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Programs and Online Courses


Yearly Schedule

New Map Plus courses are designed around an 8-week term, rather than the traditional 16-week semester. Given the compressed time schedule, the course work (both in class time and assignments) is much more intensive in order to provide the same level of instruction. Therefore, students are advised to ensure that they have sufficient time in their schedule to complete the work load, roughly 10-12 hours per week focused on class work for a three credit course.

Fall Terms

Spring Terms

Fall-1 2024: 8/26/2024 — 10/20/2024
Fall-2 2024: 10/21/2024 — 12/15/2024

Spring-1 2025: 1/13/2025 — 3/7/2025
Spring-2 2025: 3/10/2025 — 5/9/2025

The New Maps Plus Program

In order to design an initiative around eight week courses we have devised an alternative yearly schedule consisting of two eight week course periods back-to-back in both the Spring and Fall semesters. The exact dates of the four course periods is fixed to the yearly schedule of the University of Kentucky and is detailed above. Credit for courses will be assigned (e.g., appear on transcripts) to regular UK semesters and summer sessions.

The New Maps Plus initiative consists of a graduate certificate (11 credits) and a Master's of Science degree (30 credits) that builds on the 11 credits that make up the certificate. The graduate certificate is currently accepting students to begin in Fall 2024 (applications for a Spring 2024 start are closed). Admissions to the MS program are currently paused. Courses are offered entirely online and run for eight weeks each in one of four terms beginning in August, October, January and March of every year.

These courses provide a curriculum rich with technical training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and online mapping including the creation and use of geodata, cutting-edge techniques for scraping geodata from social media and other web-based sources, as well as online spatial visualization tools such as Mapbox Studio and D3. Moreover, the New Maps Plus initiative challenges students to critically engage with potential pitfalls of online mapping such as locational privacy and changing technical standards.

The University of Kentucky is well positioned with instructional assets in critical GIS and online mapping, as well as strong ties to academic and industrial networks. This enables the New Maps Plus initiative to serve a largely untapped market in online degrees in GIS and mapping amid an unfolding location-aware future.

New Maps Plus Graduate Certificate Courses

MAP671 Introduction to New Mapping (3 credits)
(next session begins August 26, 2024)
MAP672 Programming for Web Mapping (4 credits)
(next session begins October 21, 2024)
MAP673 Design for Interactive Web Mapping (4 credits)
(next session begins August 26, 2024)

Graduate Certificate in Digital Mapping

The New Maps Plus graduate certificate in digital mapping is designed to serve the expanding landscape of mapping. This includes new professional sites and applications where maps are made by various people (from small business owners to non-profit managers to marketers) using all kinds of (often freely available) software and websites. Video overview of program.

Admissions requires a bachelor's degree but no prior GIS or mapping experience is necessary. Holders of the graduate certificate will be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate applications of different forms of geospatial data, analytical techniques and mapping software platforms.
  • Gather, integrate, transform and analyze geospatial data from multiple sources.
  • Create static and interactive maps and visualizations in accordance with prevailing and rigorous cartographic standards.
  • Develop basic web-based programs and scripts utilizing web standards to enhance user interaction with maps.
  • Identify and implement appropriate applications of design components to maximize the usability of maps.
  • Construct a publicly-available online portfolio of data, code, maps and accompanying explanations on an online sharing platform such as Github.


This course introduces students to both the social and technical aspects of digital mapping in the 21st century. Students will learn fundamental concepts and techniques in cartography and GIS, including file types, data classification, projections and coordinate systems and elementary analytical techniques in a range of desktop and web-based mapping platforms. In addition to providing the fundamental technical competencies necessary to create maps, students will develop the critical awareness required to effectively communicate complex social processes through maps.


This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts and techniques of web development and computer programming through web mapping. Students will become familiar with current web standards and proficient in manipulating the structural, stylistic and behavioral elements of web maps through programming. Students will translate these practices to achieve objectives in web cartography such as the display of a basemap, the thematic representation of data, and the employment of interaction to enhance visual communication and the presentation of information.


