Geospatial Humanities and Mapping Technologies

Course Description: 

Growing recognition of cross-disciplinary applicability and importance made Geographic Information Systems (GIS) a popular approach in the Humanities. Until lately maps development and spatial analysis had been a prerogative of cartographers and, later, experts in specialized computer software (early GIS packages). However, latest advances in computer hardware and software have opened this area to other disciplines and allowed researchers to enhance their traditional research methods and ways to present findings. The course reviews a diverse range of spatial software, both desktop and web-based, including GIS and their application in the Humanities. The primary focus is at geospatial data visualization including internet data mining, datasets processing and maps development using different approaches and software packages.

The course consists of
- Introductory theoretical sessions focused on principles of geospatial data visualization, cartography and GIS basics;
- Practical sessions on learning practical GIS skills. Special attention is paid to mapping skills using free open source packages;
- Supervised students’ research on individual term projects. Topics for projects can be linked to research interests and theses needs.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course students should be able to
- understand principles and value of mapping and spatial analysis;
- acquire geospatial and other related datasets useful for mapping;
- develop own datasets based on different data sources;
- create simple maps using several mapping packages (e.g. qGIS and GEPro).


The assessment is based upon student’s performance using the following categories:
- 10% class participation: active students participation in class discussions is expected and encouraged;
- 20% practical sessions: several in-class exercises have to be completed;
- 70% graded individual project: mapping project should be developed and presented at the end of the course by every course participant (both audit and grade). The project can be a part of thesis research.