News on a map

All politics is local, a politician once said. All journalism is local aswell. But how do you put the news on a map, so readers can see how the news affect their lives? Applications like MapInfo and ArcView give you the oppurtunity to put all kinds of data on a map. In which constituencies did the opposition parties win during the elections? Which regions are most vulnerable in times of flooding? Where do all these politicians live? Where is this new freeway the government wants to build? One simple map gives all the answers.
But you can do more. Each question raises another. So you now know where the regions are that are most likely to be flooded. But how many people live there? And you know where the new freeway is, but what is the time it now takes to travel from one city to another via the new road? Geographic information systems make it easy to combine different data. And on your website, it is easy to make these maps interactive, so readers can zoom in to their neighbourhood easily. More and more newspapers, especially in the United States, are using these so-called geographic information systems (GIS) to tell their stories.
In this session, you will learn how to use GIS. We’ll work with data files that are freely available on the internet, and you will learn how to combine them.

Participants should have basic knowledge of spreadsheet or relational database programs like Microsoft Excel or Access.

During this hands-on session, we will use MapInfo, one of the leading GIS-applications, in combination with Vertical Mapper. MapInfo is very expensive (hundreds of dollars), but there is other, cheaper software on the market, like Manifold. And QGis, an open source initiative, is free.

Trainer: Arlen Poort

When? Saturday November 22nd, 10.45 AM
Where? Erasmushogeschool, Room 3.06

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