I have some experience with making custom maps using Google Maps and also using some free software called (R), which was originally developed for doing statistics, but has become much more powerful and useful through time. I’m interested in leading a hands-on session to demonstrate some of the features of both tools, and to briefly mention some other shareware that is out there for mapping and geospatial visualization, that I am less familiar with (e.g., QGIS). I would also be happy to have any other members participate in this session if they know about additional programs.
Why is this an interesting topic? Maps are useful beyond much more than just making travel plans or identifying places and objects in space. They help us to understand relationships and make connections (both spatial and temporal). They let us “see” relationships. They offer a sophisticated way to analyze very different types of information or variables (e.g. space, history, and politics). Here are some examples of some projects that incorporate geovisualization in with topics and disciplines that are more familiar to my own education and professional experience:
Dialect maps, like this one featured in the NY Times
It would be useful if you have your own laptop (any OS will do) with internet access. I’ll demonstrate whatever I can, but you will be able to download and sample different tools alongside me and others if you have your own computer.