The University of Pretoria (UP) celebrated the International Map Year this year in three ways: the Centre for Geo-information Science (CGIS) Map Competition; a map assignment challenge for first-year and third-year students in BSc Geo-informatics and most importantly, the 2015 CGIS Mini-conference.
The 2015 CGIS Mini-conference: Maps in research at UP aimed to showcase the role of maps in research conducted at UP. Postgraduate supervisors from across the University were invited to nominate students under their supervision for a presentation at the mini-conference. We asked for presentations with ‘map’ or ‘mapping’ in the title and abstracts describing the role of maps in the research.
A variety of presentations showcases the use of maps in research at UP. Maps are used in research in multiple disciplines. The following examples can be cited: the use of maps in different departments and faculties; maps are used in inter-disciplinary research, such as in cartography and psychology which are combined in research that makes use of eye tracking to study how people read and understand maps. Maps are also used in multi-disciplinary research, where, for example we draw on cartography and geography/plant science in research that aims to spatially analyse / understand natural and human-made phenomena around us.
The presentations included ‘traditional’ uses of mapping and spatial analysis …
- to help us understand our natural environment
- to help us plan for urbanisation;
- and to help us plan for much needed renewable energies.
There were also presentations on novel high-tech applications of cartography, such as augmented reality and 3D eye tracking. Finally, the keynote address on forensic mapping is a less frequently heard of application of mapping.
All the presenters were UP students who are supervised in more than one faculty and in various departments. In some cases co-supervisors were from other universities or research councils. At the end of the mini-conference, the winners of the 2015 UP CGIS Map Competition received their prize money and a map atlas donated by Esri.
We are also celebrating International Map Year 2015/6 with an exhibition of maps in the UP library. The exhibition showcases maps produced by students, staff and other organisations. Some interesting map books from the library are on display, such as a population map from 1904. During November the library expects anything between 4,600 to 7,400 visitors daily.
– Serena Coetzee