« Improving Online Writing Consulting | Main | Online Course Materials »

Internet Mapping Application Supports Curriculum

The Department of Geography created a mapping application that supports courses across the curriculum. The Minnesota Interactive Internet Mapping (MIIM) Project is similar to other internet mapping services such as Google Maps or Map Quest, making it far more suitable for instruction: data and interactivity.

MIIM offers two key advantages over other mapping services, making it far more suitable for instruction. MIIM hosts over forty different kinds of data ranging from census information and street networks to protected wetlands and aerial photography. These data can be used in a wide array of classes on subjects ranging from urban studies to environmental science.

This project also allows students and faculty to upload their own data and observations via onscreen digitizing, global positioning system (GPS) handsets, or third-party digital maps available over the internet. Instructors can customize features such as the data layers or the degree of interactivity available to students.

Over the last twenty years there has been remarkable growth in spatial technologies (such as web mapping, in-vehicle navigation systems, and satellite imaging of the earth) along with developments in instructional technology such as computing and web-based learning.

Today’s students are increasingly familiar with computational technology and geospatial technologies but in order to make coursework more relevant to the students’ educational experience, it is necessary to cater to their technological expertise while introducing them to the appropriate use of technology. In the Department of Geography, this runs from critical appraisal of data acquisition to integration of information with theoretical knowledge.

MIIM plans to make interactive web-mapping available to anyone with an internet connection. They are also designing the application so that individual instructors can use a password-protected web interface to change basic characteristics such as data layers or analysis operations in order to tailor MIIM to specific classes or labs.

Project Lead: Professor Steven Manson, Department of Geography