Lab Activities

Public sharing of knowledge and #impostersyndrome are often quite incompatible.  It’s one thing to share knowledge in a friendly community of peers like NACIS, or babble away in an obscure journal somewhere.  It’s entirely another to make public one’s teaching tools.  Here, I give it a go.

Constructive feedback is certainly appreciated.  Trolls will be pushed out the airlock.  I strive to consistently improve my teaching, so if you’ve thoughts on how this fits into the industry or your own teaching/learning experience, I’m happy to listen.

Lab: The Compilation Process – this lab grew out of an activity from the companion activities designed for Borden Dent’s Cartography text.  The compilation process is often skipped over in the digital age, with students flinging data at the screen with no real plan, and calling it done once all the pieces are there.  The intent is to be mindful about page layout and visual hierarchy, similar to the paper compilation sketches that many of us still do before starting a project.

Lab: Projections for Cartography – a work in progress.  The attempt here is to help students think about projections not just in terms of something tedious they have to do before geoprocessing, but also as a component of the design process.  I ranted about this in an earlier post.

Lab: Uff da!  Labeling Minnesota – this lab is in two parts.  Way back in the way back, I used to do it all in one go, and students were immeasurably stressed out by it.  Split it probably 6 or 7 years ago at the suggestion of  @colorbrewer – I and my students thank you for that.

Lab: Generalization – this is part one of another two-parter.  The goal here is to get students thinking about appropriate levels of generalization for the scale of the map, rather than just chucking in any old data.  The multiple scales of data over at Natural Earth make this a much easier process than manual generalization.

Lab: Symbolization – adding symbols to the generalized maps.  Using the map developed in the Generalization lab, add symbols to the large scale map.  Students are encouraged to develop a theme, such as tourism, history, etc., and continue the theme of generalization by thinning out features for clearer representation, and symbolizing to build on the theme.

Lab: Color and Mood, with Proportional Symbols – exploring color and meaning, with some statistical mapping.  This lab used to use some wine production data from Europe, but I switched it up about a year ago to refugee data, and the results were amazing.  Students make some impactful maps that tell powerful stories.

Lab: Choroplethora – exploring the choropleth technique, in small multiples so we can play with the classification methods.  A splash of color to set the mood, and we can look at how these tweaks change the way we view the data.