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Sample Student Mapping Projects

Wondering how to use maps in your classes? Here are a number of examples of student and class projects using a variety of mapping tools, most of them on the easy end of the mapping spectrum.

  1. Students at Colby College have created the Atlas of Maine as part of their introductory GIS course.
  2. Students at Trinity College have created several Google mash-ups for their course on "Invisible Cities." Another project at Trinity College led to the creation of Smart Choices for school choice and the On The Line project, a public history web-book which studies "How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs."
  3. Students at Furman University are using the platform Ushahidi to create a crowd-sourced map of Hurricane Katrina commemorations.
  4. Amherst College has started Cityscapes, an online discovery tool for urban and cultural studies.
  5. Introduction to German Literature and Culture. Dr. Eric Klaus (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) assigns students in this German Studies course a Google Earth-based project focused on understanding the German people and language in relation to their physical landscape. Here is an example project file created by one student in 2009 to aggregate artistic works linked to the Rhine River. I've included Eric's first iteration of the assignment instructions and a subsequent revision based on a few lessons learned.
  6. Textual geographies: Spanish Travel Narratives. Eduardo Lage-Otero (Trinity College) Asks his students to analyze and write about a series of excerpts from various adventure books and short stories from the Spanish‐speaking world to study the relationship between fictional characters and the very real geographical and social worlds they inhabit. Using online mapping tools (Google Earth/Google Maps) and other online resources  students develop a deeper understanding of the different micro‐worlds created by each story.
  7. Campus Mapping at Smith College. Jon Caris(Smith College)  facilitates a number of Google Earth and Google Maps (as well as GIS) projects on campus. This website lends context to some of these projects. Jon also works with faculty at Smith College to facilitate a student inquiry for incoming freshman. In this context, he uses Google Earth  to help students interpret the environment of Northampton environment, past and present. As part of a Psychology of Space project, Jon worked with student, Stephanie Keep (02), and faculty member Dr. Peter DeVilliers to map perceptions of student safety on campus.
  8. Food Mapping at Middlebury College - William Hegman oversees a mapping project first initiated by Middlebury undergraduates in the Environmental Studies Program to help people visualize connections to their food system in a fun and compelling way. Here is an example of the work.
  9. RJI Collaborative Mapping Portal - Justin Grigg at Alfred University heads up the Rural Justice Institute at Alfred University, which is developing the Collaborative Mapping Portal to encourage agencies in surrounding communities to ‘think spatially’. Justin coordinated a earlier project to create a 3-dimensional model of the campus using Google Earth and Sketchup.
  10. Bionic Teaching - Tom Woodward (formerly University of Richmond) uses Google Maps to create a classroom visualization based on the novel Whirligig by Bob Fleischman
  11. Writing Nature: Digital Storytelling - Prof. Betsy Bolton (Swarthmore College) has students use Google Maps embedded within blogs to share their poems and related written reflections. This work continued in a later course, Natural History and Imagination.
  12. Spatial Visualization - Dr. Jeff Howarth (Middlebury College) uses a variety of applications to help students develop skills in information design and spatial reasoning.
  13. Researching Hip-Hop in the Bronx - Dr. Steve Pond (Cornell U). This mapping project was created by students enrolled in Music 2501 "Researching Hip Hop" during the fall 2009 semester. The students examined original party and event flyers preserved in Cornell University's Hip Hop Collection to create a geographical overview of the roots of hip hop culture in the Bronx.  Due to copyright restrictions, only a representative sampling of the project is publicly accessible at this time.
  14. Mapwalk for Urban History - Dr. Lloyd Benson and Mike Winiski (Furman University) use mobile technologies and Google Maps to include students in virtual tours of urban areas and to help them understand how humans interact with, and are influenced by, their built environment.  The pedagogical value of this practice can be discerned from these student reactions.
  15. Historical Maps - Alex Chaucer (Skidmore College) is using Google Maps to distribute historical aerial photographs as image files online.
  16. San Antonio College has a page of Web Mapping Modules which illustrate how to "bring GIS to the humanities."


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