The Geographer's Craft, Fall 1996

Preliminary Schedule by Week (Subject to Change)


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


August 26: Introduction

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


September 2: Exploring the Internet

Topics and tasks: Practice with Internet resources. Introduce electronic mail and the telnet and ftp commands. Overview of file use, transfer, conversion, compression, and decompression. Discuss problems involved in navigating the Internet. Demonstrate how to access and use on-line class materials. Establish IF accounts. Assign accounts and electronic mail addresses. Establish lab teams. No class Monday due to Labor Day Holiday.

Required Reading:


September 9: Introduction to Web Publishing and HTML

Topics and tasks: Overview of the HTML and the basics of Web publishing. Design first homepage for final Web project. All sections of Digital Aerobics exercise finished by Monday.

Required Reading:

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 .


September 16: Research Concepts and 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, and library resources. Consider the issue of research methodology and various models of analytic and scientific reasoning. Web Search project due on Monday.

Required Reading:


September 23: 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. Homepage on-line by Monday with statement of research topic.

Required Reading:


September 30: 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 7: 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:

Supplemental Reading:


October 14: Texas Campaign Strategy

Topics and tasks: Introduction to Texas electoral and demographic dynamics and Clinton campaign strategy of 1992. 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 21: 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 28: 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: Medical Geography and Cholera in Perú.


November 4: Project Planning and Preparation

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. Complete digitizing tutorial by Friday.

Required Reading:


November 11: Database Concepts and Design

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 18: Spatial Analysis

Topics and tasks: Introduce several spatial analysis techniques for examining cholera epidemic.

Required Reading: TBA


November 25: 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.


December 2: 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 on Friday (last class day).

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.

Web Project Complete and On-line by Time of Final Exam: 12 December, 9 PM


Last revised 27 August 1996. KEF.