Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Evaluating Mapping
Originator Jan Rigby
Department Department of Geography, Lancaster University, LA1 4YB
Tel. +44 (0)1524 593452
Fax. +44 (0)1524 847099

The map is often taken for granted; this tutorial introduces students to the thought processes involved in mapping data, and the effects on management decision-making of the ways in which data are portrayed.

Students are given a list of data for the districts in a region. They are required to classify the districts using these data, and then to shade the districts on an overhead acetate of the region. This exercise can be carried out either individually or in sub-small sub-groups of the tutorial. The acetates are displayed and the authors of each one are required to explain how they have displayed the data and why they chose to show it the way they did. The discussion concludes with a review of the variety of display and classification systems proposed and the effects this has on one's planning for displaying and using cartographic information in decision making.

The students enjoy seeing how easy it is to lie with maps. They quickly acknowledge the need to question all aspects of a map before using it for decision making. This exercise has been found to be particularly useful when dealing with mature or other students with a modest previous exposure to Geography.

The tutorial needs a little preparation and equipment:

- obtaining the data for a set of districts;
- drawing up base maps on paper and acetate sheets of the region and its districts' boundaries;
- giving a set of acetate pens (red, green, blue and black) to each sub-group.


Decision making
Statistical methods

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Page created 7 April 1997
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