Exploring GIS

Exploring GIS

In this map, I plotted the early established colleges on a map. I have decided to code the color of college dots based on their founding year: The later the colleges were founded, the darker the dots would appear to be. After plotting the dots, I added a layer of America’s road density. I wanted to observe whether the density of roads is related to the location or founding times of the colleges. I assumed that the colleges would tend to locate in areas with slightly higher road density. I made this assumption because colleges would benefit from higher road density as it would be attractive to students. I also hypothesized that colleges founded earlier would have higher road density surrounding them. This assumption, however, was proven false as multiple colleges with an earlier founding date like Dartmouth and Miami University in Oxford had earlier founding dates but minimal road density surrounding them.

The limitation of this spatial exploration is that we do not have maps of America in the early founding years. Without historical data, the spatial meaning relating to the founding dates of colleges cannot be easily explored. This showed perfectly how tools like “David Rumsey’s Georeferencer” could be useful when investigating the historical spatial relationships. Historical spatial data are not systematically entered into a database and sometimes need to be encoded by the researchers themselves.

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