Friday, January 10, 2014

Showcase: World Regional Geography Map Projects

The Fall 2013 semester marked another successful cycle of Geographic Information Systems Projects (GIS) at the University of Montevallo. In GEOG 231 World Regional Geography with Virginia Ochoa-Winemiller, students explored issues like immigration, wage earnings according to gender, education attainment, and economic growth in the wake of Disney World. The groups were instructed to identify several indicators and represent social changes over time via Google Fusion Tables. Here's a sample list of projects:  
In one of my favorite projects, Emma Schlesinger, Maggie Thompson, Lauren Davis, and Shyanne Erickson discovered that even though legislation like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 has been passed, wage inequality across gender lines persists across the United States, and Alabama ranks near the bottom in terms of pay equality.

A map that represents home values in the U.S. The darker green represents higher percentages of homes (by county) that are owner occupied and worth less than $50,000. I made this map in five minutes.

In 2014, GIS studies in Montevallo are made even better by the Carmichael Library's permanent acquisition of Social Explorer. This Oxford University Press resource presents current and historical U.S. Census data and make it exceedingly easy to create visually appealing maps.

GIS is not just a tool of learning for Geography classes; just about any question or concept can be mapped. Get in touch with librarians at Carmichael if you are interested in exploring map-based  learning in your classes.

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