Skip to main content

GIS Workshop Video

The design and marketing team in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky has finished producing a great video showcasing a couple university-community partnerships from my GIS Workshop course.  Also see an article written by the UK PR team, copied below.

[ See a previous iteration of this kind of video about GIS Workshop, here. ]


GIS Workshop: Community Partners from UK College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.


GIS Workshop Strengthens Community Ties

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2012) — For the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, it was an opportunity to reorganize youth programs; for the nonprofit Seedleaf, it was a way to better connect with volunteers; and for students in geography Professor Matt Wilson's class, it was the chance to apply their skills to engage with the Lexington community.

Students in Wilson's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Workshop course spent the past semester applying their knowledge of geographic technology from the classroom to assist real organizations in Lexington. The course, which capitalizes on resources within the College of Arts and Sciences, provides students with hands-on experience through community-based partnerships. Students incorporate mapping techniques and technology to enhance community organizations' operations.

"GIS Workshop is a great opportunity, primarily because it provides students with a capstone experience that allows them to apply the skills that they've already learned in their first and second years," Wilson said. "It's also great for community partners who otherwise would not have access to these rather expensive and sometimes time-consuming technologies — to be able to spend 12-13 weeks working with university students to build products that they can actually use in their day-to-day lives."

Geography student Amanda Witbeck worked with the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice (CKCPJ), creating maps that showed the spatial priorities of youth in Lexington. This involved utilizing a survey to determine the needs of high-risk youth, then mapping the data.

"These youth helped develop questions that they thought were really important to ask other youth," Kerby Neill, volunteer coordinator for the CKCPJ said. "We were very excited when we could begin to map these kinds of issues. We could say, 'where are the kids that are responding to this living, and where are their needs, and how do they compare with where the services are?'"

Neill said that a shortage of youth services represented a large concern for the CKCPJ, as programs for inner-city and at-risk youth had been shrinking dramatically. The new data will allow the organization to enhance the youth services that it offers.

"These maps that we made will probably be used in the next year to make some real differences in the Lexington community," Witbeck said.

Geography and German student Jon Finnie voiced the same sentiment with his community partnership.

Seedleaf is a nonprofit organization that installs and maintains community gardens. With eight free and open community gardens, as well as eight market gardens from which the organization sells food online, Seedleaf serves to address food-related issues in areas with diet-related health problems.

"With the GIS Workshop, we wanted to do two things," Finnie said, "First off, we wanted to make maps that would help them communicate to the community — to both volunteers and to people who otherwise had not known about Seedleaf, just help them communicate where and what they do. The second thing was to create some maps using things like census data that would help Seedleaf communicate where exactly in town people were finding it difficult to access tasty, nutritious food, which is typically more expensive, so we tied that back to income data."

Seedleaf founder and director Ryan Koch said that the students' help with connecting with volunteers was immensely useful.

"To have volunteer labor come out and catch a garden up, it means a lot to our organization, and it means a lot to the yield in the garden," Koch said. "Our stuff just does better when there are more hands on board, and to be able to make it accessible to volunteers was a big deal."

The maps also identified the locations of all Seedleaf gardens, helping demonstrate that the organization was addressing diet-related issues in key areas.

"We really want to demonstrate that we're doing our programming in these food deserts for a reason," Koch said.

Wilson said he was extremely pleased with the students' efforts as well as the real-world experience that the community partners provided.

"GIS Workshop is just one example of the many ways that we are trying to build connections to the community within the College of Arts and Sciences," Wilson said. "I look forward to future opportunities to do this kind of work."

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Harvard GSD: Critical and Social Cartography

This spring I'm excited to be offering Critical & Social Cartography, a seminar in the Graduate School of Design (SES-5345). I've copied the course problematic and the weekly discussion topics below.

Critical & Social Cartography
Wednesdays, 10am-1pm
Gund Hall: Gropius Room
http://tinyurl.com/HarvardCart

How might we identify the practices of responsive/responsible social and critical cartography, amid the proliferation of digital spatial media? To address this question, this seminar begins with the premise that cartography is not ‘dead’, although certainly challenged by the advancement of GIScience. Rather, the renewal of geographic representation can be charted as paralleling the advancement of neogeography, the saturation of location-based services, the marketization of geodesign, the reconfiguration of the humanities toward the spatial and the digital, and the drumbeats of ‘big data’, ‘the death of theory’, ‘quantified self’, ‘smart cities’, and ‘cyberinfrastructure…

Introducing Community Mapshop

GIS Workshop at the University of Kentucky is becoming Community Mapshop this Spring semester. I've retooled the course and the partnerships, hoping to inspire a different kind of community-based classroom project from those in 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Think Bunge and Wood. More studio; less laboratory. This course will become part of a broader initiative within the College of Arts & Sciences at UK, beginning in Fall 2015, simply called Mapshop: http://mapshop.as.uky.edu. (Our website currently points to the old GIS Workshop page under the New Mappings Collaboratory, but the new site will be functioning by December 2015.)

The course description for this Spring follows:
Drawing on the last twenty-five years of scholarship in critical cartography and critical GIS, this workshop begins from the premise that maps are more than windows on the world. Maps do not only provide a record of geographic phenomena but actually impact the conditions of knowing itself. This ‘more-than-re…

Atlas for a Community Mapshop

Community Mapshop 2015 has culminated in a series of outputs and engagements, but most recent among these, is our Atlas for a Community Mapshop. This is a compilation designed by a student in the course, Renae Mantooth, containing a number of the graphics and maps produced at the mid and final reviews for the studio. Using Denis Wood's Everything Sings as our inspiration, the class was asked to prepare graphics in grayscale, allowing for their easy reproduction and circulation. You can read the digital text, here (or below, or download). We explored the following themes:

Food NetworkEducation OpportunitiesModes of TravelBus Shelter InequityUneven Housing LandscapeWifi InequityBlue Grass Trust Plaque ProgramFacade Dichotomy
From the text:
Drawing on the last twenty-five years of scholarship in critical cartography and critical GIS, this workshop begins from the premise that maps are more than windows on the world. Maps do not only provide a record of geographic phenomena but also a…