The Geographer's Craft, Fall 1995

Preliminary Schedule (Subject to Change)


Click here to view the index of lecture and discussion notes or a list of warmup exercises and assignments .


August 30: Introduction

Topics and tasks: Introduction to course. DOS/Windows quiz. Complete final enrollment. Overview of laboratory resources, access, and use. Purchase of supplies.


September 4: 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. No class Monday on Labor Day.

Required Reading:


September 11: 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. Web search due. Digital aerobics complete.

Required Reading:

Supplemental Reading:


September 18: 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.

Required Reading:


September 25: GIS and Archeology: The Metaponto Project

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. First Metaponto warm-up exercise due on Wednesday.

Required Reading:


October 2: 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." Second Metaponto warm-up exercise due on Friday.

Required Reading:


October 9: Texas Campaign Strategy

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.

Required Reading: Overview of Texas Campaign Strategy .


October 16: 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.

Required Reading: Study Section 6 of Cartographic Communication .

Supplemental Reading:


October 23: Introduction to Web Publishing and HTML

Topics and tasks: Finish Texas campaign project. Overview of the HTML and the basics of Web publishing. Design first homepage for final Web project. No Class on Wednesday due to workshop for annual meeting of National Council for Geographic Education.

Required Reading: Dougherty and Koman, Mosaic Handbook, Chapter 7

Supplemental Reading: You may wish to purchase one of the commercially available guides to HTML, but everything you really need to know is on-line .


October 30: The Resurgence of Cholera in Peru

Topics and tasks: Introduce geography's spatial and ecological contributions to the study of disease. Consider the history of cholera in the 19th and 20th centuries. Examine the resurgence of cholera in Latin America. Raise questions of where and why. Begin to devise plan for studying the resurgence of cholera in Peru. Begin to gather sources. Begin digitizing warm-up exercise with Atlas*GIS.

Required Reading: TBA.

Supplemental Reading: TBA.


November 6: Project Planning and Database Design I

Topics and tasks: Develop plan for cholera study. Consider map and data sources and decide how these will be used. Address difficulties of gathering information from varied sources and of data quality. Develop scheme for organizing and coding data. Begin digitizing map coverages.

Required Reading:


November 13: Project Planning and Database Design II

Topics and tasks: Consider more general issues of project planning. Examine how databases model real-world phenomena and processes. Organize attribute information. Develop scheme for analyzing and symbolizing relationships. Map coverages completed.

Required Reading: Antenucci, John C; Brown, Kay; Croswell, Peter L.; Kevany, Michael J.; and Archer, Hugh N. 1991. "Data Base Concepts." Chap. 5 in Geographic Information Systems: A Guide to the Technology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.


November 20: Coordinate Systems

Topics and tasks: Raise issue of establishing and measuring location. Address issue of how and why coordinate systems differ. Survey major issues and terms. Introduce principle land survey and coordinate systems employed in Texas. Raise issues of accuracy and precision. Raise further issues in cartographic design and composition. No Class on Friday for Thanksgiving break.

Required Reading: Study the Coordinate Systems Overview .

Supplemental Reading: Muehrcke, P.C. 1986. "Locational Reference Systems." Chap. 7 in Map Use: Reading-Analysis-Interpretation, 2d ed. Madison, WI: J.P. Publications.


November 27: Map Projections

Topics and tasks: Overview basic issue of map projections and compromises involved. Introduce basic terminology. Consider widely used methods and why and when they are applied. Cholera project due.

Required Reading: Study the Map Projections Overview . Also see Notes on Map Projections by Keith Clarke at Hunter College.

Supplemental Reading: Robinson, A.H., R.D. Sale, J.L. Morrison, and P.C. Muehrcke. 1984. "The Spheroid, Map Scale, Coordinate Systems, and Reckoning" and "Map Projections." Chaps. 4 and 5 in Elements of Cartography, 5th ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons.


December 4: GPS and Advanced HTML Concepts

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 further issues in Web publishing relating to final project.

Required Reading:

Web Project Complete and On-line by Time of Final Exam: 13 December, 10 PM


Last revised 27 August 1995. KEF.