Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New introductory course: Digital Mapping

In fulfillment of the University of Kentucky Arts & Creativity Core Curricula, I'll be offering Digital Mapping next semester (UKC101, eventually GEO109).  I'm excited about this course, as it will be an opportunity to experiment with web-based mapping tools to provide the foundation for more advanced curricula in critical cartography and GIS.  Excerpts from the syllabus follow:

Course Description:
Mapping has been considered both an art and a science, as part of artistic, communicative, and analytical processes in the geographical tradition.  This course will serve as an introduction to the concepts, techniques, and histories that enable mapping as a creative and artistic practice, with particular attention to the digital.  It covers the centrality of the map in everyday life and considers the changing role of the map-maker as society becomes increasingly saturated by digital information technologies.  Of particular interest will be the use of Internet-based mapping tools and location-based services and the relationship of these tools with more traditional digital mapping techniques, such as geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS).  In addition the course will introduce principles in cartographic design, geovisualization methods for digital data, and digital map evaluation and critique, culminating in a series of maps created by students.

Course goals and objectives:
In utilizing the creative process of digital mapping, this course shall:

  • Trace the technological developments and conceptual debates that situate contemporary digital mapping as art and creative practice;
  • Explore the variety of digital mapping technologies available for creative and artistic representations of spatial phenomena;
  • Create maps through digital processes using Internet-based and desktop-based software; and
  • Critique existing digital maps and tools, as well as those creative works produced by participants in the course.

Student learning outcomes:
By the completion of this course, students shall be able to personally create maps that demonstrate their engagement with the creative and artistic processes of digital mapping, both as an individual and as part of a collaborative endeavor.  As part of these processes students will:

  • Apply principles of map design to create maps that are coherent and convincing as well as technically correct, choosing an appropriate representation for their data set or project goal;
  • Situate contemporary digital mapping within histories of technological developments and theoretical debates;
  • Critique cartographic products and geoweb applications to assess some of their potential social, political, and aesthetic implications; and
  • Evaluate results of their own creative endeavors and, using that evaluation, reassess and refine their work.