Spatial Analysis and Modeling at Carleton

This satellite image has been modified in GIS to color-code buildings by type of use.

As we learn more about the world around us, we have come to realize that many systems are interconnected and interrelated. A one-dimensional view of a complex world may create more confusion than insight. Hence, the use of a multi-faceted approach is essential to understanding both natural and societal systems. Thanks to modern computer power, multiple datasets can be overlain, manipulated, and analyzed spatially, allowing relationships between variables to become visible.

One well-known tool in spatial analysis is Geographic Information System (GIS). This digital system of mapping allows the use of many "layers" of data, allowing for a multi-dimensional analysis of a particular area. By its nature, GIS mapping allows for cross-discipline collaboration and holistic approaches to problem-solving. GIS is also a valuable teaching tool, giving students the ability to easily visualize datasets and create various cartographic products.

GIS and spatial analysis are used in many disciplines, such as land use planning, archeology, geology, biology, resource management and natural hazards management.

For more information about spatial modeling at Carleton, contact Tsegaye H. Nega.

Past Events

Geovisualization Colloquium March 9, 2008
In collaboration with Carleton's LTC (Learning and Teaching Center) and Macalester College, we planned and conducted a one-day colloquium on geo-visualization. The colloquium was lead by four leading scholars on geo-visualization from the University of Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and San Diego. Topics covered include dynamic mapping, exploratory data analysis, three dimensional mapping, and multimedia mapping.

Grid-based Map Analysis Techniques and GIS Modeling March 19-21, 2008
In collaboration with Carleton's QuIRK (Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge) initiative and CISMI (Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative), we planned and conducted a two-day workshop on spatial modeling for eighteen faculty and five staff members. The workshop was facilitated by a leading GIS scholar and consultant, Dr. Joseph Berry, and was designed around a series of hands-on modeling case studies to help faculty incorporate spatial analysis into existing courses. But unlike the previous workshop, this one mainly focused on raster-based spatial analysis and modeling. In addition, the workshop introduced participants to the concepts and practices of geo-visualization with a hands-on component that allowed participants to practice integrating GPS (global positioning system), digital photo, audio, and video in order to produce a multi-media GIS.

Carleton Spatial Modeling Workshop December 3-5, 2007
In collaboration with SERC (the Carleton Science Education and Resource Center) we planned and conducted a three-day workshop on spatial modeling for thirteen faculty from the History, Mathematics, Chemistry, Economics, Political Science, Sociology/Anthropology, Classics, Geology, Music, and Biology departments. In keeping with our promise of building on the work carried out by ENTS faculty in New Orleans, the entire workshop was designed using Katrina as a case study. In addition, the specific exercises were developed with an eye for easy incorporation into existing courses.

Resources for Teaching with GIS

Teaching with GIS in the Geosciences, created by Brian Welch, from the Department of Environmental Studies at St. Olaf College. This module contains a wealth of background information for instructors, plus several examples that showcase the use of GIS in the classroom. Examples include Analyzing Populations with Maps(retired), Exploring Regional Differences in Climate Change, Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images, Names in the Field: A Simple GPS Field Exercise and Image Classification.

Other examples

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Browse other examples of teaching materials from the Carleton collection of teaching activities.

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