man pointing to a computer monitor. Three people sitting at a table looking at him.

Photo credit:  Filip Linders, MSF/Doctors Without Borders/Swedish Innovation Unit (used with permission)

Course Description

Do you believe that we can be more creative in planning our communities and protecting environments for a sustainable future? Would you like to learn a method to make a difference? One that empowers stakeholders and reduces conflict? Geodesign delivers creative solutions for environmental, economic, and social issues. This method works collaboratively across disciplines, deploying innovative technology to dynamically illustrate the impacts of alternative design scenarios.

Course Description

Geography 468 provides the geospatial information system professional an overview of systems analysis and design with emphasis on the concepts behind the process, including: business use case modeling, business object modeling, requirements definition, analysis and preliminary design, and, finally, detailed design. The concepts of the geospatial software and database development process are introduced and the current modeling techniques are addressed within the geospatial systems development paradigm.

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.

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.

Course Description

Geographic Intelligence (GEOINT) is more than people working with computers in a secure intelligence facility. Join us for this exciting journey to learn about GEOINT's application in business, law enforcement, and defense. Advances in satellites, GPS, unmanned aerial systems, wireless communications, handheld computing, and the ability to automate laborious map analysis processes has transformed what used to be called geographic intelligence, or GEOINT, and the nature of the insights provided to managers and leaders.

Independent Study in Geospatial Intelligence

Credit: Computer Laptop by Rudy and Peter Skitterians is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Independent Study is an opportunity for students to work with individual direction from a faculty member on a topic of mutual interest in geospatial intelligence. Students must have strong professional experience or have taken courses in the subject matter leading up to the chosen topic. Independent Study is reserved for advanced specialties or for intermediate study in areas in which the department does not normally offer course work. Faculty members are under no obligation to accept Independent Study students, but do so as their teaching load permits.

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.

Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence

Credit: Internet 1971621 by TheDigitalArtist is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Curious about how the notion of place and space is affected by Social Media, or how the Web differs from location to location? Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence looks at the geographies of cyberspace, the geopolitics of cyberwar, and at techniques that might be employed in such conflicts. Wondering how this all relates to censorship on the Internet? This class explores ideas on governance and network architecture, the politics of censorship and hacking, and the politics of grassroots activism enabled by the internet.

Course Description

Bill Gates is credited with saying he would "hire a lazy person to do a difficult job" with the justification that "a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." GEOG 485 doesn't teach the lazy way to get the job done, but it does teach the scripting way _ which is arguably even better. You've probably heard the "give a fish"/"teach to fish" saying?

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Course Spotlight

pile of maps

Cartography and Visualization (GEOG 486) covers design principles and techniques for creating maps with contemporary mapping tools. Students will be introduced to future-focused application topics such as augmented and virtual reality, mapping with multivariate glyphs, the visual depiction of uncertainty, interactive geovisualization, and (geo)visual analytics, and decision-making with maps and mapping products. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Fritz Kessler

Dr. Fritz Kessler has taught various online courses in the Master's of Geographic Information Systems at Penn State since 2007. He's also an avid cyclist and musician. Learn more about Dr. Kessler, see what he has to say about online education, and hear him play a tune on the mandolin.