Maps are powerful tools for understanding the relationships between people and place. They have been used to divide and unite, to expose environmental problems, to plan for peace, and to prepare for war. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map might be worth millions.
In this course, students will learn the basics of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the production of digital maps using computer software. We will study the elements of good cartographic design and apply those elements to produce meaningful maps with a purpose. The first half of the quarter will be spent developing fundamental skills with GIS software. The second half of the quarter will culminate in a project to produce a series of maps that illustrate a social or environmental problem, and which could be used to advocate for a change in policy or raise public awareness about an issue.
Students who enroll should be comfortable using computers, have a knowledge of basic algebra, and some experience using spreadsheet software like Excel. Knowing how to navigate the Windows file/folder system in some depth will help you avoid a "double learning curve." Both upper and lower division students are welcome.