This Interdisciplinary (ID) course is an introduction to the fundamentals of Geospatial Technology, including Geographic Information Science (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), cartography, remote sensing, and spatial analysis through a series of hands-on computer-based exercises. Participants will learn how to utilize geospatial technology to address social and environmental issues.
One assignment for this course gave me the opportunity to learn how to create an online map using ArcGIS as well as explore ArcGIS basemaps and thematic layers, and ultimately create a map package.
This assignment gave me new insight into how I can use ArcGIS to view collections of maps and data available on the internet and how I can create new ones of my own to explore subjects that interest me. Navigating online mapping was fairly intuitive—a gift of intelligent people and technology and this lesson gave me confidence that even if I had a question or ran into a problem, that I would be able to get support and answers from ArcGIS online. This exercise was definitely a simplified example, but it allowed me to see what is possible without being overwhelming. I know that I could recreate what I learned going forward, but without being prompted by a step-by-step process. In fact, I would probably like to try creating a more detailed geographic map next.
This class has been a great introduction to Geospatial Technology and has provided me with a foundation of the core fundamental concepts of geographic information systems (GIS). It has allowed me to look at cartography in a whole new way and with a much broader perspective. It is so fascinating to reflect on the first maps I looked at as a child and to see how far the technology has pushed the art and science of geography. This course guided me in how to both visualize the usefulness of a map as well interpret the data of one. I also learned quite a bit about global positioning systems (GPS), that I had no prior knowledge of (other than the type inside modes of transportation) and a deeper understanding of the importance of this technology and how it will continue to benefit humankind. I feel confident looking forward at a bright future in the Geographic and GIS fields where I can utilize geospatial technologies and tools to collect data, analyze that data, present what I find in an articulate and visual manner and ultimately to be a part of group of broad thinking problem solvers.
I think that Esri (the developers of ArcGIS) has begun focusing on web GIS and online mapping because their technology can reach a much larger audience with an online presence. Also, by making this spatial data and analytical mapping available on the world wide web, it allows more people and organizations to work together and collaborate on both local and global issues.