Wouldn’t it be amazing if thousands of people could learn about the power of mapping, start making their own web maps, and begin thinking spatially in new ways? MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) make it possible for universities to open higher education to many more students than was previously possible. Beginning 17 July 2013, Dr. Anthony C. Robinson, Geography Professor at The Pennsylvania State University, will offer a MOOC entitled “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution.” This MOOC uses the Coursera platform, which Penn State will be using for 4 other courses as well. Since Coursera launched in April 2012, 1.45 million students are enrolling in courses each month on their platform. Other platforms such as Udacity and EdX also attract large numbers. Not only are these statistics revolutionary, but the idea of mapping as a platform for the efficient functioning of society is also revolutionary. Why?
According to Robinson, this past decade has seen an explosion of new mechanisms for understanding and using location information in widely-accessible technologies. This Geospatial Revolution has resulted in the development of consumer GPS tools, interactive web maps, and location-aware mobile devices. These radical advances are making it possible for people from all walks of life to use, collect, and understand spatial information like never before.
This course is designed to help you rethink what maps are and what they can do, create your first map to tell a story, evaluate and critique the design of maps, explore what is revolutionary about Geography. This course runs for 5 weeks and will have you making maps, analyzing issues and patterns from natural hazards to ecoregions to population change, using exciting new tools such as ArcGIS Online.
Interested? Examine the excellent video series from Penn State on the geospatial revolution. Follow @MapRevolution on Twitter for updates. And most importantly, join the course!