Online maps frequently are used to discover locations of restaurants, houses and buildings, but how often are the creators of the maps considered?
Texas Tech University offers an Internet mapping course which allows students to learn the rigor of making maps. The course was listed as one of the “10 Technology Classes We Wish We Took in College,” according to TechSchool.com.
“It is an interesting course,” said Kevin Mulligan, director of the Texas Tech Center for Geospatial Technology. “It is very useful for people who are interested in a career that involves geographic information systems.”
The course helps students uncover the tools and technology used to showcase cartography on the Web. An emphasis is placed on the methods for developing interactive mapping applications, similar to those used by Apple, Google and GPS navigators.
Santosh Seshadri, coordinator of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and instructor of the Internet mapping course, said GIS is one of the fastest growing industries today.
“It is virtually in every field of study, government agencies and private companies,” he said. “It is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographical data.”
Maps are an effective way to present data in one piece of paper and can be a powerful tool for decision or policy making, Seshadri said.
Since the creation of Google Maps, people have access to maps on their computers and smart phones at their fingertips, which have expanded the use of maps daily.
“There are a lot of applications out there for computers and smart phones that help people make decisions,” he said,” whether it is finding a route to a place you want to visit, finding a good restaurant to eat, looking up weather at a location on Earth, or studying animal or bird migration, the list could go on.”
The GIS courses offered at Texas Tech teach students to capture, analyze, manage geospatial data and make maps. The Internet Mapping course teaches students to take maps, data and analyses and share them on the Internet.
“It teaches students how to develop rich online mapping applications to share their data with the world,” Seshadri said.