Geography Students Map Urban Development
Students from Geography 150 classes at Ball State University researched urban development using maps from the GIS Research and Map Collection. Over 90 students visited the GRMC for a class assignment called “Cities @ Work.” The students used nearly 2,000 maps to complete their assignment. The assignment was created by Carol Shears, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, with assistance from Melissa Gentry of the GRMC.
Each student chose an American city and analyzed maps to determine how the city has grown. The students use historic maps, modern street maps, bird’s-eye-view maps, aerial photography, and topographic maps from the Map Collection to track each city’s urban development. Students analyzed industrialization, militarization, and housing starts and reviewed how the interstate highway system affected change to the city’s landscape.
Professor Shears urged students to take time to study the U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps from the GRMC in particular. “It has often been said that a single…topographic map shows at least a million pieces of information,” according to Shears. The GRMC has a large collection of topographic maps from the U.S.G.S. for all fifty states. Topographic maps from around the world—nearly every country—are also available.
For more information about creating class assignments using maps, please contact the staff of the GRMC at 765/285-1097.