Communities, Cartography and GIS: Enhancing Undergraduate Geographic Education with Service Learning

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2011

Timothy L. Hawthorne

“This paper discusses an introductory cartography and GIS service learning course. The service learning experience, highlighted by a final mapping project and community presentation, resulted in 3,000 student-designed maps being distributed to community residents, a website of downloadable student maps, multiple student speaking engagements, and a sustained community-university collaboration. The course demonstrates the importance of applied geography in local communities and highlights the benefits of community-university partnerships for addressing social change. Such an applied geography experience offers an important twist on the conventional, introductory cartography course where students engage in pre-packaged lectures and labs, and are then asked to complete a final mapping project. Unlike the conventional approach, this service learning class experience allows students to use their creativity to demonstrate knowledge learned in the course and allows students to apply and present their geographic knowledge in a real-world setting to community members.”

Introduction to Object-based Landscape Analysis

International Journal of Geographical Information Science International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 25, Issue 6, 2011

Paul Aplin and Geoffrey M. Smith

“Current environmental challenges often require regular and wide-area monitoring, which in theory Earth observation (EO) can provide. Commonly, these challenges do not focus on individual point targets, as represented by image pixels, but require consideration of whole landscapes and assessment of features in broader spatial contexts. Object-based approaches, which operate at the scale of real-world objects rather than pixels, offer a means of analysing EO data in a realistic context and integrating associated ancillary information to support real-world applications. The development of object-based image analysis has accelerated over the past decade and can now be considered mainstream, with commercially available software and a wide user community. For full and rigorous consideration of the implementation of object-based analysis in environmental applications, we propose an extension of the discussion to object-based ‘landscape’ analysis. This article serves as an introduction to a Special Issue on this theme, drawing on a technical meeting held in 2009 at The University of Nottingham, UK. The meeting’s aim was to bring together practitioners in remote sensing, geographic information science (GIScience) and environmental science to identify best practice in the development and application of object-based landscape analysis techniques. The papers presented outline new opportunities for object-based landscape analysis, showing the expansion of object-centred classification studies beyond routine use of image data, engaging with fundamental GIScience concepts such as spatial accuracy and scale and demonstrating the wider and growing relevance for the EO, GIScience, landscape ecology and broader environmental science communities.”