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Critical GIS in the classroom

For one academic year, I've attempted a different type of approach to an introductory course in GIS, drawing on various curricular strategies of Nadine Schuurman, Sarah Elwood, Francis Harvey, and Meghan Cope.  In this course, students work through introductory technical skills, while simultaneously reading/writing about and discussing the GIS & Society tradition.  In this brief post, I'm asking students who participated in this introductory GIS course to reflect on what it means to practice 'critical GIS'.


  1. Means...
    -To learn the overview of the vocabulary used
    -To learn how to operate ArcMap and ArcCatalog
    -To learn and be able to understand the operations used in GIS
    -In the end be able to apply all of these clearly


  2. For me, practicing critical GIS means not merely using or performing GIS to meet an end but actually thinking about the processes, bias' and history of the discipline. in critical GIS, GIS is not just some tool but a very powerful medium of display and manipulation of data. SS

  3. To me, practicing "critical GIS" means going beyond what the raw data shows and finding deeper meaning or significance to the results found during research. "Critical GIS" takes data and maps produced from it beyond simple numbers and actually produces usable information that can help make a difference in the world. Practicing "critical GIS" actually solves an important question by finding an answer that can actually be applied in a real-world situation.


  4. To practice critical GIS is to use multiple ways of thinking to interpret and solve a problem. Not only to critically think about and write how to solve an issue, but also to visually show a solution to the problem. This means to create a map that shows a solution to the problem so that people who are not familiar with GIS can interpret the results easily.

  5. Practicing critical GIS is not just learning the procedures and the instructional bits of the system. Its knowing how to use GIS morally, doing things right and not just importing data just to import data. We have learned to make the data accurate and precise, because what we do could effect the rest of the cartographers.

  6. -i'd say it means to study how geographical places everywhere are influenced by statistics
    -also the information and knowledge that we gained using ArcMap & Arc Catalog
    -also, i never would have imagined i'd like this class b/c it sounded real lame at first, but it ended up being interesting and hopefully useful in the future
    -i'd also like to point out that it means having a cool ass teacher who brings us concannon's


  7. Practicing critical GIS involves more than just using GIS as a program/tool. You must also analyze the data associated with it, apply your knowledge to real-world situations, and be able to interpret some sort of meaning from the work you've done.

  8. Critical Gis is a process by which you can express thoughts data and in some cases opinions. It alows the practicer to create a visual representation of the querry or opinion you are trying to express.

  9. i believe critical GIS involves everything we have done this semester. it involves everything including manipulating maps to show information relevant to a certain topic as well as looking at a map and finding information that needs to be analyzed for further evaluation.

  10. Critical GIS is the practice of using GIS critically.

    It is a process used to analyze and interperate geographic, social, and political processes, etc... and make conclusions about them using computer-based tools.


  11. Critical GIS, is to practice the methods of mapping, and to get a message across via a map using the GIS program.


  12. GIS has helped me understand more about how to map things that pertain to may major. Critical GIS is usefull for real data. It also allows for real data to expressed easily.


  13. To me Critical GIS is a way of expressing thoughts and ideas in a visual style. It both differs and relates to other visual forms of media in that it allows information to be displayed in an easily understood form which can be combined with images and ideas. Thorugh the prosess you can creat not just a map but a means by which to express vast amounts of data that may be almost incomprehensible in any other form. Thus by practicing GIS you are convaying thoughts by mapping and comparing things via their 2D relationships with other things which may at times seem completely unrelated to one ather.

  14. Critical GIS is a way to visualize and analyze data using maps.


  15. To me, critical GIS is a way of organizing and displaying data. Using GIS in the classroom involves understanding where and how to access data, how to manipulate the data (if needed), and finally, how to display and analyze the data. This requires an understanding of a few pieces of software and an ability to be organized and efficient.


  16. To me critical GIS is..
    -A way to get solutions to real world problems
    -Along with getting solutions to these real world problems critical GIS is also a way to interpret your results to better a community, the world, or an environment.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. To me practicing GIS is interpreting data to solve real world problems. It is useful because you can see the data in visual form to better understand the issue at hand.


  19. Critical GIS is a way to to express data in map form. You have to go through many steps to to complete the final version of your map. This class has been very productive to help me continue through my education experience in the department of Geography.


  20. To practice critical GIS is solving problems in society through many different fields. You take the problems and create solutions through the use of maps.

  21. What is Critical GIS, that is a good question and i define it as follows:
    1)A way of using current resources (Arc Map and Arc Cat.) to create and analyze map based creations
    2) This system can than be used to capture, store, and visualize data pertaining to a certain location
    3) used for a variety of professions to help better the research that they conduct


  22. GIS has helped me in understanding the detailed process that goes into creating and making maps that show and produce information. I now have a greater appreciation for the maps I will soon be using in my classroom, displaying information about geographical information, as well as history.

    SC (santa claus)

  23. To me, practicing critical GIS is the process of taking spatial data and using the analysis of said data to ethically research and solve problems.

  24. Critical GIS is a way to analyze and graphically depict issues and potential solutions in our geographic environment, impacting our daily lives.

  25. To me practicing GIS means to interpret and find a way to solve a problem. One way of doing so means being able to visually create a map that shows a solution to the problem. This should be done in such a way for people who are not familiar with GIS can interpret the results as well.

  26. Critical GIS is a way to solve and analyze various real world problems through mapping different situations. By using GIS in the classroom it helps students to understand how to interpret and represent data for different problems.


  27. Practicing critical GIS is not only the collecting and mapping of data but also using that data to research and solve problems. fun! tb

  28. Critical GIS is a way of looking at maps with a new eye. It shows the way of seeing all of the details of the maps and how you create those details in the maps. Critical GIS shows the way to use resources that were before unknown.


  29. Critical GIS is a way to analyze results and solve problems with educated solutions. This process allows a similar language to help describe real world issues and possible solutions.


  30. Critical GIS is a way to start theorizing, then put a theory into images which can be shared between others. Others can then ask questions and answer those same questions with critical GIS. Or it can be used to find information which has already been answered. Most importantly, critical GIS is an efficient and accurate way to share spacial data with other scientists.

  31. Critical GIS is using GIS software and techniques to better communicate. Using the software allows for better communication with political and social information and ideas. Since maps carry a scientific weight they have the opportunity to provided a more powerful message.


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