Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GIS 4048 – GIS Applications - Student Spotlight

Module 2: Lahars

The first GIS application investigated in GIS 4048 is Natural Hazard planning and mitigation.  For the lahars lab, students utilized DEMs and the Hydrology toolset found within the Spatial Analyst extension to determine potential drainage flow around Mt.Hood in a potential volcanic event.  After streambeds  were determined, students overlaid census data to determine the at risk population.  Lastly, the data was compiled as a cartographically polished map to effectively communicate the information.

This spotlight goes to Erin Padgett! Erin correctly completed the DEM analysis to generate streams and adjacent low lying hazardous areas.  Although the analysis workflow was tricky, presenting the information was equally as difficult.  Erin did an excellent job differentiating map elements and information to allow for quick data acquisition and interpretation.  The excellence is in the map’s simplicity.  The underlying DEM imagery was phased out for a neutral background a few shades lighter than the symbology for the hazard areas which really promoted the map’s content. The different label styles are simple, but very effective at communicating different features. Overall, this map’s generalized content enables quick acquisition of the hazard areas. Including DEM imagery in the map could also be relevant, but the trick is to use subtle symbology so the hazard areas are still easily visible.  See her blog post for more details about this assignment. Great job Erin!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer is here!

Summer is here and the GIS at UWF team has hit the ground running! 

Certificate program students have the option of enrolling in GIS Programming (GIS 4103/5103) and GIS Applications (GIS 4048/5100). Summer also marks the beginning of our graduate level certificate courses and a great time for all students to start thinking about internships. We are happy to report that we have an outstanding bunch of students registered and we can’t wait to share their hard work and growth through the student spotlights. You will begin seeing weekly spotlights starting next week. In addition to spotlights, we plan to also post MOOC updates for the next few weeks. It’s nice to be back blogging – we’ve missed you!

Today also marks the first day of our Introduction to GIS MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). There is still time to register if you are looking to refresh your GIS skills or simply find out what MOOC’s are all about. We welcome all current students, alumni and friends to "summer" with us!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

GIS6005- Communicating GIS - Student Spotlight

Module 6: Choropleth Maps

During week 6, students explored choropleth mapping. This is the most widely used type of thematic map for quantitative data. Choropleth maps are used for normalized data - in contrast to proportional symbol maps which are used for total counts. Choropleth maps are also one of the most complex type of maps to design. You have to make decisions on normalization, classification and color ramps, among other things. Different design decisions can result in a very different map for the same data, so more than ever it is important to be aware of your design process. 

We would like to specifically recognize Jeremy Mullins for his excellent cartographic work in this module and the class so far. In addition to his lab deliverables being professional and well organized, he has shown an eye for creativity and critical thinking. This makes Jeremy’s work stand out because good cartography is both an art and a science. For example, in the choropleth lab title choice for a population change map of Georgia draws the map readers in by providing a slightly-tongue-in-cheek, but geographically accurate, description of the maps’ purposes.

Jeremy’s blog post is also well written and shows the corresponding maps he has produced for each lab. 

Jeremy is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the GIS Certificate Program and we are so happy that he chose UWF! Keep up the great work Jeremy!

Friday, March 31, 2017

GIS 3015 – Cartographic Skills - Student Spotlight

Module 9: Flowline Mapping

Module 9 required students to undertake Flow Line Mapping. Flow maps utilize lines of varying width to depict the movement of phenomena between geographic locations. Students utilized Adobe Illustrator to create a distributive flow map to illustrate global immigration figures into the United States. Lab materials provided base maps produced in ArcMap, and left students with the task of rearranging continents and creating proportional flow lines and corresponding legends in accordance with design principles.

The spotlight this week goes to Rachel Gwin! Rachel’s flow line map stood out for its clear presentation of data. Her systematic map organization and inclusion of supplemental information information is the map’s selling point. Flow lines and U.S. immigration data stand out above all other map elements. The map’s design demonstrates a competency with Adobe Illustrator--the flow line styling and placement is subtle yet effective, the corresponding line and continental colors facilitates easy map interpretation. The choropleth legend has contiguous legend swatches in keeping with textbook choropleth legend design. The horizontal legend orientation is ideal for legend placement within available map space. The map elements are balanced throughout the page, with all objects being sized appropriately for easy viewing. Map information provides correct data sources, projection as well as other helpful information to aid in correct map interpretation. See Rachel's blog post for more details about this assignment. Excellent work Rachel!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Student and Professional GIS Competitions

The GIS industry is full of student and professional competition opportunities. Here are a few upcoming opportunities that we would like to share:
If you aren't sold on participating, here are just a few reasons why you should at least think about it.

If you know of another GIS competition, please email with details so was can feature it on our blog and Facebook pages.

