Unit 1: Geographic Information

Learning GIS and cartography is fun and rewarding, all it requires is a little time and effort.  This first unit is designed to lead you toward making your first map, assuming you've had little to no experience with GIS and design programs.  For now, just remember that a map is:

a compilation of symbolized layers;
these layers are 
designed to visually represent some aspect of a space.  

For this unit, please focus on the following:


What is a Map?

Before we dive into making our own maps, let's start by taking a map apart as an example. How many layers of data can you count in this map?

Raster and Vector Data

A short and sweet description of the two data models and how they handle object versus discrete phenomena.

What is GIS?

What are Geographic Information Systems as opposed to the practice of cartography? This is a simple example, but should help illustrate the difference.

Data Terms and Jargon

Because making maps involves lots of different terminology, here’s an overview of terms.

Spacial Data Structure

How does the computer see my vector and raster files? Let's look more in depth at the differences between raster and vector.