Satisfies General Education Category F (Quantitative Reasoning)

Every day we rely on maps and spatial data. Our phones find the best route to school. Logistics software powered by GIS enables same-day deliveries of our favorite products. Public health authorities use spatial dashboards to show the changing patterns of COVID-19 in real time. Space has become a foundational organizing principle in our modern world. But how did it happen?

SSCI 135 explores spatial science from the ancient Greeks to the rapidly advancing field of modern GPS. Behind every well-made map is a thousand decisions. We will explore these choices through the lens of applied mathematics.

Topics include:

  • Location and geodetic principles. Where are you?
  • Impactful cartography. What do you want to say?
  • Map projections. How do you make a flat map from a round globe?
  • Working with spatial data. How do you simplify a chaotic world into a useful model?