Geospatial Science 125

GEOS 125

Catalog Entry

GEOS 125. Introduction to Geospatial Data (T)
Three hours lecture/laboratory (3).

Prerequisite: 3 hours of Geography or permission of instructor.

Study of how physical and cultural information is presented on maps. Construction of maps, charts and graphs depicting geographic phenomena.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

  • Communicating Basic Spatial Ideas

To include such concepts as location, distance, direction, scale, map projections and coordinate systems. Among concepts to be learned are the shape of the earth and the importance and use of different spheroids (ellipsoids) and datum.

  • Depicting the Shape of the Land

This section is an introduction to the use of analog and digital topographic map series including map symbology, distance measurements, area, elevation (including DRGs and DEMs of all scales), slope and profiles.

  • Interpreting Topographic Maps

Practical work in interpreting the cultural and physical information presented on maps such as landforms, drainage patterns, forest cover, transportation patterns, rural and urban settlement patterns, and industrial and mining features.

  • Interpreting and Constructing Thematic Maps, Charts, and Graphs

Introduce concepts in cartographic design in planning, layout, typography, color theory and selection, and user issues; techniques of map production (printed, plotted, and electronic display); and the graphic representation of geographic data using charts and graphs .


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course emphasizes hands-on application of techniques and skills. Students working individually or in small groups will apply concepts of map reading and interpretation and learn basic techniques for portraying geographic data on maps, graphs, and charts. Two-thirds of the course is devoted to lab work employing individual and cooperative/group learning strategies to master the material presented in lectures and covered in reading assignments.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to read and interpret maps encountered in future courses in geography and other academic disciplines. The student will also be able to construct maps and graphs to supplement written work required throughout his or her academic and professional careers. The student will be equipped with basic technical skills essential for a successful career in geography and useful in other areas of endeavor as well.


Assessment Measures

Students’ progress in mastering the concepts and skills required for successful completion of this course will be assessed by a series of lab exercises, quizzes and examinations given throughout the course. Progress toward achievement of student outcomes will also be assessed during the lab periods when work by individuals and/or small groups ill be reviewed by the instructor.


Other Course Information

The Department of Geography’s Spatial Data Analysis laboratory is equipped with modern personal computers loaded with the most current versions of Geographic Information software that students have access to throughout the course. The department has also an excellent analog map library that will be used extensively to gain the hands-on experience with map reading, interpretation and analysis.


Review and Approval

Date Action Approval
October 12, 2005 Revised Bernd H. Kuennecke

February 15, 2010