by Mikko Tamura
Last meeting, February 20,2012, was a definitely a different experience for us as a class. We were expecting that the whole day would be focused on plate making and discussions, but it was just a part of totally different experience. Our professors, Ma’am Ony and Sir Emman, planned out a different approach for that week’s meeting in which we could better grasp the concepts we have learned and apply them in different workshop activities.
The day started out with finalizing and editing our map portfolios. Next, Ma’am Ony gave us an activity in digital cartography, wherein we need to learn how to use the back wash effect, Swiss effect, and hill shade in order to present a different aspect in mapping. We were to make a map of our respective regions, presenting the capital cities with the previous effects included in the map. It was not an easy task for we were typically not used to the new effects though it was worth it for we have added a new skill in designing and presenting valuable and significant data.
Our professor then asked us to stop what we were doing to give way to a presentation provided by Mr. David Jonathan Garcia, one of our mentors from the Geography Department. He mainly talked about tips on how to make our maps better. He also delved on the perspectives in making maps, tackling how important it is for the cartographer to know the purpose of making the map and for whom the map is for. At the end of the discussion he gave us some pretty good advice on lay-out, visual hierarchy, use of font, and many more that will indeed help and prepare us in making better maps. In fact, we were still talking about the things Sir DJ said during our lunch break.
Later that day, Ma’am Ony asked us to step out of class and head to the 2nd Floor Lobby of Palma Hall. We did not expect the following things to happen. Our professors planned out work shop activities for us where in we could better understand and apply the concepts in making maps. With the help of Ms. Car Zabala (who recently finished BS Geography), we completed 3 activities wherein we could practice and stimulate our skills in organizing our thoughts.
In the first activity, we were grouped by pair. Then we were given seven coins and 5 minutes in which we have to present our randomly drawn concept. We were to only use the materials given and present our concept in its most creative way. The concepts given were things that are also important in cartography like logic, passion, emotion, and hierarchy. It was very challenging for we have to work in pairs and some words were typically hard to present with the limited materials. We have learned in this activity how to cooperate and form a consensus in pairs. In addition, we understood how map making is similar to what we have done. The art of map making becomes challenging because we would have to present things in with limited space on the paper at the same time it should convey perfectly what we want to present to our readers.
The second part of the workshop was an individual activity. Basically the mechanics were to draw something using the letters of the word “PEACE” wherein the concept is imbibed in the drawing. We were given 20 minutes in order to come up with a portrait and later explain our designs.
The third activity was also individually done. This time we were given a blank paper with 9 equally sized circles in it. The challenge was to draw anything we want that are all connected, and were to draw only inside the 9 circles. This activity was quite easier as compared to the second one for we were not limited with the use of concepts and representations. This in fact gave us an idea that the challenge was not only to logically connect things and link concepts but also reminds us of the reality that in making maps we are also given the task of presenting which element is more important and how are we able to present things with limited space.
The day was very tiring but nonetheless productive. Our class has learned so much that meeting about map making. After the activity, we were driven with the inspiration of gaining new understanding about cartography. Indeed, learning is not bounded by the four corners of the classroom. Learning can be more encouraging when the students are exposed to different environments once in a while.