Geovisualization / GIS for Environmental Sciences

 Nolli Map of Rome. Image Source: Digitized and remastered by University of Oregon.  (
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Course Description:

This course introduces students to graphically represent geographic space. Most importantly, the course will teach students to think critically about the mapping process. Throughout the course we will examine a myriad of maps. We will evaluate the evolution of mapping as well as deconstruct the ways maps mean. Using the city of Pamplona and its surrounding environment as our study area, students will develop their observation senses in the field and learn how to translate their knowledge of the region with graphic representations of spatial relationships – a map. We will also map different types of information in places around the globe (from California, Texas, Mexico, to Spain and the UK). In so doing, students will work both by hand and digitally.  Students will primarily engage Geographic Information Systems (GIS), but will also learn to draw diagrams by hand. Students will learn how to analyze data in ArcGIS as well as theories of map representation. As their skills develop, students will be tasked with analytical mapping exercises. They will use ArcGIS to evaluate social and ecological processes as they relate to urban environments. Some of the topics to be explored throughout the course: geocoding, map representation, diagraming, making maps accessible online (Mapbox Studio),  Neogeography (Google Earth), georeferencing, map projections, making a map legible, vegetation analysis, land use mapping, flood modeling, topography, and 3D analysis (ArcScene).

Week 1: Introductions

Wednesday – Lecture 1: Introduction to GIS and Mapping | John Snow History Channel                                                         

Wednesday – Lab 1:  Make a simple map | Video Tutorial for a Simple Map |                                         

Wednesday – Lecture 2: Making Mental Maps | Mapping Oakland Project / Paper | The City in Your Head 

Thursday – Lab 2 – Ten Most Meaningful Places in the city you're from (Geocoding) ​| Video Tutorial Geocoding

Thursday – Lecture 3: Projections | Why are we changing maps? | Understanding Projections | Peter Dana: Map ProjectionsMercator Puzzle | The True Size | Sagan's Eratosthenes | Japanese Design Map​ | Online Lecture about ProjectionsLongitude Movie

Friday – No Class


Week 2: Representations

Wednesday – Lab 3 – Texas vs. Alaska | Video Tutorial Projections

Wednesday - Lecture 4: Geovisualization / Bad Maps | Racial Dot Map | Gangs and Cup Cakes | Bostonography | Immigrant America | NOLA Sound

Thursday – Lab 4 : Pamplonography | Data | (Introduce tree assignment)(Metadata)  Video Tutorial Creating Shapefiles | Video Tutorial Editing Shapefile | Mapbox Tutorial

Thursday – Field – Mapping Pamplona’s Street Trees | NYC Street Tree Map | Arboles de Pamplona | (Meet in Plaza del Castillo) | Finish mapping all trees by Wednesday morning class!!!

Friday - Field – Observing and Recording through sketching I: Plans and Sections


Week 3: Data Management

Wednesday – Lab 5: Mapping Pamplona’s Street Trees | Data | Tree MapsVideo Tutorial Editing Attributes | Join Excel FileSpatial Join | Select by Attributes 

Wednesday – Lecture 5: GIS Information | Lecture 6: The Neogeographic Approach | Atlas of Design | NYPL Map Warper

Thursday – Lab 6: NeoGeographic Approach | ESRI Story MapsExport Layer to KML/KMZ | KML/KMZ in Google Earth | Mapbox | Video Tutorial Georeferencing | Monroe Work Today (Lynching Map) |

Thursday - Lecture 7: The Deeper Meanings of Maps  | Urban Memories | Living History: The John Feathers Map Collection  | Hate Map | Old NYC - Photo Maps |

Friday – Field – Observing and Recording through sketching II: Sketching Buildings


Week 4: Spatial Analysis

Wednesday – Lab 7: Austin, TX – Land Use Change | Topographic Map Explorer​ | Video Tutorial Georeferencing Images

Wednesday – Lecture 8: Diagramming | 100 Diagrams that Changed the World | Historical Charter of Barcelona

Thursday – Lab 8: John Snow | Data | Video Tutorial Snow

Thursday - Lecture 9: Remote Sensing 

Friday – Field – Observing and Recording through sketching III: Figure Grounds and Axons | City Network Diagrams | Nolli Map Overview | Rome Interactive Nolli Map

Week 5: Environmental Analysis (Imagery)

Wednesday – Lab 9: Vegetation Analysis (NDVI) | Video Tutorial NDVI (Raster Calculator) | Video Tutorial NDVI (Imagery Analysis)How is NDVI Computed?

