Geography course contributes to sesquicentennial

March 3, 2016

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Platteville Assistant Professor of Geography Lynnette Dornak and her Introduction to Geographic Information Systems class have completed a campus mapping project to contribute to the UW-Platteville 150th celebration.

Each of the students in this class was asked to complete a campus mapping project in which they chose an aspect of the campus to track and map over the last 150 years. Students were prompted to conduct research through the Southwest Wisconsin Room in Ullsvik Hall to find photos, aerial photography and hand-drawn maps as well as use online resources to complete their work.

Dornak explained how one of the challenges of the project was using the archival research. “One of the problems that we found was that even for the hand-drawn maps, which are called bird’s-eye view maps, are at an oblique,” she said. “It’s like you’re in a hot-air balloon looking across the horizon. So, that doesn’t translate very well to a map space where you’re looking actually down.”

Philip Schulz, a senior geography major from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was one of the students who contributed a map that examined three different time periods throughout the 150 years.

“I specifically did three periods of time, within the 150 years, and what buildings were added in those periods,” Schulz said. “The first map is sort of colorful because there’s a base map of the entire area. Three time frames are separated by color, so if it was made before 1970 it’s blue; if it’s between 1970 and 2000, it’s orange; and I chose green for anything after 2000.”

Schulz is one of many students who have contributed work toward the 150th celebration, and feels excited about playing an active role. “It feels like kind of a big deal when you realize that the campus has been around for 150 years, and they want this GIS class to make all these maps of it, just so the university can use it and put it out there,” he said.

In August of 2015, UW-Platteville began celebrating its 150th anniversary. For 150 years the university has provided affordable and accessible education to students of Southwest Wisconsin and more recently to students in Iowa, Illinois and other parts of the country and the world. For more information about the sesquicentennial, visit /150.

Written by: Emalydia Flenory, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194,

Vision Statement: UW-Platteville will be recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities, and empowering each individual.


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