Jenna Witzleben

Ecology School blog

Welcome to the Ecology School blog, where I document my ongoing self-education in ecology, landscape design, and urban design.

UCL Course I and Figure-Ground Diagrams

As mentioned in a prior post, I’ve started to take the online Urban Graphics courses through UCL. I’m finding them to be a great starting point, helping me to identify what I need to learn, but it does feel like I could use some more context to supplement the provided tutorials.

The first part of the multi-part course covers Figure-Ground diagrams. You should definitely check it out if you are interested in getting into urban mapping and GIS graphics. You should also check out the following links.

Delhi, created using Open Street Maps

Delhi, created using Open Street Maps

Takapuna in Auckland, created via Youtube tutorial below

Takapuna in Auckland, created via Youtube tutorial below

To learn about what is figure-ground and why is it useful:


To learn how to create a figure-ground diagram from scratch (UCL provides base graphics for their tutorial, but usually we’ll need to leverage open platforms to create maps like these)

I’ve also started to use the ArchGIS plug-in for Illustrator at work, as New Orleans using ArchGIS online for many of their public maps. I’ll likely explore this and other GIS software/work flows further in my next round of online courses, and will share my findings here.

Hand-tracing Bloomsbury in London

Hand-tracing Bloomsbury in London

Some additional tools:





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