Mapmaking Course for Earth Science Scientists

Date: 25 July 2024 – 1pm UTC

Course Overview

This training course is designed for Earth science scientists to develop essential mapmaking skills. The course will demonstrate participants through the process of creating accurate, informative, and visually appealing geospatial maps from scratch using primarily open-source software tools (QGIS).

Who should attend?

This course is created for absolute beginners who have never created maps or have minimal knowledge of mapmaking.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

•    Create clear and visually appealing maps using mostly open-source software tools.

•    Customize maps for specific research purposes.

Course outline

  1. Introduction to Mapmaking
    1. Overview of maps and their types?
    2. Importance of maps in Earth Science research.
    3. Necessary components of a map
    4. Map scale
    5. Symbology and colour schemes.
    6. Map Projections (Mercator, Robinson, Lambert, etc.), distortions
  2. Data preparation
    1. How to prepare data for mapmaking
    2. Data collection methods (field surveys, remote sensing, etc.).
    3. Data formats and conversion (shapefiles, GeoTIFFs, CSVs, etc.).
    4. Data cleaning and preprocessing (removing duplicates, handling missing values, etc.).
    5. Georeferencing and aligning data with spatial references.
  3. Software tools
    1. Introduction to QGIS software and the interface
  1. Creating base maps
    1. Accessing and utilizing online base map services (Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, etc.).
    2. Creating custom base maps using elevation data (DEM).
    3. Styling and visual enhancements (colour ramps, hillshades, etc.).
  2. Overlaying data
    1. Adding layers to maps
    2. Importing various data layers (vector and raster).
    3. Techniques for overlaying multiple data sets.
    4. Using symbology to differentiate data layers.
    5. Managing layer visibility and hierarchy.
  3. Exporting and analyzing maps
    1. Exporting maps to different formats (PDF, PNG, JPEG, etc.).
    2. Setting export parameters (resolution, size, extent).
    3. Interpreting and communicating map results.

Timeline (3-hour schedule)

20 minutes – Introduction and Briefing

30 minutes – Data Preparation and Software Introduction

60 minutes – Plotting Data

40 minutes – Interpolating Data

30 minutes – Creating the Layout and Exporting the Map

Additional resources

At the end of the course, participants will receive a guidebook containing detailed instructions and examples on creating accurate and visually appealing maps from scratch.

Optional Hands-On exercises

This course is designed to be a moderately fast-paced introduction to mapmaking. For those seeking hands-on experience, a follow-up session can be arranged for detailed guidance and assistance. Additionally, participants can reach out for support and clarification for up to one year post-training.