January 9, 2014 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I work in maps but am generally frustrated with the way the field is taught: so this is my attempt at making educational materials that dial down the corporate tie-ins and talk about concept. I also write about the process of making it and am planning on illustrating & printing it for free/cheap for students.
Role: programmer, author, illustrator
posted by tmcw (3 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by aniola on February 4, 2014: mapschool

Hey Tom, this is a great and ambitious project. You're the perfect person to be doing it. A year or two back I went looking for a good open courseware GIS program and couldn't find anything. I ended up teaching myself by writing a lot of crappy code and reading PostGIS docs.

I suggest you look at Mark Pilgrim's ebook/websites as a guide for how to do this kind of product, particularly Dive Into HTML5. Mark wrote a fair amount about his development process on his blog, but I suspect it's all hard to find since he took everything he'd done offline. Long story short: plain text input and lots of code to format HTML, books, etc. I think he used TeX too.

The one thing I'd like to see in your site is a more hands-on code oriented approach. The nice thing about ESRI's training is it's all done with software running live examples. I'm not sure how an open source / web version of that would work, but Bostock's amazing D3 example gallery is a guiding light here as well as code example things like and your own literate programming experiments. I'm imagining something based in Javascript and Leaflet with lots of pictures, maybe combined with easily-executed PostGIS, Shapely, MapBox, or the like for producing the big data files. I wouldn't worry too much about avoiding any corporate tie-ins, as long as you keep the tools diverse and open source.
posted by Nelson at 2:57 PM on January 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

I took a GIS class in undergrad, and reading your page reminded me of all of the concepts my professor spent at least a month trying to teach. I'm not saying I had a bad professor either. You've written a great platform agnostic entry-level guide to GIS concepts, and you should feel awesome about it. I'm looking forward to further developments.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:09 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

More of this, please. I work with a lot of young early-career people who would love to learn more about the concepts underlying and best practices of map composition and GIS, but it all too quickly turns into ESRI buttonology and stays there. This is excellent stuff.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 1:04 AM on March 10, 2014

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