Maps and Geovisulaization: Exploring History and GIS

Hi everyone! My name is Andrew Loesch and I am a Environmental Studies and Geography double major at the university. As of now, I have plans to add an Archaeology minor, classes permitting next year. I am strongly considering looking to continue my education in Geographic Information Systems after graduating from the University of Richmond. Although I added the class to my schedule because it looked like an interesting course, I did so with several academic goals in mind. Although I have some experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through other courses and the S4 internship, I feel as if I could stand to learn a lot more about GIS. In particular, I am hoping that this course will introduce me to new GIS related technologies, as I am mainly familiar with only a few programs. Further, I hope that this course will help me expand my existing skill set with the programs I am familiar with. I am hoping to be introduced to new tools and methods of improving map visualization quality.

As I am very comfortable with the ArcGIS suite, I hope to learn more about web-based maps and other related technologies in this course. I am particularly interested in learning how to apply geographic information systems technologies to environmental issues. For example, I would like to improve my ability to measure the actual and potential impacts of deforestation and other environmental issues using other geographic information technologies. In addition, I would like to greatly improve my ability to locate data sources relevant to GIS projects. Although I am comfortable with the programs necessary to produce maps, I am not quite as comfortable tracking down data to use to produce these maps. I am familiar with a limited number of places to search for data, likely limiting my ability to produce the best maps I am able to.  Learning how to use other digital cartography tools will diversify my map-making abilities, allowing for a greater range of map types for different usages.

I also have a great interest in improving my web-mapping abilities. Creating web-based applications, I feel, will be an indispensible skill moving into further studies or the working world. After browsing through the syllabus, I am also excited to learn about the history of cartography. Although it is not something I would like to study for a living, I quite enjoy applied history. Adding a historical perspective augments studies, highlighting progress and the general path towards modern improvements. The diversity of the class, as well as the enthusiasm of the professors, have me really excited for this class!

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