GIS Story Maps Spring 2021
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AUA Students Create GIS Story Maps in Various Courses

4 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — The American University of Armenia (AUA) proudly presents an online exhibition of student story maps completed by AUA students in the Spring 2021 semester within the scope of the Geographic Information Systems course (CSE 145). The exhibition projects the multi-purpose application of GIS through stories that cross multiple disciplines and integrate knowledge acquired beyond the GIS course. More importantly, the works included in the exhibition demonstrate the effective use of GIS to answer questions, to solve problems, and to explore different topics through spatial analysis. The online exhibition is featuring the story maps briefly sketched below.

Korea: The Land of the Morning Calm Created by Kristine Manukyan for the course CHSS 152: Introduction to Korean Language & Culture.

The story map “Korea” displays the optimal integration of knowledge and skills gained in two AUA courses taken in different semesters: CHSS 152 — Introduction to Korean Language & Culture and CSE 145 — Geographic Information Systems. The author uses the Story Map Cascade application of ArcGIS Online to display information relevant to her topic. Her objective is that the story map about Korea will serve as a medium to get specific information on Korea or to simply be introduced to the country in general. 

Map of Armenian Literature – Created by Karen Petrosyan and Emma Hovhannisyan (BSDS ’23) for the course Armenian Language and Literature

This is an interactive map that guides you through the places depicted in a number of literary works by Armenian writers (mostly contemporary). The main objective of the work is to brand the places, towns, and cities in Armenia and elsewhere that have provided the background of literary works and display their relative proximity to one another. Besides getting introduced to the Armenian literary works described in the map, the reader is able to visualize how these places have evolved over time, attaching new meaning to each. The story map would be useful for literature-loving tourists to visit those places, adding a new fulfilling dimension and experience to their trip to Armenia. The students have used ArcGIS in this project, making use of every tool the platform provides to bring their creative ideas to fruition.

Disasters in Amazon RainforestPrepared by Hasmik Marukhyan for the course Disasters. 

This story map was created with the help of ArcGIS online, which lended the shapefile for the rainforest area. Other useful maps online provided the locations of rainforest disasters. The student used eye-catching imagery, a separator tool, and slide-like pages to clearly illustrate the distinct disasters, their causes, and how they were managed to the viewer.

From a Student’s Perspective: American Literature with Dr. Elitza Kotzeva – Prepared by Samantha Isabella Adalia for the course in American Literature

This story map was created as the final project for the course in American Literature, where the student uses ArcGIS to map out the literary works covered in the course. The viewer can read about the course content and depict the coverage geographically. The map would also help students relate the works covered in their historical, social and political contexts. Additionally, the multimodal feature embedded in the map helps illustrate the postmodernist movement, blending the literature with geography. Upon clicking each data point on the map, the title of the respective literary work pops up on the screen, with the name and picture of the author, a brief summary of the work along with the student’s commentary.

Distribution of Universities in Armenia – Created by Bela Aghabalyan as part of the GIS course. 

The story map is about the distribution of universities across Armenia. The project visually depicts the existing problem of uneven distribution or accessibility of higher education institutions across the country. There are 27 state universities in Armenia, of which 23 are located in Yerevan, and only 4 are in the other marzes (provinces) of Armenia. This presents problems for many students, who reside in regions outside Yerevan and have to either commute daily relatively long distances to attend university or have to relocate to Yerevan. Considering the costs associated with either access option, many are deprived from attending university.

Let’s Explore Armenia Together – Created by Lilya Grigoryan as part of the GIS course. 

The student has developed the story map to help her plan a seven-day trip for her foreign friends visiting Armenia this summer, and to be their guide to the historical sights she is proposing to visit. To plan well and know how much time to allot for each place to visit, she has indicated the time it takes to reach each destination from her home. Considering that this is her friends’ first visit, she has mapped the top touristic sights of Armenia, including the Garni Temple, Tatev Monastery, Amberd Fortress, Sevanavank Monastery, and the Sanahin Monastery Complex. Using ArcGis, her map shows the approximate times as follows: to Garni Temple, approximately 30 minutes; to Tatev Monastery, 4 hours 30 minutes; to Sevanavank, 1 hour 10 minutes; to Amberd, 40 minutes; and to Sanahin, 3 hours 10 minutes.

The Proximity of Yerevan Buildings to the Major Roads – Prepared by Anna Misakyan as part of the GIS course. 

In this project, the student considers the infrequency of public transportation for residents of some districts in Yerevan. People living in those outskirts must drive or walk far to get to major roads. Public transportation from one such district to another is even more inaccessible and time consuming. These difficulties also create other issues, such as underdevelopment of residential or commercial construction in these outskirts and unequal distribution of the population. To help solve this problem, the author has created a story map that displays the houses that fall in this category. Her objective is to identify those hard-to-reach districts of Yerevan that could be useful for the government to plan major road construction projects in the future.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.