Geospatial information literacy

With the ease of mapping on the internet there is an increased value see in Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is no longer viewed as a tool only for geographers or cartographers - in fact, it is becoming tremendously popular with planners, architects, social scientists and others. Increasingly, individuals and groups are finding benefits from using GIS software - University of Waterloo students for example are:

  • detecting patterns for future environmental hazards,
  • studying areas for potential commercial development,
  • easily calculating areas of wetlands, wooded areas, length of rivers,
  • conducting quickest-route analysis,
  • visualizing distribution of survey respondents and results,
  • studying changes of land and water over time,
  • researching properties, and
  • planning canoe trips.

With geospatial data and software freely available on the Internet, there is potential for geospatial information overload. Like with textual research, there is accurate, reliable, and current information on the web, but there is also a lot of fog that easily gets in the way. 

The Geospatial Centre's geospatial information literacy program is aimed at teaching all current and potential GIS users on campus the skills necessary to independently:

  • search for accurate, reliable, relative and current geospatial information,
  • find a GIS-related software program that meets their needs,
  • use a GIS-related software program to create cartographically-correct maps, and
  • reference and cite geospatial resources in coursework submissions. 

If you are interested in learning more about GIS and geospatial data, please take a look at the Geospatial Centre's instruction schedule.