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Cartography, the art of creating maps, deals with interpreted data. A cartographer, or map-maker creates a visual hierarchy when he or she decides how features appear on a map to illustrate data. Map making can be both subjective or objective-but its goal is always the visualizing of data with some spatial dimension.
GIS is a model of such data in a computer environment. Using GIS, we can simplify, focus or generalize information in maps. It is possible to build layers into the maps until they become "thick" with data. With new map making platforms that can include multimedia and annotation, the map has become a storytelling tool.
In this module, you, the students, will be in charge of investigations. The materials here will introduce you to some basic cartography, via GIS platforms that can quickly get you started making digital maps.
Besides the extensive use of maps in day to day life, maps are very important in the academic world. Here is a sample of fields in which geospatial technologies can be used:
Environmental sciences, Archaeology, Social sciences, Law enforcement, Military, Epidemiology, Urban planning, Marketing, Literature, History, Classics, Chemistry, Mathematics, etc.
Things to do with GIS:
KML: Keyhole Markup Language
KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth. KML uses a tag-based structure with nested elements and attributes and is based on the XML standard. All tags are case-sensitive and must appear exactly as they are listed in the KML Reference. The Reference indicates which tags are optional. Within a given element, tags must appear in the order shown in the Reference.
Scale bar: a graphical device used to represent map scale
North arrow: is a graphical device on a map used to show the orientation of the map
Legend: graphical device found on a map that explains the meaning of symbols and colors found on a map.
A key word to GIS technology is Geography – this means that some portion of a map's data is spatial (referenced to locations).
Another type of data on digital maps is "attribute data." Attribute data gives additional information about each spatial feature.
Both geographic and attribute data can be expressed in tables, such as a CSV table in Microsoft Excel.