Cartography at the Ohio State University

By Ahlqvist, Ola | Cartography and Geographic Information Science, July 2011 | Go to article overview

Cartography at the Ohio State University


Ahlqvist, Ola, Cartography and Geographic Information Science


History and Present Strengths in Teaching and Research

The history and traditions of cartography at OSU have been thoroughly described by a previous report in this journal (Moellering 1991). OSU continues to be at the forefront of comprehensive research and education in Cartography and in the wider realm of Geographic Information Science.

Cartography education at OSU is offered by three units. The Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science Department offers an undergraduate minor in surveying and mapping. This minor qualifies students for the 'Fundamentals of Surveying Exam,' along with a BS degree in Civil Engineering, as a first step toward licensure as a professional surveyor. A MS and PhD in civil engineering with a geodetic engineering specialization is also offered. The School of Earth Sciences offers a graduate degree in Geodetic Science with specializations in geodesy, and mathematical geodesy.

The third unit offering cartography education is, of course, OSU's Department of Geography, continuously recognized among the elite geography departments in the United States, and recognized globally as a leader in cartographic, spatial analytic and GIS-related teaching and research. During the early 2000's the department faced the challenge of replacing two eminent, senior faculty members in the area of cartographic, visualization, and GIScience research and education. Prof. Harold Moellering (now emeritus) has made significant contributions to two- and three-dimensional cartographic visualization strategies, and his leadership role in the U.S. National Committee for Digital Cartographic Data Standards was instrumental in providing a foundation for geographic data infrastructure developments that continue to this day. Professor Duane Marble (now emeritus) is recognized as a distinguished scholar in the fields of transportation geography, computer modeling and simulation, and for pioneering research in geographic information science. He also chaired the national Model Curricula Task Force where he led the work to develop the Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge 2006 (DiBiase et al. 2006), which has been highly influential in the development and modernization of academic GIS programs and as a benchmark for a professional GIS certification.

With new faculty appointments filling positions of these and other recently retired professors, OSU's Geography Department has been reinvented over the past decade. Fifteen of the twenty-six faculty members have been hired since 2000. We now have a department that builds on existing strengths while forging new directions in emerging areas of the discipline. In GIScience alone, innovative research at OSU includes activity in social computing, web cartography, critical cartography, and semantic visualization.

Concurrently, of course, the field of cartography has also been reshaped, from a relatively narrowly defined field of mapmaking to a conglomerate of technology, infrastructure, theory, and practice, informed by a massively increasing number of practitioners. Consequently, cartographic research and education at Ohio State should not only be characterized in terms of those faculty members with a direct technical and/or methodological focus. …

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