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Sites & Sightlines: A Study of University of Utah Communities & Ecosystems

A geospatial representation of a sampling of site location around the University of Utah campus included in the Sites & Sightlines project.

By Justin Sorensen

Today’s Map Monday release will highlight a recent collaborative project involving graduate students from the Environmental Humanities program and several departments of the J. Willard Marriott Library. Led by visiting Professor Gretchen Henderson, the project is entitled “Sites & Sightlines” and focuses on exploring home communities and ecosystems at the University of Utah. Participating students of this project were tasked with identifying a specific site on or around the University of Utah campus, exploring the histories and interconnections between them while incorporating concepts instructed on throughout the course. The results of each student’s work are shared through the Sites & Sightlines project website¬† hosted by the Marriott Library containing images, descriptive narratives, and podcasts recorded by students themselves.

For the GIS portion of this project, I had the privilege of working closely with Professor Henderson and her students to design, develop, and deploy interactive mapping components representing each site selected by the students while demonstrating their connections to each other on a geospatial level. Incorporating the interactive capabilities of ArcGIS Online, viewers of this project can select a keyword topic of interest to display all sites related to that term. Utilizing a mobile device, viewers can then participate in a walking tour around campus, displaying GPS navigable paths to connect each related location while providing an interactive presentation to viewers at each site visited.

Throughout the development of this project, several Marriott Library departments have shared their expertise, resources, and services to assist in bringing this project to life including Digital Scholarship Services, Media Production Services, Web Development, and GIS Services. It is projects like Sites & Sightlines that demonstrate the Marriott Library’s commitment to foster collaborative partnerships with the campus community while supporting the successful research and project development of University students, staff, and faculty.

Interested in learning more about the Sites & Sightlines project? Check out the project website @

Interested in developing a similar project? Reach out to GIS Services to learn more.

About Map Monday from GIS Services:

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will be releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics, demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into research and projects you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects, or to learn more about the geospatial services offered through the J. Willard Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

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