Wednesday – Lecture 10: Image Classification | NASA LandSat Science

Thursday – Lab 10: Image Classification | Video Tutorial Supervised Image Classification

Thursday - Lecture 11: Topographic Maps | Lidar | Navarra online DEM / Lecture 12: Mapping Environmental Change | Audubon​ | | Bird Migration | NOLA Flooding Video

Friday – Field – Observing and Recording through sketching IV: Sketching Cityscapes


Week 6: Environmental Analysis (Topography)

Wednesday – Lab 11: DEM, TIN, and Viewshed Analysis | Data-Mexico CityData-YosemiteData-Pamplona | Video Tutorial Raster > Tin | Video Tutorial Contours | Video Tutorial Slope | Video Tutorial Viewshed

Wednesday Afternoon - Book Discussion/ Exam Review | Practice Map to Critique | Practice Maps to Critique

Thursday Morning – Lab 12: New Orleans (Flood Modeling) | Data | Flood Modeling

Thursday Afternoon – Exam!!! (Portfolios Due, Sketchbooks Due!!!)


ESRI Story Maps

Map Box

Zee Maps




How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

Rethinking Maps edited by Dodge, Kitchen, and Perkins

The Map That Changed the World, by Simon Winchester

The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford

Mental Maps by Peter Gould and Rodney White

Maps & Civilization by Norman J.W. Thrower

Longitude by Dava Sobel

Rethinking the Power of Maps by Denis Wood

A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton

You Are Here by Katherine Harmon

How Maps Work by Alan McEachren

Infinite City by Rebecca Solnit (SF, NOLA, NYC)

Cartographies of Time by Daniel Rosenberg

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden


USGS Earth Explorer

USGS National Map Viewer (DEMS)

NASA Earth Observations

NASA Socioeconomic Data and Application Center

Open Street Map

Open Topography

Integrated Populations and Environmental Data

UNEP Environmental Data Explorer

Stanford's Data Library

Texas Natural Resources Information Systems

SF Bay Area Dems

Navarra Shapefiles

National Park Service

ESRI Open Data
Topographic Map Explorer |

Mapping Latin America

History of the London Tube

radical cartography

Educational Attainment in America

Mapping Immigrant America

Food: An Atlas

Heat Sensitive Map Changes with the Weather

Billionaire Bay

Mexico City 1524

UT Austin - Benson Library

UT Austin PCL Online Map Library

NYC Street Trees

Urban Memories

Topographic Map Explorer

Living History: The John Feathers Map Collection (Short Film)

Mapping the Lasting Effects of Redlining

Migration and Restaurants on Roosevelt Blvd.

BART Traffic Flow

Mapping Tweets

US Immigration over 200 yrs

Italian Languages and Dialects

GPS Maps of Cats

Informal Buses in Capetown

Detroit's Growth Patterns

The True Size

Map of White Supremacy: MOB Violence

Oakland Crime Spotting

Hate Map

Plat of Zion

Library of Congress Map Collection

Mexico City Economic Inequality Drone Images

Global Shipping

Map of Every Pub in the UK

Columbus, OH Taco Truck Map

Historical Charter of Barcelona

States Mentioned in Country Music

NYPL Map Warper

Atlas of Design

PIN Interest Great Maps

Mental Maps from New York Magazine (December, 1977).
USGS Earth Explorer

© Robert Lemon /

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