Workshop: “So You Want to Create a Map? The Basics of GIS Mapping”

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 A week ago I had the chance to attend the workshop “So You Want to Create a Map? The Basics of GIS Mapping”, led by Javier Otero Peña and Kelsey Chatlost from the CUNY Digital Fellows. Since I would really like to take advantage of GIS software to create a digital project, I was really looking forward to this date in particular.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 As we learned during the first half of the workshop, before attempting to create a map we need to know what we want the endgame to be and what we want our project to look like. When working with GIS, we deal with three different types of data: the dataset itself, raster data and vector data. I must say that this first part of the workshop turned out to be more theoretical than I thought it would be—not only we studied some of the terminology used in GIS programs, but we were also told how to work with shapefiles, layers and georeferencing. However, I assume all of this is necessary before diving into the actual “mapping” process.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Once we did, we first tried QGIS. We learned how to apply the information regarding the attributes of our future map (name, description, age…) and how to convert it into shapefiles (points, lines or polygons). I must say that creating a project through this platform was relatively complex and I felt like it required a more advanced knowledge of mapping applications. In any case, it was a good experience to begin using this open-source cross-platform. We then turned to CARTO, which to me was a much simpler program, and that is probably the reason why it was easier to follow all the directions from Javier Otero Peña. The CARTO interface definitely looked pretty much straightforward—even though it did present certain problems when it came to finding accurate and more detailed maps from regions outside the United States.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 One of my personal goals this semester is to familiarize with as many digital tools as possible and, overall, I think this workshop gave me a general idea of the basics of GIS. I do wish we could have had more time to play around with CARTO and specially QGIS during the workshop, but I assume this must be an individual task from here on out.

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    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

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