced maps. It is concerned with both digital and graphic representation of spatial data. Its intent is to introduce concepts and tools to help you produce good maps to illustrate scholarly writing and presentations. Its focus is on making maps that convey meaning (not on GIS analysis).
Data models and data structures for digital representation of maps are considered as are notions of graphic logic. Classic topics in map projections, line and area generalization, contouring, label placement, surface and volume interpolation, and other aspects of cartographic symbolization are discussed and illustrated. Laboratory exercises, using ArcGIS Tracking Analyst, kml in Google Earth, and HTML5/Canvas to prepare maps for on-screen and web presenation. These will be augmented by scripting in awk and python to reformat data for intergration into oterh environments.
Readings: This term there is no required book at the bookstore. Instead, we will dig into my bookshelf and the web to consider a set of sources that shed light on digital cartographic design from several directions and periods. These will include:
You may also find several other titles of inspirational use:
Grading: Grades will be based on two short-essay examinations (midterm 10% and final 10%), approximately weekly mapping exercises and presentations (together 60%), and a term project (20%). In addition, class participation and engagement are required. Each of these components must be completed to pass the course. The university policy on I-grades will hold. The exam format is short essay, usually answering 5 out of 7 questions. The labs complement the lecture material and should be completed as we go. They generally involve using software to produce several maps for comparison, and then writing a brief evaluation relating the differences in the maps to principles discussed in class. Some of the labs may require that you develop cartographic software to modify data, transform data, and produce maps. Labs will be graded for demonstrating that you have experimented with and mastered the programs and associated concepts from lecture and reading materials.