Friday, March 3, 2017

GIS6005- Communicating GIS - Student Spotlight

Module 3: Typography

Communicating GIS is a course within our M.S. in Geographic Information Science  Administration (GIS) degree plan. This course begins with the basic theory of graphic design, cartography, and map production and distribution. Students then learn to communicate specific types of spatial and analytical information through maps, written and oral explanations, graphs, tables, charts, and interactive web mapping applications. 

During week 3 in GIS 6005- Communicating GIS, students learned about using effective type as part of effective map design. Well-designed and implemented type is a very important component of the professional appearance and clarity of maps. Therefore, a review of the basics of typography, as well as some widely used approaches to use type effectively to enhance maps was covered in this module.  The lab for the module had students experiment with different typographic styles and apply type choices within overall map design. 

We would like to specifically recognize Edward Walther for excellent typography work on the maps produced for module 3. We should also mention that in week 4 of Communicating GIS Edward led a discussion on the usage of color in Cartography, where he very effectively discussed the differences in categorially data types and color scheme usage within cartography.  

Edward has been a pleasure to have in the class.  Edward works as a project manager for the South Florida Water Management District specializing in water quality. Mr. Walther's previous work experience in Delaware had him developing suitability tools using GIS to explore alternatives for waste water. His education and experience has served him well in Communicating GIS this semester. In the final deliverable of the lab, students brought together the labeling of the cities, states and rivers of Mexico. Edward’s map provides a great example of effective typography for a variety of different map features and strong overall map presentation. 

Great work Edward!

Friday, February 24, 2017

GIS 3015 – Cartographic Skills - Student Spotlight

Module 4: Cartographic Design

Module 4’s lab was the culmination of cartographic design content.  Student’s learned about the Gestalt Principles of perceptual organization, focusing on the concepts of visual hierarchy, contrast, figure ground distinction, and map balance.  The assignment involved creating a map of schools in Ward 7 of Washington D.C. Design concepts were to be utilized to place Ward 7 schools at the top of the map’s hierarchy, while relegating base information, such as roads, to the background.

The spotlight this week goes to Billy Heiden! There were many aesthetically pleasing maps to choose from, however, Billy’s attention to design concept details set his map apart from the rest. Contrast and figure ground is implemented by making Ward 7 the lightest shade in the map, thus appearing closer to the reader and establishing the desired visual hierarchy. The color scheme allows background information to be seen but not overpower, again pulling the eyes to Ward 7 and the schools. The correct level of detail is provided for each region of the map.  In Ward 7, he included finer detail with the DC Streets layer, moving out to the greater D.C. area, only primary transportation routes are included so as not to pull the eye away from Ward 7 and overcrowd the map with superfluous information. Intuitive symbology is applied so that the legend only needs to contain the School layer.   The extent of the map is clearly indicated in the Locator Inset.  Map Balance is achieved by carefully taking advantage of empty map space, ensuring not to bunch elements together or place them in too small of an area. See Billy's blog post for more details about this assignment. Great work Billy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day from GIS Online @ UWF

Make a connection with GIS and celebrate Valentine's Day the Geographer's way! Here is a list of great "mappy" resources to make your Valentine's day memorable.

Friday, February 10, 2017

GIS 4043L – Introduction to GIS Lab - Student Spotlight

Lab 2: Own Your Map!

The "Own Your Map" Lab encourages students to think creatively when designing their maps. Setting all the essential map elements are key, but creating a map that looks nice and is geared toward your specific audience (the public, customers, etc.) can be challenging.

The spotlight this week is Chelsea Randall! Chelsea's map is well organized, easy to read, and all of the map elements are proportional to each other. None of the map elements are distracting (i.e. North arrow to large, UWF logo awkwardly placed, or city names overlapping roads). Her blog post does an excellent job of discussing the assignment. Great job, Chelsea!

Friday, February 3, 2017

GIS 3015 – Cartographic Skills - Student Spotlight

Module 2: Introduction to CartoGraphic Design with Adobe Illustrator

Module 2’s lab assignment reinforced introductory map design concepts learned in the previous week by allowing students to draft their first map of the class.  The assignment involved creating a basic map of Florida for a children’s encyclopedia.  However, the difficulty of the task  was related to learning and using graphic design software Adobe Illustrator to leverage the map content generated by ArcMap to create a publishable quality end product.

The spotlight this week is Daniella Sabillon! Daniella nailed this assignment by creating a clear and crisp map of Florida using both ArcMap and Adobe Illustrator.  She correctly clipped and displayed Florida’s surface water by category with intuitive color choices.  Daniella effectively ran the provided script in Ai to replace all ArcMap generated city symbols.  Three state images were added to the map, and a drop shadow was utilized to help the content stand apart from the page.  Map space is effectively utilized and the user friendly scale bar promotes quick and easy data acquisition.  Lastly, Daniella’s blog post does an exceptional job introducing the assignment and discussing key skills and processes used to create her map!  Nicely done Daniella!!