Background image: Students working on desktop computers in a computer lab
Image credit:
Joel Wanek

The Cartography and GIS Education (CAGE) Lab is the Geography Department’s center for instruction of cartography and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and is innovating mapmaking pedagogy by melding the art and practice of traditional cartography with the spatial analysis tools of GIS.

What happens when people, experiences, or environments are left out of our data? How do we create maps to better reflect the diversity of relations between people and their environments?

For the past 30 years, the Cartography and Geospatial Education (CAGE) Lab has taught students that how we count, calculate, and represent the world matters! It is both a space of self-discovery and community. The CAGE Lab allows students to access softwares essential for coursework and research, including ArcGIS, remote sensing platforms, and the Adobe Creative Suite, in a space where students can focus, hone in on their work, and collaborate with others. Most of our students do not have personal computers that can run these programs, so having access to this space and all the technology it provides is especially important.

The CAGE Lab is currently home to eight Geography courses. It allows our Physical Geography faculty to take advantage of the many visualizations available for showing Earth system flows, like atomosphere and ocean currents, and online tools to aid conceptual understanding of physical phenomena, like the greenhouse effect and glacier flows. Our innovative sonic and visual geographies courses simply wouldn't be possible without the specialized software and powerful computers in the CAGE Lab. And of course, faculty rely on the CAGE Lab to help students  develop critical knowledge and skills in web-mapping, geographic information science, remote sensing applications, and cartography, including how these tools take on and reinforce fundamental geographical concepts and shape our lives, our environments and, increasingly, our futures. Our faculty are hoping to expand our current course offerings in new directions, such as deep learning and neural networks, visual computing and 3D modeling, and game design.

Without the CAGE Lab, it would be impossible for students to learn some of the most valuable skills they can have as geographers. In this space, undergraduate and graduate students learn how to use geospatial tools and ask deep questions about the technologies geographers use, helping them to become more critical and ethical geospatial scientists.


GEOG 40, Introduction to Earth System Science

GEOG 80, An Introduction to Geospatial Technologies: Mapping, Space and Power

GEOG 85, Mapping: Space, Cartography and Power

GEOG 172, Sonic Geographies of Oakland: A Field Exploration

GEOG 183, Cartographic Representation

GEOG 185, Earth System Remote Sensing

GEOG C188, Geographic Information Systems

GEOG 189, Visual Geography

In the CAGE Lab, students interact and collaborate in ways that lecture courses simply can't offer.

John Isom, Lecturer

The CAGE Lab totally changed my ability to pursue GIS technology as a career after I graduate.

Char Tomlinson, undergraduate student