About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3198-3205
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

TEACHING THEMATIC CARTOGRAPHY WITH OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: INKSCAPE

J. Feliu

Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
The study of cartography in Geography studies at Spanish universities, and even European ones, in recent years has been directed towards two main objectives: training in the principles of construction map (scale, projections, coordinates, etc.), and the realization of thematic mapping tools with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The first objective has been a traditional function of cartographic studies, while the latter is due to the recent development of GIS. But the question of constructing thematic maps in GIS inherent problems for students of Geography. Because the subject of cartography developed in the early years, and the subject of GIS is realized in subsequent years, students can not use mapping GIS programs, which require a fairly extensive and specialized training, and they can not fully exploit all its features. We can say that the problems of operation of GIS divert the main issue for the student of cartography: successfully complete a thematic map.

For this reason, we have advocated the need to teach students how to create thematic maps with specific software, other than GIS, that allows the realization of quality maps, having maximum ease of access (open source), and enabling new knowledge.

We have been able to implement this change in the orientation of cartographic teaching through the creation of new university degrees, as the result of the new university Spanish and European organization (Bologna). In particular, the establishment of the degree in Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Girona (Spain).

The tool that we believed should be used for the purposes described was Inkscape software. It is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

Inkcape has adapted well to the needs that are required for teaching thematic mapping, and has done relatively easily and operational. Firstly, the creation of mapping specific types, as punctual, linear and areal, both qualitative and quantitative. Secondly, the creation of their own cartographic symbols that are used in thematic maps, albeit complex, due to the possibility of drawing them and play them. Thirdly, the use of different tools of vector editor, very interesting for thematic maps (color, vectorization, measure of the items drawn, etc.).

Note that this experience (using Inkscape for teaching and production of thematic maps) is quite innovative, because we have not detected any other university (in Spain or abroad) that has been used this software before as an educational resource in Geography.

Finally, we can say that the teaching of thematic mapping with the new system represents a significant number of advantages in educational terms (make the entire process of thematic mapping), but also the skills acquired by students. After the course, the student is fully capable of generating a thematic map independently, and in the future, he can easily learn other similar programs used by professional edition of thematic cartography and statistical graphics.
@InProceedings{FELIU2011TEA,
author = {Feliu, J.},
title = {TEACHING THEMATIC CARTOGRAPHY WITH OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: INKSCAPE},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {3198-3205}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Feliu
TI - TEACHING THEMATIC CARTOGRAPHY WITH OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: INKSCAPE
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 3198
EP - 3205
ER -
J. Feliu (2011) TEACHING THEMATIC CARTOGRAPHY WITH OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: INKSCAPE, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 3198-3205.
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