This probably makes me super nerdy, but I really love maps.
I am a visual learner and physically seeing information helps me absorb it better than just reading or hearing about it. Maps and visuals also make a bigger impact on audiences.
Due to class scheduling conflicts, I was never able to take Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a course in graduate school. Basically, GIS uses data to spatial create maps and layers of different types of data and information to help answer questions and solve urban planning problems.
Now that I am out in the real world, I realize that I should have tried harder to fit it into my class schedule.
When I saw there was an opportunity to attend a 2-day GIS workshop here in Chicago, I jumped at the chance to learn a new skill for professional development and my own personal map fetish.
Over two days, we covered the basics of a skill that takes years to fully master, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
We worked with data sets and transformed them into spatial data and then applied layers of other data on top. It was so cool!
The most awesome part is that tons of regional GIS data is available for free!
- City of Chicago (political boundaries, wards, and census data)
- Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (land use, green infrastructure, bikeways)
- Cook County (municipalities and address points)
- Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (too many options to even list)
BRB let me go make some maps.