MAP 671: Introduction to New Mapping

Course Description

This course introduces students to both the social and technical aspects of digital mapping in the 21st century. Students will learn fundamental concepts and techniques in cartography and GIS, including file types, spatial databases, data manipulation, projections and coordinate reference systems, and analytical and spatial analysis techniques in a range of desktop, server, and web-based mapping platforms. In addition to providing the fundamental technical competencies necessary to create maps, students will develop the critical awareness required to effectively communicate complex social processes through maps.

Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

General sketch of the topics and timeline

Module 01: Setting up a Modern Mapping Environment and Workflow

As almost all the software involved in a modern web mapping workflow involves text-based files (data formats and coded scripts), the essential tools for a web mapper make handling these text files as easy as possible. In this lesson we will introduce two specific programs we’ll be using throughout this course and beyond, and the process for using them.

This lesson will familiarize you with using these tools and establish a workflow we’ll be using throughout the course and program:

Week 02: Introduction to New Maps Plus, Cartography and GIS, and Creating Maps in QGIS

This week provides a quick background discussion of cartography, mapping, and GIS. Our goals are to install our mapping toolkit containing QGIS and PostGIS, build a spatial database, and learn how to manage and prepare data for mapping,

Week 03: Creating and Publishing Map Layouts

After we build mapping foundation, we publish our first static map to a web page. This is classic cartography.

Week 04: Thematic Data Mapping With Table Joins

We explore table joins and a common analysis technique using quantitative, numerical data, the choropleth map.

Module 05: Spatial Joins, Hex binning and Heat Mapping

Big data is increasingly available to download and use. The module focuses on massive point-level dataset and explores analysis techniques for their thematic representation in PostGIS.

Module 06: Georeferencing Imagery and Digitizing New Vector Features

We’ll explore process of georeferencing an image (either aerial, satellite, or a static image) to align it to real-world locations. In our lesson, we’ll use a picture from a tethered balloon. A georeferenced image can be used as a raster layer in our GIS. The module explores techniques for creating and editing new vector geometries using this imagery.

Module 07: OpenStreetMap Data, Geoprocessing Tools, and Publishing Raster Tiles

We explore how to harvest spatial data from OpenStreetMap (OSM) perform spatial analysis using the geoprocessing functions like buffer, intersect, and union. We’ll develop rule-based symbology to create a tiled web map in QGIS.

Module 08: Integrating QGIS with CARTO

In this module we move away from purely-desktop GIS operations to the exciting land of the web and web mapping. We introduce a key player in the web mapping world: CARTO.

Module 09: Web mapping with GDAL and Mapbox

This lesson continues our exploration of web-based mapping platforms. Browser technology has evolved to efficiently support vector tilesets. We’ll dive into Mapbox and explore Studio, their map design tool that has been compared to the Photoshop of online mapping. We will also use the GDAL raster library to process elevation data.

Module 10: Final project

Let your creative spirit fly with a project of your choice. You will create a public mapping project using a static map(s) in a new repository with a theme of your choice. Requirements will be detailed when the module is released.