This course integrates the principles of geographic representation and web programming in order for students to develop high-quality interactive web maps. Students will design interactive web map projects that appropriately represent spatial data in order to serve end-user goals of map engagement and visual communication. The course will train students to compose interactive maps within the context of a coherent web page layout, including the development of supplementary content (such as text and metadata) to aid in visual storytelling.


New Maps Plus Master of Science Courses

MAP701 History of Critical Cartography (2 credits)
MAP719 Social Impacts of New Mapping (3 credits)
MAP674 Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (4 credits)
MAP675 Collaborative Geovisualization (4 credits)
MAP698 Final Project Preparation (3 credits)
MAP699 Final Project Implementation (3 credits)
MAP695 Special Topics in Digital Mapping (1-4 credits)    

Master of Science (MS) in Digital Mapping

NOTE: Admissions to the MS in Digital Mapping program is temporarily paused, and we will not be admitting students during the 2024-25 academic year. Students will first complete 11 credits that comprise the graduate certificate, followed by 13 credits of courses to expand their skills, insights and engagement with mapping. Upon completing these 24 credits students would take two courses for three credits each to prepare and implement their final Master’s project under the supervision of faculty members. Upon completion of 30 credits students will be able to:

  • Analyze a geographic problem using advanced techniques of quantitative spatial analysis.
  • Build online visualizations that integrate spatial analysis, web programming and advanced design techniques.
  • Discuss the relationship between contemporary cartographic practice and historical developments in cartographic thought and methodology.
  • Explain the social context and implications of digital mapping, big data, crowdsourcing, and integrate this understanding in mapping projects.
  • Produce professional-quality, collaborative, interactive mapping projects, using advanced web-based geospatial techniques, that improves understanding of a given geographic issue.


This course will introduce students to advanced techniques for the quantitative analysis and visualization of spatial data. Students will become familiar with a broad spectrum of data cleaning, transformation, analysis, and visualization techniques helpful for answering in-depth questions based on geospatial data. Students will learn how to prepare raw source data and subsequently apply both global and local spatial analysis techniques, resulting in advanced, interactive data visualizations.


This course will enable students to build rich, user-centered web interfaces to promote the exploration and understanding of complex spatial datasets. Students will be able to critically engage with a variety of data sources (e.g., public data repositories, crowdsourced or volunteered data) and design interactive cartographic solutions in order to visualize geographic information. Students will be able to augment prototypical ‘slippy’ web maps through more advanced cartographic enablements and accompany information graphics.


This course outlines key moments and arguments in the history of cartography with particular attention to advent of digital mapping and GIScience. Students will review and discuss the epistemological and ontological tensions within the field and practice a range of philosophical approaches to cartographic representation and spatial analysis.


This seminar introduces social and cultural issues that have emerged alongside the growth of digital mapping and location based services. It reviews the evolving nature of digital divides, expert versus crowdsourced knowledge, surveillance, privacy and the ethics of big geospatial data collection and use. Students will utilize these discussions of the social impacts of new mapping to challenge and contextualize their own mapping projects.


This course will enable students to design and prepare a web mapping workflow for a project of their own selection. This project is the masterwork for the Master’s degree program in digital mapping. Students will determine a geographic problem mapping can address, identify user needs, review relevant literatures, address ethical concerns, collect and prepare the data necessary for the project. Students will also propose strategies for data representation, user interface and online dissemination of the project. This course will culminate with a project design presentation and critique by peers and instructors.


This course takes the project design developed in MAP698 and develops a mapping project based on this outline. Students will conduct data analysis, iteratively review and improve the map user interface, produce written documentation on methods used and findings and engage in intense testing of the mapping solution with peers and targeted end users. At the end of the course, students will make a real time online oral presentation and defense of the project for a committee of faculty members.