Geography 80: Digital Worlds: An Introduction to Geospatial Technologies

Geography 80
CCN: 36306
(4 units)
David O'Sullivan
Location: 145 McCone
Times: MW 9-10

An introduction to the increasingly diverse range of geospatial technologies and tools including but not limited to geographical information systems (GIS). Via a mix of lecture and lab-based instruction, students will develop knowledge and skills in web-mapping and GIS. How these tools are used to represent fundamental geographic concepts, and the wider socioeconomic context of these technologies will also be explored.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the wide array of geospatial tools and technologies used in geography and other disciplines, and which increasingly underpin the contemporary digital economy. Conceptual underpinnings of the tools will be discussed, by examining how key geographical concepts, such as scale, space, place, and neighborhood are represented (or not) by the various technologies. At the same time, wider societal drivers of these developments will be touched on, particularly the complex position of geospatial technologies with respect to privacy, the surveillance society and the blurring of the social and economic spheres. Lectures will be supported by a sequence of laboratory assignments introducing a variety of web-mapping tools as well as desktop geographical information systems (GIS). Students should develop practical skills in the tools at the same time as they learn about the conceptual underpinnings and social, political and economic context of their development and application.