Examines different subjects or problems from an interdisciplinary framework.
Maps are essential and powerful ways of thinking about the earth and environment we live. Nowadays, digital maps on the World Wide Web (WWW), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the most recent popular geo-portals such as Google Map and Earth allow more and more people to make and use maps to visualize and analyze data in an unprecedented ways. This course is an introduction to maps, cartography, and geographic visualization, with an emphasis on their roles in GIS and on the WWW.
With a particular emphasis on the digital and GIS maps on the web, we will be covering topics like maps & human understanding, mental vs. cartographic maps, map abstraction process, and “map infrastructure” (e.g. scale, projections, reference systems, and map design). The course materials will cover technical, social issues as well as applications. Students will have an opportunity to create some different kinds of maps over the course of the quarter. Most importantly, students will be trained to be a critical map reader, who can decipher, analyze, and interpret meanings of data represented on the map.
Student learning goals
Students will learn about ‘maps’: its meanings, social and cultural implication.
Students will discuss why maps and map making are so important and ‘powerful’ way to understand the world.
Students will develop an ability to critically read, analyze, and interpret maps.
Students will have an opportunity to explore and create various types of maps.
General method of instruction
Class will be composed of lectures, discussions of assigned readings, an individual map presentation, and various map exercises.
Students should be prepared to read all the assigned reading before coming to class, and they are expected to participate in the class discussions and activities. Students are also expected to explore various types of interesting maps on the web.
Class assignments and grading
Grades will be based on two exams (25% each), map exercises (25%), critical review (10%), individual map presentation (5%) as well as their preparation for and participation in class discussions (10%).