Monday, October 24, 2011

Ball State University Libraries Creates Custom GIS Maps

Ball State University Libraries Offer Customized GIS Mapping

By Angela Gibson, GIS Specialist

Among all the unique services that the University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) offers, customized map creation that meets specified scale, cartographic, and dataset requirements is one that is particularly appreciated by students and faculty. The GRMC regularly receives requests from students, faculty, staff, and community members to produce GIS maps using both public and personal datasets. The format for this data is Excel databases, addresses, GPS points, historic maps, Google KML files, and sometimes hand-drawn illustrations.

In the past year, the GRMC has provided valuable assistance in the form of customized GIS maps to grant proposals such as a Promise Neighborhood grant being sought by the Department of Elementary Education, and an Office of Institutional Diversity grant that used customized GIS mapping to relocate Indy’s historic Washington Street Park, which was the site of the first Negro League Baseball game and home of the Indianapolis ABC’s ball team.

The GRMC GIS Specialist has also worked annually with personnel to produce customized school district maps showing Indiana Advanced Placement Exam Score data released by the Indiana Department of Education. These maps have been posted at the Indiana Statehouse and used by the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education in an effort to identify specific schools districts that may need extra assistance and to showcase districts that are excelling.

Both students and local community members request various GIS maps for class projects and inclusion into research papers. For example, graduate students in the Department of Biology have requested to have GPS data of water sampling points geocoded onto various different map backgrounds to highlight the relation of their sites to urban, residential, and rural land-use types, and to identify the specific watershed that contains each individual site.

Other customers have requested customized maps of a more recreational nature, such as maps that show the bathymetric contours of local fishing sites like Prairie Creek Reservoir and Summit Lake State Park, and elevation maps of favorite hunting and hiking areas.

For more information about having a GIS map created with your data, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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