The Geographer's Craft: Fall 1994
Subject to Change
Week, Topic, and Assignments
August 31: Introduction
Topics and tasks: Introduction to course. DOS/Windows quiz. Complete final enrollment. Overview of
laboratory resources, access, and use. Purchase of supplies.
September 5: Research Concepts and
Internet and Library Resources
Topics and tasks: Consider the revolution in information technology and the way it is changing research
methodologies in the sciences and geography. Introduce the idea of the electronic classroom including the
Internet, Worldwide Web, Mosaic and library resources. Consider the issue of research methodology and
various models of analytic and scientific reasoning. Introduce electronic mail and the telnet and ftp
commands. Demonstrate how to access and use on-line class materials. Establish IF accounts. Assign
accounts and electronic mail addresses.
September 12: Mining the Internet
Topics and tasks: Further practice with Internet resources (gopher, veronica, etc.). Seminar at library.
Create on-line student directory. Practice with file use, transfer, conversion, compression, and
decompression. Discuss problems involved in navigating the Internet.
September 19: Overview of GIS as an
Integrating Technology in Geography
Topics and tasks: Overview of categories of application software used in geography and the social and
natural sciences. Introduction to GIS and comparison to other systems. Introduction to basic GIS
concepts and definitions. The idea of GIS as a model or representation of reality. Overview of
applications. Introduction to the first GIS warm-up exercises. Finish Internet warm-up exercises.
September 26: GIS and Archeology: The
Topics and tasks: Overview of recent developments in GIS and archeology. Overview of Greek
settlement of Mediterranean territories and the colonization of Metaponto. Issues to be explored in first
two warm-up exercises. Introduction to Atlas*GIS for Windows. Acquiring files through anonymous ftp
and decompression. Finish first Metaponto warm-up exercise.
October 3: Cartographic Communication
Topics and tasks: Introduction to thematic cartography applied to first maps. Overview of cartography as
a form of visual communication. Definition of audience and theme. Overview of general principles,
composition of map elements, and visual hierarchy. Experiments with point symbols and color. Problems
of realizing goals with automated systems: "Never Trust Defaults." Finish second Metaponto warm-up
October 10: Texas Campaign
Topics and tasks: Introduction to Texas electoral and demographic dynamics and Clinton campaign
strategy. Explore ways in which the Clinton strategy can be applied to Texas. Develop strategy based
upon recent electoral returns and demographic data from Texas counties. Overview of advanced
Atlas*GIS data handling and analysis functions. Contrast the advantages and disadvantages of
cartographic versus database solutions.
October 17: Cartographic Communication
II: Issues in Demographic Mapping
Topics and tasks: Overview of issues relating to demographic mapping: statistical generalization,
classification, and symbolization. Overview of problems of data classification and of strengths and
weaknesses of various methods. Perform experiments with area patterns and further tests with layout and
color. Introduce new issues relating to verbal content and lettering. Review of descriptive statistics.
October 24: Coordinate Systems and Map
Topics and tasks: Finish Texas campaign project. Begin first warm-up exercise with CAD system
(Microstation): "The Village." Raise issue of establishing and measuring location. Address issue of how
and why coordinate systems and map projections differ. Survey major issues and terms. Introduce
principle land survey and coordinate systems employed in Texas. Raise issues of accuracy and precision.
Finish Texas Campaign project.
October 31: Biography of Waller Creek:
Urbanization and Environment through
Topics and tasks: Introduce the issue of the effect of urbanization on environment and survey major
consequences for the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. Relate effects to land use
change. Consider the history and significance of Waller Creek to Austin. Devise plan for studying
urban encroachment of the Waller Creek watershed. Begin to gather sources. Warm-up exercise with
Texas Department of Transportation Travis County digital map.
November 7: Map Compositing, Database
Design, and Spatio-Temporal Modeling
Topics and tasks: Develop detailed plan for Waller Creek study. Consider ways in which time can be
modeled in a GIS. Address difficulties of gathering information from varied sources. Develop scheme for
organizing data and for coding and symbolizing relationships.
November 14: Using Aerial Photography
and Remote Sensing Data
Topics and tasks: Overview of principles for using aerial photography and remote sensing data in studies
of landuse change. Gather sources. Experiment with methods of raster-vector overlay and methods of
warping. Raise further issues in cartographic design and composition.
November 21: Coordinate Systems and
Map Projections II: GPS and other issues
Topics and tasks: Introduce the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the ways it can be employed.
Address strengths and limitations of various techniques. Address some of the technical issues relating to
map projections and coordinate systems including datum use. Consider the Texas Statewide GIS
Thanksgiving break (F).
November 28: Accuracy and Precision in
Topics and tasks: Consider the ways in which accuracy and precision influence GIS solutions and the
varying demands of different applications. Survey major and minor sources of inaccuracy and
imprecision. Consider how accuracy and precision can be assessed and measured. Consider the value of
and need for setting standards for products and procedures and for documenting both. Raise issue of
propagation and cascading of error. Consider national and state data accuracy standards.
December 5: Managing Error in Spatial
Topics and tasks: Introduce sensitivity analysis and the ways it can be employed in GIS and cartographic
analysis. Develop method of applying sensitivity analysis to Waller Creek analysis to estimate change.
Begin to join team datasets into complete watershed coverage. Brief overview of next semester's projects
beginning with contour mapping and terrain mapping of the Waller Creek watershed, moving to study of
environmental inequity, and followed by an independent team project.
December 14 (Wednesday) Final
Exam 7-10 PM
Converted on 1 August 1994. KEF.