Bostonia is published in print three times a year and updated weekly on the web.
Suchi Gopal bursts into her classroom, buzzing with energy. The 11 graduate students parked behind glowing computer monitors rouse themselves from reverie. It’s late in the semester and they are preoccupied with their final projects. But Gopal has more to teach. “Aha!” she claps with delight. “Today we will do some math!”
She grabs a piece of chalk and draws a grid on the blackboard, then fills in numbers: temperature data from points across the United States. Gopal, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment, is a renowned expert (and devoted teacher) in the field of geographic information systems (GIS). It’s what laypeople might call “making maps with computers.” And, as Gopal teaches, maps are power.