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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Rossiter, David A.

Second Advisor

Wang, Grace A.

Third Advisor

Laninga, Tammara Jean


Recent literature cites interest toward utilizing new technologies to unify methods within geography. One area showing promise towards fulfilling this goal is qualitative GIS (QGIS), which combines the methods of social/cultural and spatial/analytical geographers. QGIS research combines sketch maps with GIS and qualitative research methods to uncover “hidden geographies” found within the individual geo-narratives of individuals and within groups of individuals. This thesis explores the merits of using newly developed technology for digital sketch maps acquisition, computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) and qualitative geographic information system (QGIS) analysis for the discovery of “hidden geographies”. The case study demonstrates the utility of touchscreen technology to collect sketch maps and the complementary effect of combining social/cultural and spatial/analytical methods to visualize the hidden geography within the therapeutic landscape of student veterans in Whatcom County, Washington. This exploration also suggests direction for further research using digital sketch map acquisition for gaining insights into other socio-spatial processes that are not captured by traditional geographical analysis methods.




Sketch maps, Cognitive maps, Mental maps, CAQ-GIS, Qualitative GIS, Digital sketch map collection, Geographic information systems (GIS), Geo-referencing, Mixed methods, Data integration, Qualitative analysis software, Therapeutic landscapes, Hidden geographies



Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Cognitive maps (Psychology)--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Case studies; Veterans--Mental health--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Case studies--Maps; Health services accessibility--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Case studies--Maps

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)




masters theses




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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.