Geography

The following courses have been developed by and for the Department of Geography at Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Food and Environment

Credit: Green Terraced Rice Field by Joney, licensed through Shutterstock, Used with permission.

Course Description

The Future of Food is an introductory-level science course that emphasizes the challenges facing food systems in the 21st century, and issues of sustainability for agriculture and other food production activities, as well as the challenges posed by food insecurity and modern diets to human health and well-being.

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Credit: Photo by JESHOOTS.COM is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones, are developing aggressively, and many government and non-government agencies are considering acquiring such systems. This course will focus on the geo-spatial utilization of a UAS. It will cultivate students' knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the UAS and data post-processing systems. It introduces fundamental concepts surrounding operating a UAS such as strategies for selecting the right UAS, assessing its performance, managing resulting products (i.e.

Course Description

Whether you realize it or not, when you carry a smart phone, use a navigation system in your car, or look up the nearest coffee shop on your computer, you are using geographic information. Geographic data and technologies are embedded in almost all aspects of our lives. GEOG 160, Mapping Our Changing World, explores what geographic information and data are, what makes them unique, how they are created, and how we use them.

GIS for Transportation: Principles, Data, and Applications

Credit: pxhere photo is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Do you know how important GIS is to the transportation industry? The spatial applications to this field are so extensive that they represent an entire sub-discipline within the GIS community. In this course, we'll learn about the primary modes of transportation and explore some of the spatial applications developed to meet the unique needs of each. We'll also take a close look at some key organizations in the industry and learn firsthand from more than a dozen transportation professionals about the role GIS plays for them.

Location Intelligence for Business

Credit: Aerial Photography of Cars on Road-intersection 186537/ by Joey Lu is licensed under CC0 | location pins added to original

Course Description

Do you enjoy the competitive challenge of starting up a new business or expanding into new areas? Are you involved in economic and community development? Are you considering the best place to work and live? Do you like to gain an advantage? Location Intelligence for Business extends the application of geospatial intelligence analytical methods to the business world for competitive advantage.

Remote Sensing Image Analysis and Applications

Credit: Jason 3a from NASA is Public Domain

Course Description

From satellites gathering imagery from hundreds of miles above the Earth's surface to aerial systems mounted with lasers capable of generating 3D maps with centimeter accuracy, we're gathering more data about our Earth from above than ever before. This course will help you make sense of these complex and exciting datasets. Whether your interest is in natural disasters, environmental assessment, or national security, we'll give you the tools, methods, and techniques to extract actionable and meaningful information from these data.

Mashups

Credit: Ipad, Map, Tablet, Internet, Screen by FirmBee is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Locating restaurants in an unfamiliar place, reporting potholes to the local DOT, obtaining real-time traffic conditions... All of these are examples of geospatial web apps that are revolutionizing how people obtain and share information about the world. In GEOG 863, you will learn how to build apps like these. You'll start with a quick look at the fundamentals of web programming (HTML and CSS) before diving in to using JavaScript and a mapping application programming interface (API) developed by Esri.

Course Description

How would you like to travel to new places while collaborating on a geospatial data challenge with students from around the world? In this class, students collaborate on a global-scale geospatial analysis problem with a focus on data analytics and professional practice in Geographic Information Systems. Penn State MGIS students collaborate with graduate students from ITC - University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands to develop solutions to analyze spatio-temporal patterns in refugee migration data.

Spatial Database Management

Credit: © Penn State University is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Course Description

A spatial database is the backbone of a successful organization or website that depends upon maintaining and using data pertinent to locations on Earth. In GEOG 868, Spatial Database Management, capabilities specific to Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are combined to teach students to create, maintain, and query spatial databases in both desktop and enterprise environments.

Maps and the Geospatial Revolution

Credit: A. Robinson (c) Penn State University is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Course Description

The past decade has seen an explosion of new mechanisms for understanding and using location information in widely-accessible technologies. This Geospatial Revolution has resulted in the development of consumer GPS tools, interactive web maps, and location-aware mobile devices. This course brings together core concepts in cartography, geographic information systems, and spatial thinking with real-world examples to provide the fundamentals necessary to engage with Geographic Information Science.

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Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.