The Potential of Webmapping

From what we learned in class I believe web mapping to be an incredibly powerful tool that has numerous applications, but from my experience I believe using ArcGIS for historic maps could be very interesting. With the points, lines and area tool you could map an old map from some archaic society onto the earth as we know it, include interesting pieces of information about different sites and give a sense of scale (as well as something fun to play with) to a lesson. That being said, I think our data visualization lecture revealed that the way you display something can be very misleading. In order for web mapping to be a useful and informative tool we have to think carefully about what we are showing and if there is some kind of narrative behind it. One example that comes to mind are election maps. ArcGIS or some other service could be used to show interesting data about the spread of voters across states, who is voting wear etc. But at the same time those kinds of maps can be very misleading, we would need to be careful as to how the information is displayed.

The learning curve for ArcGIS was very easy, the line, point and area tools are intuitive and they made working with data a much smoother process than other applications I have worked with (looking at you PSQL). Even better was how easy it was to embed the map into another application, just copy and paste a link and you’re good to go! I made my post here showing off the map that I created during class.



  1. I also agree that it’s important to use this powerful tool with good intention and not to spread misinformation to the public.

    • I agree with both of you about the dissemination of misinformation! While tools like this are exciting because they enable lots of information to be shared easily, that is also one of their issues – misinformation can be spread and even with elements like layers being verified by Esri, you should be conscious of where your data is coming from and if it has been peer reviewed or approved!

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