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*UMD Short-term: Mapping in Belize: Conservation & Cultural Preservation
Punta Gorda, Belize (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: May Session
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Class Standing: 2-Sophmore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior Housing: Hotel/Hostel
Type of Program: Faculty Led Short-term Program: Yes
Program Description:

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Program Highlights
  • Learn how mapping techniques can be used to study the beautiful and pristine southern Belize landscape
  • Investigate the deforestation, urbanization, agricultural practices and hurricane impacts using GPS data and satellite imagery
  • Visit a Mayan village to experience the everyday life of the extant Mayan people and explore ancient ruins
  • Spend time in Punta Gorda and Placencia, with an eclectic mingling of Mopan and Kekchi Maya, Garifuna, Creoles, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples
  • Enjoy free time to take part in activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing or hiking

Program Overview
Cities visited: Punta Gorda, Aguacate Village and Placencia
Dates: May 18 – June 5, 2015


Satellite imagery is fairly ubiquitous today with ready access to Google Earth and other online mapping applications. There are many ways to interpret satellite imagery, and not only the bird’s eye photo interpretation that we have grown accustom to. Explore and delve into a variety of ways to read and interpret an image through the science of remote sensing.

The novice mapper to the geospatially proficient will gain meaningful field experience and lab practicum. Learn to combine field data and satellite imagery to render valuable information about the Maya Gold landscape. Collaborate on a mapping project with the Ya’axche Conservation Trust, a Belizean organization which aims to maintain healthy forests, rivers and reefs. Utilize Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and remote sensing techniques to create informative cartographically derived outputs.

Enjoy a unique cultural experience where community-based needs are paramount. Stay in a Mayan village to discover that Mayans are much more than an end of the world prediction. Meet with the Julian Cho Foundation to learn about the work they do to support and manifest Mayan heritage by preserving their culture and ancestral lands. Explore significant Mayan ruins throughout the region. 

The program will visit many significant sites; a very unique opportunity to explore the Bladen Nature Preserve, the maya ruins of Xuntinuich and Tikal, a river boat ride up the Golden Stream, snorkeling at the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, and a visit to the Belize Zoo.

Belize Body

Earn 3 credits in GEOG 3205:
Conservation and Cultural Preservation: Mapping in Belize.

Course topics include:
  • Remote sensing and methods of analyzing changing landscapes
  • Correlation of field-collected data and satellite imagery
  • Production of maps, graphs and descriptions of on-site findings
  • Mayan culture and current politics
  • Coordinated multimedia Story Map (interactive online atlas) of cultural and conservation topics
Program Leader
Kate Carlson is an instructor in the Department of Geography at University of Minnesota Duluth. Her areas of focus are world regional geography, physical geography, cartography and GIS. More information about the program can be found on her website here.

Program Costs

May Session 2015
Program Fee: $4,089
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $541

Estimated Total Cost: $4,630

What’s included in the program fee?
  • Personalized advising
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Tuition
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Housing (shared bunkhouse rooms)
  • Some meals
  • Local transportation
  • Field trips & entry fees
  • CISI international travel, health and security coverage
  • Faculty leader support
  • Re-entry support
View the breakdown of costs for Mapping in Belize. These estimated costs do not include the application fee. Financial aid only applies to students who take at least 6 credits total during May and Summer session combined. Credits taken on study abroad programs cannot be used in tuition banding. Apply for scholarships.

Travel Documents
A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of the program is required.

Know the following program information to provide on the online application

Country: Belize
Program Name: Mapping in Belize: Conservation and Cultural Preservation

Early application is strongly encouraged, as space is limited and the program will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Completed applications require an essay and an unofficial transcript. A non-refundable application fee of $50 will be billed to students’ One Stop account upon submission of an online application.

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UMD 138 Kirby Plaza, 1208 Kirby Drive, Duluth MN 55812
Email | (218) 726 8764 or (877) 755-4200

UMD faculty & staff photo contributions by: Kate Carlson, Amanda Evans and Arianna Austin

This program is currently not accepting applications.