The Geographer's Craft, Spring

Preliminary Schedule (Subject to Change)

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

January 13: Introduction to CAD.

Topics and tasks: Introduction to Microstation and computer-assisted drafting (CAD).


January 20: CAD Basics and Beyond.

Topics and tasks: Overview and practice with Microstation. Continue with Your Village assignment.

January 27: More CAD Using Public Access Datasets.

Topics and tasks: More map editing and compositing using CAD. Learn how to download and use basemaps provided agencies of the State of Texas. Study documentation and file structures of other public-access datasets. Experiment with importing different file formats.


February 3: Urbanization and Environment: Introduction to the Waller Creek Case Study.

Topics and tasks: Review effects of urbanization on environment. Consider ways in GIS is used for environmental and habitat analysis.Consider issues of collating and compositing datasources for habitat studies. Plan and organize study.


February 10: Questions of Accuracy and Precision.

Topics and tasks: Consider how accuracy and precision effect spatial datasets. Examine major sources and how they can propogate and cascade in GIS databases. Continue Waller Creek study.


February 17: Managing Error.

Topics and tasks: Consider methods for dealing with error and imprecision in spatial datasets. Discuss standards for creating GIS databases and methods of testing for and estimating error. Introduce sensitivity analysis. Continue Waller Creek Study.


February 24: Three-dimensional Modeling.

Topics and tasks: Consider methods for three-dimensional modeling by reconstructing a Nicaraguan village from nineteenth century maps and prints.


March 3: Rendering and Animation.

Topics and tasks: Introduce tools for rendering a three-dimensional map. Learn how to "photograph" map views and how to prepare animations. Create a "fly-through" or "walk through" of Greytown.


March 10: Spring Break.

March 17: Terrain Modeling and Contour Mapping.

Topics and tasks: Overview principles of terrain modeling and contour mapping. Discuss data types used for such mapping, including DEMs available from the USGS. Experiment with methods of contouring and rendering relief.


March 24: Project Planning and System Design.

Topics and tasks: Consider the human dimension in developing and implementing information technologies like GIS. Examine steps in project lifecycle. Consider how project lifecycle applies to final projects. Develop a plan and begin to gaterh materials for project. Begin final project.


Supplemental Reading:

March 31: Differential GPS.

Topics and tasks: Introduce the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the ways it can be employed to collect locational data. Address strengths and limitations of various techniques. Survey Geography Building.


April 7: GIS Policy Issues: Local, State, National, and International.

Topics and tasks: Consider how GIS is being implemented at the local, state, national, and international levels. Examine problems arising from attempts at implementation and integration. Discuss some of the policy initiatives being pursued at the state and national levels. Survey ways in which GIS is being employed in global science stressing both the potential and problems of these projects. Discuss some of the problems that arise from managing and maintaining very large GIS datasets. Continue work on final projects.

April 14: Economic, Legal, and Ethical Issues.

Topics and tasks: Examine situations in which GIS and information technology intersect the law. Consider some of the ethical problems that arise from the use and misuse of information technology, including the issue of privacy. Continue work on final projects.


April 21: Trends in GIS Technologies.

Topics and tasks: Consider current trends in hardware and software. Examine close connections now emerging between GIS and other information technologies. Continue work on final projects.

April 28: Presentation of Final Projects.

May 7 (Wednesday): Final Projects On-line and Documented by 9:00 PM.


One third of your final grade will be based on the Waller Creek Case Study. One third will be based on the final project. The final third will be average from your work on four warmup exercises: 1) Your Village; 2) Favorite Place; 3) Greytown rendering and animation; 6) Contour and shaded relief maps.

Last revised 13 January 1997. KEF.