Maps. The tool for our eyes to comprehend the spatial world at smaller scales. Each map can represent a different story, depending on the concept that is illustrated each time. And, by story, it is meant the data or the combination of data that are used each time for the creation of the map.

Day by day, the difficulty in creating such tool is decreased. Thanks to new technologies and the massive availability of data, everyone is able to create a map. And what can this map represent? Anything that has spatial attributes! Whichever element has a defined location can be represented on a map. In urban planning, for example, buildings can be illustrated as polygons, roads as lines and trees as points.

Several types of maps do exist. Points maps, chloropleth maps and heatmaps are some, each one using different methods for the representation of information. Moreover, several tools are available for the map design. Many desktop GIS platforms are offered for the visualization of geospatial data and creation of maps (e.g. QGISArcGIS, GRASS GIS, etc.) Apart from them, many other types of geospatial tools exist. Web map servers (e.g. Geoserver) and spatial database management systems (e.g. PostGIS) are some of these tools, expanding the exposure and the interaction of a created map through the web.

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GEO University provides online courses dedicated to map creation, either by learning spatial visualization methods and rules using a desktop GIS software or by creating your own webGIS map using Python and PostGIS. Let’s see which are these courses…

Design maps as a visual communication tool

Introduction to geospatial data visualization course contains topics that cover a broad understanding of spatial data visualization. The students will understand what data visualization is and why it is important for geospatial professionals. The difference between data and information is discussed and the four main steps of creating a good data visualization. Attributes are widely discussed as they are the most important factor in data classification techniques. Mapping methods and basic rules for designing maps are covered as part of the traditional cartography lessons. For taking this course the students must have a basic understanding of GIS, vector and raster data, geometry and attributes.

Learn how to build webGIS applications with Python and Django

In Smart Map In Python Tutorial you will learn how to build a python GIS application from scratch using a variety of open source technologies. The purpose of this tutorial is to take geospatial analytics and convert them into functional applications. PostgreSQL and PostGIS will be used for the databases structure, while Bootstrap, JavaScript and Ajax will be used for the front-end of the map application. On the server side, the main tools will be Python 3 Django combined with use of scientific libraries like pandas for the data transformation and conversion operations.

The path to becoming an expert in GIS and cartography starts by knowing how to visualize your geospatial data and being adapted to new GIS technologies. So, what are you waiting for? Start creating your map. Start creating your story!

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Written by

Experienced Geographic Information System Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the Defense & Space industry. Skilled in AutoCAD, ArcGIS, Python, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and Spatial Analysis. Strong community and social services professional with a Master of Science - MS focused in Geographical Information Systems from Lund University.

Anastasia Sarelli

Earth Observation Expert