Day 3 Review: Digital Maps & Images

Jason Menard gives a brief introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) before walking Summer Institute participants through several hands-on exercises in GIS software.

The primary focus of the third and final day of the June 2013 Summer Institute was digital maps and images. First, Jason Menard (IT) gave us an introduction to the field of Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, and its applications in digital humanities and the academic realm. He also spoke briefly about a project that Mary Titus (English) has been working on, as she maps the novel Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger. Then, after the brief introduction, we got to try out some GIS software ourselves as Jason led everyone through an exercise in ArcMap, a component of the ArcGIS suite of geospatial processing software. We first tackled the basics of ArcMap using a map of the world’s continents, rivers and lakes, and then moved on to a more analytical exercise focused on suitability data for New York’s Manhattan island.

In the afternoon, Alexis Logsdon (Libraries) gave a brief presentation on copyright, fair use and image licensing.  This led us into an exploration of image databases and open source images, aided by the library staff.  Though there is lots of room for fair use in academics, it is not entirely predictable; and as we learned in this session, Creative Commons licensed materials and Public Domain materials give us the predictability that is so lacking with fair use.

Day 3 ended with what is affectionately known as the “Cake Workshop.”  Participants and facilitators enjoyed cake, refreshments and (this year) a special musical performance from Phinehas Bynum and his iPad peripherals.  Before ending the day, we had a brief wrap-up and discussion time in which all of those who participated were able to share their perspectives on the Institute and give suggestions for future sessions.

Jason Menard (IT) talks about mapping and data analysis using ArcGIS and ArcMap software


Alexis Logsdon (Libraries) shares resources for open source and public domain images.


Nancy Aarsvold (IT) and Kasia Gonnerman (Libraries) help bring the institute to a close with a brief wrap-up and discussion time

Mary Titus (English) shares her suggestions for future Summer Institutes during the wrap-up and discussion

Institute participants and facilitators enjoy lively discussion and feedback to close out the day


Phinehas Bynum (IT), right, shares his musical talents with participants during the Cake Workshop.  Anthony Balbo (Student Multimedia Designer), left, checks out the accessories Bynum uses to produce music on the iPad