GIS workshop

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Earlier in the semester, I attended a day-long Intro to GIS workshop at Baruch College. The session was held in Baruch’s GIS Lab and run by Frank Donnelly, Baruch’s geospatial data librarian. As a total novice to the world (heh) of geographic information systems, I found the workshop enormously useful, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in mapping, $30, and a Friday* to spare. You do need to bring a laptop, but the whole program is done with QGIS, an open-source alternative to the notoriously expensive ArcGIS software. And in the event that all you have is an interest in mapping, the tutorial and data files used in the course are all available for download on Baruch’s website. (I personally enjoyed being there in person for live troubleshooting but YMMV.) I know it is too late for this to be useful to any of you in the current semester, but there were three sessions held this fall and I am sure there will be more in the spring.
Per Baruch’s website, the workshop objectives are as follows:

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Participants will:

  • 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0
  • Add data to GIS software and navigate a GIS interface
  • Perform basic geoprocessing operations for preparing vector GIS data
  • Convert text-based data to a GIS data format
  • Conduct geographic analyses using standard GIS tools and vector data
  • Create thematic maps using the principles of map projections, data classification, symbolization, and cartographic design
  • Locate GIS data on the web and consider the merits of different data sources
  • Demonstrate competency with a specific GIS package (open source QGIS)
  • Identify other GIS topics (tools and techniques for analysis), data formats (raster, vector), and software (open source and ArcGIS) to pursue for future study

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 I can confirm that we did all of these things! We created this beaut, which I learned is called a choropleth map, showing voter participation by state in the 2012 general election:


Although I ended up using R
and Stata to produce the maps related to my data project, this workshop provided me with an introduction to language and resources that were useful to me in working on my data set. I learned about rasters (geo-referenced images of space), vectors (abstractions of space; includes points, lines, polygons), where to find the map data I was looking for (I got it here), and which files and formats would be most appropriate for the kind of map I wanted to build (shapefiles–it’s almost always shapefiles).  
And, seeing as I neglected to post this back when I was actually working on it, now seems as good a time as any to share one of the maps I made back in November. This was was created using Stata (although I also made one using R, because I am a Fun Person):

It may not be as pretty as the map we made in the workshop, and for some reason the key is impossible to read in this particular venue, but I am proud of it all the same!

*Not all Fridays
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  • Welcome to Digital Praxis 2016-2017

    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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