Friday, February 6, 2015

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 :)

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