Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Student Spotlight - 2/23-2/27/15

GIS 4043/L Introduction to GIS
Amber Bloechle, Instructor

Congratulations to Lindsay Golden for being selected as this week's student spotlight!  Check out Lindsay's blog here - Lindsay's GIS Journey .  Lindsay currently lives in Destin, Florida, and enjoys spending time outdoors, with wildlife and maps.  She holds a BS degree in biology and is looking to combine her degree and interests into a position in the professional world.  Lindsay you have come to the right place with GIS Online!  Welcome to this week's coveted spotlight.  The time spent here is dry and warm and cozy.  See all that sunshine in your photo?  Can you share with us here?  We are waterlogged and so cold this week.

Week 5 - Projections Part 1

This week's lesson provides introductory information about geodetic datums, ellipsoids, geoids, and common coordinate systems. The global (spherical) coordinate system, based on latitude and longitude, is presented along with several of the more important projected coordinate systems such as the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), Albers Equal-area, Lambert Conformal Conic, and State Plane Coordinate Systems. Tissot's indicatrix and its use for understanding the distortion associated with various map projections is also introduced. You should be able to use the information in this week's lecture to help select an appropriate map projection for a particular GIS project.

Why was Lindsay selected? 
Deidra and I always look forward to Lindsay's maps. She's done a great job consistently this semester. We are pleased to highlight her as a spotlight this week with her "Projections Part 1 Comparison Map"

We really like how she used primary colors to communicate counties and area measurements among the three different map projections. Additionally, the grey/white background contrast really makes the important info pop. The table makes that info easy to verify and smooth/curved data frames add a nice touch. She owned it... It's Golden!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Student Spotlight 2/16-2/20

GIS 3015/L Cartographic Skills
Penelope Mitchell, Instructor

Congratulations to Alicia Lindbom for being selected as this week's student spotlight!  Check out Alicia's blog here - Making Maps.  Alicia is a returning adult learner currently completing the GIS Online Graduate Certificate program. She has been an environmental educator and program coordinator for the past 7 years, as well as a scientific illustrator on a recent Mesa College laboratory manual.   Upon completion of the certificate, Alicia hopes that the new GIS skills paired with her outreach experience will move her into a higher level science education/research paired with field work.  Alicia is the wife of a Navy helicopter pilot, currently stationed in the Milton/Pensacola, FL area. She loves spending time outside in all weather and conditions and enjoys learning the natural history of any area she finds herself in.  Welcome to the spotlight Alicia - it's a great place to visit!  Stay warm!

Typography Lab

The typography lab tasked students with labeling a portion of the Florida Keys. That may sound pretty easy, but labeling a small island chain in accordance with typographic guidelines is anything but that! This lab was all about the little details. Students used graphic design software to get the job done.

Here's a short list of the Student Learning Outcomes for the Laboratory Section.  

  • Demonstrate general typographic guidelines when making a map
  • Choose appropriate type families, type size, type style
  • Employ proper type place for different feature types (point, line, area)
  • Organize map elements to achieve balanced final map layout
  • Demonstrate competency with CorelDraw
  • Summarize and present lab activities and objectives

Why was Alicia selected? Alicia’s map makes this lab look easy! She’s done a great job applying the cartographic design principles from module 3 and typographic principles from this module! All point and areal features are labeled in accordance with typographic guidelines; the island chain did not provide much room for labels so Alicia appropriately used leader lines to connect labels with their associated feature. She used two type families for her map, choosing an easy to read sans serif font for the majority of the labels and thematically stylized water feature labels by using a cyan color, italics, and fitting text on a path. The symbols chosen for point features are easy to interpret and do not overpower the map. The actual island landmass is sized as large as it can be on the page to make for easy viewing. A drop shadow was employed around the landmass to make it stand out against the background. The overall map color scheme allows for intuitive interpretation and is easy on the eyes. The remaining map elements were thoughtfully balanced within the remaining space of the map page. Alicia is also a superstar on the discussion boards and is a regular at the weekly Elluminate sessions. Way to go Alicia!

Friday, February 13, 2015

GIS Internship - Let's get to work!

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.

Steve Hafner (Student blog)

Steve is currently enrolled in GIS Internship and has completed many of the certificate courses.  He will wrap up the certificate in December of 2015.   Steve previously earned his undergraduate degree from UWF in Marine Biology.  In addition to mastering GIS, Steve works full time at the Elbow Room in Pensacola.  If you haven't been there - you are definitely missing out!

