Geo-Tourism Map

John Wilson, Lafayette College


This project is designed to give students the opportunity to create a large map (3'x4') for publication at a "Map Blast" style presentation. Students must utilize basic GIS skills to access, manipulate and display data for their maps.


Type and level of course
This is a Introduction to GIS course, at the 200 level in our 100-400 scheme. It is an undergraduate course, primarily for geology majors, with the occasional biology majors and engineers.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
A basic understanding of rock types and names is necessary for the completion of this activity. Students are then asked to search other literature (road trips and field guides) to identify the geology and geological processes that shaped the location that they are mapping.

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
Basic data acquisition, data manipulation, data creation, and cartographic layout are assumed.

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcView 9.3, 3D or Spatial Analyst Extension beneficial, but not required.

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
2 Weeks


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Students learn the background behind professional map publication. They are able to create large maps, and then critique them with their peers to better enhance their final map project.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
How to make a geologic map is important for our students in upper level courses. This gives them an opportunity to enhance their map making skill, as well as develop their understanding of geological processes and tectonics of their region of interest.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students are required to create professional geological-tourism maps for a state (or country) of their choosing. Students will find data sets for their chosen area, and manipulate and display the data into a large format map that is used for display.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students are critiqued four ways.
  1. Rough Draft Peer evaluation. Students review each others maps to identify what features/displays they liked the most about each map. As well as indicating what materials they felt needed to be changed to enhance each map.
  2. Faculty evaluation of rough draft. The faculty member reviews the rough draft map to identify the level of GIS usage that was involved in each map. Grading is on a rubric of 1-5, 1 being least GIS usage/detail, to 5 being most GIS usage/detail.
  3. Student Presentation of map during Map Blast. Students are evaluated on their presentation of the map, and the geology behind the map.
  4. Final Map. Students are evaluated on their final map for completion, clarity, detail, and excitement for tourism.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

URLs and References

Download teaching materials and tips

  • Activity Description/Assignment: Geologic Map Project (Acrobat (PDF) 50kB Aug10 10)
  • Instructors Notes:
  • Solution Set:

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