Learning to Use GIS and GPS Software to Make Maps

Instructor:  Fred Bowers

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 20
  • Materials required

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of satellites that maintain a fixed orbit position above the earth. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications are common, and Google Earth and other directional systems in cars have become part of our daily lives. Many Web maps are available on servers that allow understanding of soils, geology, tax maps, census data, etc. Creating these maps is challenging, but not too difficult. In the past, one needed to purchase expensive software like ArcGIS to create maps. Now, there is Opensource Software (free) and tracking and path apps for smartphones that enable us to take control over what and how we view GIS information. The instructor will interactively teach students how to use these tools. The students will use their laptop computers to access the Internet and install some or all of the software. There are many free data sources in Maine. Class limit 20

Required Materials: A modern operating system like MacOSx, Windows, or Linux. If you only have a smartphone, either Android or iPhone, you can take part in the class, but you will need to pair up with someone who has a laptop. By pairing, you will be able to learn the concepts and develop paths and maps that can be sent to friends or associates.

Fred Bowers holds a Ph.D. in Forest Soils from the University of Washington in Seattle. His research work in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska necessitated understanding soil science, geology, mineralogy, chemistry, and forest ecology and soil mapping. Prior to that, he earned an M.S. in agronomy and soil pedology from Rutgers University. After 27 years of working as a Research Scientist for the New Jersey DEP, he retired and moved to Belfast. He has taught classes at Senior College relating to local rocks, soils, and landscapes.