MAP671 - Introduction to New Mapping

This is draft course syllabus for the class beginning on October 4, 2015. The ordering of the material may change but this provides a good overview of the course content.

Draft Course Syllabus

MAP671 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, data classification, projections and coordinate systems and elementary analytical techniques in a range of desktop 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.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Define and differentiate between variety of spatial data models and formats
  • Explain and apply the basics of representation in GIS, including using vector and raster data formats, determining appropriate geographic coordinate system for a given spatial data file and applying the appropriate geographic projection to a map type and spatial scale
  • Manipulate geospatial datasets (e.g. cleaning, joining, querying, extracting)
  • Apply appropriate thematic map symbology to represent geographic phenomena
  • Produce static map products that integrate multiple data types and analytical methods
  • Obtain geospatial data from a variety of online sources and integrate into mapping processes
  • Integrate desktop GIS procedures with web-based mapping platforms

Course Composition

This 10-week course comprises 10 modules, each with their own learning objectives and target deliverable.

Weekly modules will be assigned on Monday morning. Modules consist of an applied "hands-on" lesson. This "lecture" integrates a laboratory-style approach to learning important conceptual information about cartography and GIS. It is intended to be read carefully while following along with the the data files using the relevant software application and web tools to produce a map and/or dataset. This pedagogical approach will help ensure you gain the desired skills along with the conceptual knowledge.

Each module lesson is then followed by a weekly assignment that asks you to complete a related task culminating in a map product and/or dataset. These assignments are due the following Sunday by midnight.

Grading:10 module assignments x 10% = 100%

Weekly Schedule

Week 01: Introduction to New Maps Plus, Cartography and GIS, and Creating Maps in QGIS

  • Gain a basic conceptual understanding of cartography, GIS, and mapping
  • Gain familiarity with geographic data and information, and how it's encoded within computer files
  • Download and install a free and open-source GIS application (QGIS)
  • Gain a basic familiarity with the QGIS interface
  • Gain awareness of spatial reference and projection issues
  • Practice opening a variety of geographic data with QGIS and viewing their attributes within QGIS
  • Perform basic map styling
  • Create and export a basic map as a static image file

Week 02: Thematic Data Mapping With Table Joins

  • Load shapefiles and CSV data into QGIS
  • Retroject the map into an equal-area projection
  • Create classed choropleth map
  • Adjust the legend to help the map tell a more clear story
  • Load tabular CSV data into QGIS and performing a tabular join

Module 03: Geocoding and Point in Polygon Analysis

  • Obtaining and working with US Census data
  • Understand and perform geocoding of tabular data
  • Learn about some of the geocoding tools available online
  • Understand and perform a point in polygon analysis

Module 04: Hexbin and Heat Mapping

  • Map point data (oil and gas wells within Kentucky)
  • Create new polygon shapefiles of hexagon shapes and raster heatmaps
  • Determine the number of different well types within each polygon
  • Play with various classification schemes for representing the data
  • Create a 'heatmap' representation of the data

Module 05: Creating and editing vector geometries

  • Georeferencing
  • Using the GDAL georeferencer
  • Digitizing data
  • Digitizing data with Open Street Map in QGIS

Module 06: OpenStreetMap Data and Introduction to Geoprocessing Tools

  • A deeper look at Open Street Map
  • Importing OpenStreetMap data: QuickOSM
  • Importing OpenStreetMap data: SpatialLite Database
  • Data filtering and extraction
  • Exporting layers to a local CRS
  • Introduction to Geoprocessing
  • Geoprocessing with a buffer analysis

Module 07: Geoprocessing in QGIS and Automating Workflows

  • Extracting and preparing thematic OSM data
  • Filtering OSM data to create desired features
  • Managing CRSs in a geoprocessing workflow
  • Extracting attribute types of interest
  • Creating a buffer around a Polyline feature
  • Clipping features within a buffer
  • Geoprocessing functions
  • Using the Graphical Processing Modeler to automate workflows

Module 08: Integrating QGIS with CartoDB

  • Creating a CartoDB account and exploring the documentation and interface
  • Loading data into CartoDB
  • Using the QGIS CartoDB plugin
  • Pulling data down into QGIS for processing
  • Pushing data back up to CartoDB
  • Making a thematic map in CartoDB

Module 09: Advanced Mapping Techniques with QGIS and CartoDB

  • Using SQL in CartoDB
  • Symbolizing point data and "Bubble Maps" in CartoDB
  • Creating an unclassed proportional symbol map in CartoDB
  • What is PostGIS?
  • Using SQL and PostGIS to perform geoprocessing tasks in the browser

Module 10: Bringing it all together (course project)

  • Each student will select from suggested datasets to create a final course project
  • Students can use CartoDB or Mapbox Studio
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