Open educational resources for cartography: the Thematic Mapping Tutor

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At the ITC faculty of the University of Twente, we have been teaching cartography for more then 60 years. Throughout this period, the technology of mapping has undergone spectacular changes and nowadays most students do not draw their maps any more, but use software instead. However, for maps to be effective in communication, their design still has to follow the same rules as before. Ideally, one wants to teach these design rules independently from the tools, such that the students understand how a good map works, not just which buttons to click to create it. For this purpose, we created the Thematic Mapping Tutor. It is an open, web-based system that provides a structured way of constructing thematic maps out of selected data. The system uses the input of the student to construct a map in the Vega-Lite grammar, which is transformed to web-graphics. In this paper we describe the educational philosophy behind the system, as well as technical details about its functionality. We report on first tests, and reflect on the possibilities and pitfalls of the system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2018
EventOpen Source Geospatial Research & Education Symposium (OGRS2018): 5TH OPEN SOURCE GEOSPATIAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM - Lugano, Switzerland
Duration: 8 Oct 201811 Oct 2018


ConferenceOpen Source Geospatial Research & Education Symposium (OGRS2018)
Abbreviated titleAGRIS 2018
Internet address


  • Cartography
  • Open Educational Resources
  • Web Visualisation


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