Internship Background - Steve is currently working with the Marine Resources Division of Escambia County under the leadership of Shelly Martin and Robert Turpin.  Steve will spend his time with a mixture of office mapping and in the field recording seagrass habitat data.  In the end, Steve will be working with the team to create a interactive habitat map.  GIS Online and UWF's Environmental Science Department have sent many interns to work with Escambia County.  It's a great place to work and we appreciate their commitment to our program.

Welcome to the spotlight Steve.  It's pretty cold here in Pensacola today - perhaps this will warm up your weekend!
Heart-shaped (cordiform) map projection by French cartographer Oronce Finé, found in Recens et integra orbis descriptio (Recent and complete description of the world), published in 1536.  Happy almost Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bonus Spotlight Friday - GIS Internship

GIS4944/5945, GIS Internship, Instructor, Mrs. Leah Lewis, GISP

GIS Internship - Let's get to work!


The following student was chosen to highlight their current GIS internship experience.

Rena Lautzenheiser (Student blog)

Rena is in her final semester of the certificate program.  She is very interested in the using GIS for real estate and utilities along with all of the online applications.  Rena also works as a Montesorri teacher in Pensacola.  When not behind the computer or in front of the classroom, Rena's life revolves around family and two rescues (a senior Catahoula/lab mix and a 10-month old Australian cattle dog/German Shepherd/Lab/pit/keeshond (All-American mutt) which I hope to train for therapy work).  Rena you are a shining example of our student body and we welcome you to the spotlight!  We hope it's warm, because it's cold outside!  PS.  GIS Online loves dogs too - we have a puppy working in the office today.

Internship Background - Rena is currently interning with the West Florida Regional Planning Council under the supervision of Jessica Paul, GISP.  Rena is working on a variety of projects from online map development, spatial database record maintenance, spatial analysis, and even the fun stuff like planning for GIS Day.

Looking for an intern or partnership with UWF and GIS Online, please contact Leah Lewis at to find out how our students can help you!  

Student Spotlight 2/3-2/6/2015

GIS 3015/L Cartographic Skills
Penelope Mitchell, Instructor

Congratulations to Brittany Burdelsky for being selected as this week's student spotlight!  Check out Brittany's blog here - There and Back with GIS.  Brittany lives in Colorado and works as a barista and volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Brittney completed her BS (biology) and MA (anthropology) here in Florida and hopes that the certificate courses at UWF will help to switch gears from biological anthropology to bioarch/archaeology.  Brittany - welcome back to Florida (even if it's online)!  We welcome you to the spotlight and just like you, we also love everything about coffee, GIS and cats!!

Cartographic Design Lab

The Cartographic Design lab was deceptively tough! Students were provided with data and were instructed to create a carefully crafted map based upon Gestalt’s Principles of perceptual organization, focusing mainly on Visual Hierarchy, Contrast, Figure-Ground, and Map Balance. The mapped area of interest was Washington D.C., which is a difficult shape to map, the other challenge was the numerous layers to sort through and best present. I was impressed how students rose to challenge, and in turn I saw some great cartographic style begin to shine through, needless to say picking a spotlight was not easy! Well done everyone!

Here's a short list of the Student Learning Outcomes for the Laboratory Section.  
  • Conceptualize and create maps according to need of end user
  • Establish and implement visual hierarchy to emphasize important map features
  • Apply contrast to map features to imply their relative importance
  • Employ figure ground to make important map features appear closer to the end user
  • Achieve map balance with the harmonious organization of map elements and empty space
  • Symbolize layers by category
  • Create an inset map and establish an extent indicator

Why was Brittany selected? Brittany did a great job of sorting through the data and creating a well organized map. The objective of the map was to communicate school locations and type in Ward 7 of Washington D.C. Brittany has done a great job implementing visual hierarchy so that the schools are the first thing that pop out to the map user. She also has a thoughtfully chosen and implemented color scheme that allows background information to be seen but not overpower, thus again pulling the eyes to the schools. The correct level of detail is provided for each region of the map. In Ward 7, she included finer detail with the DC Streets layer, as she moved 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. Contrast and figure ground is implemented by making Ward 7 the lightest shade in the map, thus appearing closer to the reader. 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. Stellar job Brittany!!!! Gestalt is proud of you :)