Introduction to Mapping discusses fundamental concepts that inform spatial data related research, the use of GIS tools, and mapping project creation. While the focus in this section will be on spatial data based maps (i.e., GIS), it is important to note that simple maps can be created in tools like Knighlab StoryMaps, Google MyMaps, and even ArcGIS Online without sophisticated data. In this case, marks are made on maps using things like "pins" and "notes" that can either be added by searching coordinates or manually placing them on a designated image.
Integrating mapping methods into a DS project can offer a variety of helpful advantages in terms of visualization, storytelling, and analysis. Mapping can make complex information and arguments more digestible to the average reader, combining a multitude of information into a single comprehensible figure. It can also help an author tell a story with their data, guiding the viewer around a landscape as the story unfolds with tools such as Knightlab Storymaps. Finally, it opens the door to more specialized spatial analysis through the use of programs like ArcGIS or QGIS, taking advantage of modern computing to reinforce an academic argument to an audience.