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.”