Monday, May 04, 2009

Ball State University Students Learning the Art of Cartography

Ball State University Students Learning the Art of Cartography

Ball State University students in Geography 340, Cartography and Visualization of Spatial Data, have been working on final map projects for the class. Geography 340 offers an “introduction to cartographic methods for the visualization and analysis of geographic phenomena,” according to the undergraduate course catalog. In the class “principles of design are stressed with particular emphasis on methods for symbolizing point, line, and area elements and the principles and use of color in cartography.” Students are expected to produce publication-quality maps for completion of the course.

Students are required to take Geography 240, Map Reading and Graphics, as a prerequisite for the cartography course. This class offers an introduction to map design, construction, and analysis. Both courses are taught by Dr. Elizabeth Vaughan, Assistant Professor of Geography. Dr. Vaughan has been teaching at Ball State University since 2005.

Students created their map projects using Adobe Illustrator software. Some of the maps produced described tornado activity in Oklahoma, nationally, and globally. The use of public transportation across the United States, tourism and traffic in China, U.S. energy use, obesity and related illnesses, and past Heisman trophy winners were all mapped by the student cartographers.

Maps shown include maps comparing the location of Super Fund projects and cancer rates, U.S. wildfires, hurricane activity, Supreme Court Justices home states and political affiliations, the economic decline of Muncie, Indiana, and tracking the popularity of tennis worldwide as related to French colonialism.

For more information about these maps or the geography courses, please contact the Department of Geography at 765/285-1776.

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