Final Projects

Here you can view the final projects produced by this class. Papers are below and labs are here. Most projects are online and you can read the full text by clicking on its title. Feel free to contact the authors of non-published projects using the emails given.

We encourage Bates students, faculty, staff, and local community groups to use the labs as starting points for future work on campus, in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and beyond. Students have created templates for working with historical map imagery in Historypin, performing energy audits of campus buildings and documenting this information in OpenStreetMaps, and mapping bike racks on campus.


Hot Dam: How Researchers Tracked and Displayed Changes in Topography and Hydrology During the Removal of the Elwha River Dams
By Haley Crim and Katie Stone

The Elwha dam removal research is used in this paper as a case study for examining how modern mapping revolutionized the scientific study and reporting of data. The confluence of rapid topographic change and collection of massive amounts of geographical data made maps the best way to contextualize and communicate researchers’ data. This data, visualized spatially, is very useful to study how dams and dam removal affects ecosystems, water movement, and geological features, and much of it has been compiled in maps of the area. Researchers studying these changes create and compare maps just like they would tables and graphs to determine and communicate the extent of change made by the installation and removal of dams.

Peters Projection: A Critical Analysis of Arno Peters’ Atlas and a Defense of the Mercator Projection By Matt Johnson and Grace Link

The goal of our paper is to analyze the presumed accuracies of the Arno Peters projection and to defend the Mercator projection. We will start by explaining the original purpose of the Mercator projection, designed with rhumb lines in order to assist sailors in navigation, and then continue to explain the history of the Peters projection as well as the intentions aimed at improving the political inequality presented in the Mercator. We then elaborate on how the Peters projection’s political inaccuracies differ from its scientific inaccuracies in order to support how the Mercator was not a synthesis of eurocentricity and racist ideology, but instead an innovative means for naval navigation.

The Effect of Ancestry on Regional Culture in the United States By Andrew Mikula and Nick Coker

This essay studies the regionalization of the United States that directly resulted from the historical immigration of various ethnic groups into the country, as portrayed by the U.S. Census Bureau in a 2010 projection. The demographic information inherent within the map was analyzed to highlight the social, economic, and political implications of the map that give the map a practical purpose by being of use to the general public. Specifically, the map emphasizes that state boundaries do not directly dictate different cultural regions, which helps to explain political polarization across regions and may be critical in making political or business decisions.

The Influence of Society and Economics on Map Reading By Quintin Pollart

Throughout history, the ways that maps are made, and used, have changed.  Although at times cartographers are mapping the same regions and land aspects, there are forces that change the way that these results are seen by the public.  In order to demonstrate the fickle nature of how maps are read, this paper will examine the Arctic from its time as a potential passage and whaling ground, to its current position as an environmental indicator.  Through this example I hope to show the ways in which maps of even one place are not static in their influence of meaning.

The Missing Maps Project and Political Vulnerability By Callie Reynolds

In this essay, I will first argue that a vulnerable place is defined as a place without access to the resources that could help prevent or better treat other disasters. Then, I will argue that the Missing Maps project has the potential to inspire local members of vulnerable communities to take on leadership position.

Mapping the Severity of Japanese Internment during WWII By Kate Schiller

Mapping is a representational process; therefore, it is a subjective process. Mapmakers influence what data their map represents and how it does so; they can tailor their maps to their agendas, often influencing how their audience perceives certain information. For example, maps created to represent historic information can alter how people perceive a certain time period or event. Historypin, an online map of the United States that displays photographs based on where they were taken, does this. In exploring how mapmakers use Historypin to represent Japanese internment camps during World War II, it is evident that even maps of the same place and of the same topic, can communicate two completely different points to their audience. Contact for more information.

The Fall of Secret Trails: An example of how the collaborative mapping culture has influenced mountain biking By Gordon Platt

This essay is about the intersection of maps and mountain biking. Maps that are created and edited by users, such as Strava and OpenStreetMap, allow anyone to make the maps that correspond with their perception of reality. OpenStreetMap is a voluntary editor while the Strava heatmap is composed of actual GPS tracks and the byproduct of users’ bike rides. This essay examines a hyperlocal example of the struggle to control of maps and knowledge in the modern day, as well as the pros and cons of allowing everyone this access. A comparison is made between Strava and OSM in how easy it is or is not to control information. *Due to the private nature of this essay, the actual work is not available.* Contact for more information.

How Land Loss Has Affected Southeast Louisiana By Alex Bedard and Ryan Corley

During this project, we researched the changes of the Louisiana coastline and how it has morphed over the last couple hundred years. First, we found the quantitative data about the changes in the Louisiana coastline. After that, we found the causation of why the coastline is changing so drastically, and whether it is natural or caused by humans. Finally, we looked at what social and economic implications changes in the coastline have brought about. To further display our findings, we overlaid a map of Louisiana from present day on top of a map from 1816 to show the differences in the coastline in another setting for the reader to fully understand the changes in Louisiana.

The Relationship Between Purpose and Artistry in Mapping By Isabelle Marlow and Lindsay Stewart

In this essay we plan to argue that the progression of time has shifted the purpose and therefore the artistic style of maps. After looking at a variety of maps from all periods of time, we have selected a cartoon style map entitled “Life in Los Angeles,” which depicts socioeconomic factors across different sectors of Los Angeles. In choosing this map, we plan to highlight the stark changes in the objectives of map makers. In the nineteenth century, maps were created with the intention of documenting a specific area or to show directions to a place, whereas more modern maps can be created for a variety of different purposes and audiences. This change in purpose has led to a change in the style of maps, in that they no longer need to depict literal plots of land. This allows the map makers to be more abstract in what they depict and how they depict it. Contact or for more information.

