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Dr. Kenneth Foote to speak at OU, Voinovich School

Austin Stahl
March 15, 2013

Dr. Kenneth E. Foote, author of the award-winning book "Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy," will be presenting a lecture to Voinovich School faculty, staff, and students on narrative cartography in Building 21 (The Ridges, Athens Campus) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20.

This presentation is one of multiple side lectures that Foote will conduct at Ohio University in addition to his main public lecture on how colleges and
universities have responded to recent tragedies on their campuses. The public
lecture will take place in Baker Center Theatre on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Foote currently serves as the chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado. He is a former president of both the American Association of Geographers and the National Council for Geographic Education, one of only a few persons to have held both offices.


Narrative cartography is the practice of using spatial data and maps to tell historical stories. Such maps can be used to tell stories that hit close to home in an area, such as the complex history of The Ridges or the multitude of issues from decades of coal mining across Appalachia.

The Voinovich School has an experienced team dedicated to geographic information systems (GIS) which plays a role in narrative cartography, and the team regularly works with students on these projects. For example, in 2012, environmental studies graduate student Karla Sanders, under adviser Dr. Bernhard Debatin, a professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, created a detailed map of the Raccoon Creek watershed. The map contains information about trail attractions and recreational activities in the area, water trail access points, creek facts, geologic, human, water quality, and land use history, native plant and animal species, socioeconomic dynamics, and watershed resources. It is unique in bringing together all this information into one place, combined with aesthetically pleasing artwork, design and detailed directions.

Foote is a leading expert in narrative cartography. More information about this lecture can be found here.

Sanders' piece can be viewed here.