Think Spatial: Think Maps & Success

Some students panic as finals week approaches. They worry that they have too much to do, between tests, papers, and the like. Many want or need to make their work stand out, to give it an edge in the grading process. Sometimes, a visual may be what’s needed. And sometimes, BYU’s own Think Spatial, a map making and data analysis club, can help.

Think Spatial: What is it?

Courtesy of Think Spatial

This club specializes in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) training and analysis and cartography: “Think Spatial is a consulting agency run by students to serve the geospatial needs of the BYU community, including students, faculty, and administration.  Since 2013, we have made maps for scholarly publications, developed web mapping sites, helped administrative units develop spatial data, and assisted professors in conducting analysis for their research,” says Roman Huerta, the group’s president.

They provide training so that students can analyze, understand, and display their data in new ways. One-on-one sessions enable them to tailor their training so that students can create their own professional-looking maps.

What are People Saying About It?

Professional is the very definition of their work, says Devan Jensen, BYU’s Religious Studies Center’s executive editor. He has had the group make maps for various books, including An Introduction to the Book of Abraham by John Gee, as well as Richard Cowan’s Provo’s Two Temples and The Oakland Temple: Portal to Eternity. Of Think Spatial’s work, Jensen said, “Overall, they did outstanding work: highly professional results at a good price. The students are a joy to work with. In particular, Roman Huerta exudes great enthusiasm and follows through very well on projects.”

HBLL Communications/PR Manager Roger Layton had much the same to say about Think Spatial: “I don’t have the final maps yet, but I’m happy with the maps I’ve seen. The students were great to work with. They asked good questions and they were very detail oriented in their work.” The club is making floor maps of the library. Layton anticipates that these will help us to better find what we are looking for.

It is this zeal coupled with the members’ talents that have pushed Think Spatial forward.

Have You Ever Made a Map?


2 thoughts on “Think Spatial: Think Maps & Success

  1. You have done maps for me before. LaJean Carruth and I are editing a journal of George D. Watt when he leaves Liverpool in 1851 and travels to Salt Lake City. We have divided this book into three parts. We need three maps. You did one for my book on George D. Watt, The Mormon Passage of George D. Watt, p.85. It is a map of his coming from Liverpool to New Orleans and then to Salt Lake City. We need that map from Liverpool to New Orleans. Then we need a map that will take him from New Orleans to Kanesville (Council Bluffs) We would like a more detailed map of that with some of the cities labeled. He stops at St. Louis and that would have to be noted. I think that map would need to show the river system also. The Mississipppi going northward and the Missouri going at least a little beyond Kanesville. We would also need a map going from Kanesville to Salt Lake City. There is a map in Mapping Mormonism on page 80-81 that is ideal, but it would not have the quote from Thomas Bullock, nor the camps with numbers. It would also need to start at Kanesville and not Winter Quarters, but that is just across the river. The other item is I presume it would have to be shrunk from that map. I would be willing to come to Provo and talk to you about these maps. This book is being published, we hope, by the University of Nebraska press. We don’t have a contract yet. We find out definite tomorrow. Also can you give us a price. LaJean is able to get a grant for costs, but she needs an estimate by you first.
    Thanks for your help.

    Ron Watt
    You can contact me at

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