Silver Birches on Alumni Walk by Nico Lemus and Peter Nadel

Studying the growth and effects of the Silver Birch (Betula pendula) on the Bates College campus, specifically from Alumni Walk, we then inputted our data, relative position of birch trees, on to OpenStreetMap (OSM) for future use, by other students either also studying pollen on campus, or simply cataloging trees. Contact or for more information. Their final map is here:

birch map

Sustainability Maps By Cael Schwartz and John Cannon

The goal of our project was to analyze and generate an updated map of the Bates College campus in which more opportunities for reducing waste are present. We found places on the campus where there is a fair amount of waste produced but no opportunity to recycle or compost that waste but rather only trash it. We decided to map out a better system for the Bates College campus in order to reduce waste and become more sustainable by removing dumpsters in certain locations and adding recycling centers and composting options around campus. Using JOSM, we added such tags and created a map that members of the Bates community can use to easily navigate how to dispose of waste at Bates. 

Mapping and Planning the D-Day Invasion By Graham Miller and McLeod Abbott

Our paper focuses on the mapping and planning of the D-Day invasion on June 6th 1944. It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of the world with the aim of crippling Hitler’s famed Atlantic Wall, and retaking Europe. The plan was audacious with the involvement of over 5000 landing assault craft, 2200 bombers, and nearly 160,000 troops crossing the English channel for the assault. By the end of the day “Operation Overlord” had been a resounding Allied success with a beach head established across all five landing points and at the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. Our focus has been on the different maps and mapping techniques employed by the Allied forces in the lead up and the aftermath of the battle.

Colorful, Spatial Propaganda By Lyle Seebeck

Though less famously, the Allies also used propaganda during World War II in order to properly shape public opinion. Canadian mapmaker Stanley Turner made a World War map in 1942 titled “Dated Events World War Map” that displayed the current distribution of territory around the world. By using colors and marking specific events, Turner implied to the minds of many that the Allied cause is just, the Soviets must not be completely trusted, and the Nazis will be beaten by a strong freedom coalition.


Cultivating Dynamic Orientation: Mapping as Innovative Pedagogical Practice By William Hallett

Mapping is an important concept in contemporary cartographic theory. It is understood as a concept that is separate from a map. Neurological, biological, and poststructuralist theories have been applied to the concept of mapping by scholars among various fields. The concept of a bio-geography has been outlined by Critical Race Theorist Sylvia Wynter as a component of her theories on the human as praxis. This short essay posits the possible importance of incorporating mapping exercises in K-12 classrooms as a means of dynamically connecting children to their spatiotemporal environments. Further, it queries the traditional Cartesian/Kantian mind-body dualism. As an alternative, the concept of dynamic orientation is briefly considered through two short pieces by Gilles Deleuze (“What Children Say”) and Alexander Gerner (“Diagrammatic Thinking”). Contact for more information.



Bates Sustainability Map by Hannah Slattery and Jon Sheehan

The purpose of this project is to spatially and chronologically display a recent history of sustainability initiatives at Bates College.  By using Esri’s Story Map as a platform, we located infrastructure updates from fiscal years 2011-2014 on a map of campus and pinned descriptions of what project happened at each site.  This lab simultaneously serves as an educational tool to learn Story Mapping software and as an introduction to sustainability initiatives at Bates.  The future hope for this map is to feature it on the new sustainability page on the Bates website and to inspire students and faculty to educate themselves on the many green projects headed by facilities services.  This project can help bridge a communication gap between facilities services and Bates students and faculty. You can view the final map here. View the completed Story Map here.

History Pin Lab by Emily Ausman and Lily Kip

For our final project we will be proposing hypothetical lab based on the mythical animals found in the seas and margins of sixteenth and seventeenth century medieval maps. The goal of this project is to juxtapose these imagined creatures with the real, modern day places that they represent in order to draw conclusions about ancient perspectives on unknown and supposedly “dangerous” areas. With this lab we propose that HistoryPin expand their programming to allow images of scanned historical maps to be pinned to their modern day location. Using the model of the HistoryPin website students completing the lab would pinned scanned photos of the mythical creatures to the geographical region that they were originally drawn in and provide historical data along with the pin.


Heat Loss Inefficiency Mapping For Bates Sustainability By Porter Harrast

Without much data to work from, my lab is a workflow designed to help a sustainability project director create an energy loss map of the buildings on Bates campus. I start by declaring what knowledge is already organized according to the Bates energy director John Rasmussen, and acknowledge that data on the buildings regarding insulation and building materials is somewhat disorganized and incomplete. After giving suggestions for how to calculate heat loss from surveying, I walk through how to use Open Street Maps to draw and add tags to buildings, and how to export into QGIS. Lastly, I describe in detail how to present the building heat loss data effectively on a QGIS map. If you are interested in working on this project, contact and

Mapping the Locations of Bicycle Racks at Bates College Lab By Elizah Laurenceau and Joanna Schafer

Replacing bikes for gas-emitting vehicles is essential for creating a welcoming sustainable environment, and these green vehicles need storage. At Bates College, sustainability and green-living is preached in the mission statement. For that reason, many students choose to use bikes as opposed to motorized vehicles. Throughout campus there are multiple bike racks; your job is to locate and tag these racks in OpenStreetMaps. This website permits anyone to become mapmakers and accepts all accurate information, regardless of its origin. The number of bike racks on campus give a brief glimpse of the college’s dedication to creating a green campus. Contact or for more information.

Page created by Haley Crim, Katie Stone, Grace Link, and Matt Johnson.