In 2008 I took a course on geographic information systems (GIS), which included four labs and a final project using the program ArcGIS. I never got very good at it, but learned to stumble my way through until I got what I needed.
In 2012 I presented a poster at Shared Tables: A Triangle Symposium on Global and Local Food Studies. The poster, Mapping the Impact of Cash Transfers on Food Insecurity in Brazil (2004-2009), gave me an opportunity (and a deadline) to incorporate maps into my research. I ended up using two maps from it in my dissertation.
After I’d moved to Portland and was looking for work I decided to devote some time to developing my skills, including getting better at ArcGIS. I soon had the opportunity to help my friend Santiago Anria with maps for his dissertation on The MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) in Bolivia, President Evo Morales’s political party. The series of maps for presidential elections really shows the party’s spread over space and time.
My next project is to make maps to show the distribution of ELGL members throughout the country.