CCOG for GEO 170 Summer 2024

Course Number:
GEO 170
Course Title:
Maps and Geospatial Concepts
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces fundamental principles of geography needed to understand the use and interpretation of maps, geospatial technologies, and Geographic Information Systems(GIS). Investigates the role of maps in society and culture, and examines spatial concepts of scale, reference systems, coordinate systems, map projections, data visualization, global positioning systems, land surveying, remote sensing, and digital landscapes. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Interpret maps as tools for communication, cultural artifacts, and models of the Earth.
  • Apply underlying map concepts to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies to communicate geospatial information.
  • Analyze and interpret a wide range of maps.
  • Apply mapping and geospatial terminology.
  • Examine cultural and environmental issues using an understanding of maps.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Geographic Techniques are embedded in a technological environment and focused on analyzing the world through a spatial context such as maps. Geospatial technologies and mapping challenge students to examine patterns of social, environmental, and cultural issues using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Students are required to know the difference between these different types of data in order to display it appropriately on a map and effectively communicate information. Students examine maps critically to understand their underlying biases, the potential misleading of information, and the impact of scale. By studying and creating maps, students learn about local and global issues, analyze patterns, and represent information visually.

Aspirational Goals

Students gain an appreciation and love for maps, how they are used, and how they are created.

Course Activities and Design

The material in this course will be presented in a computer lab setting with classroom lecture, discussion, software demos, academic and popular article review, multimedia, and computer-based  projects. Other methods may be implemented such as research, reflection papers and small group work.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of themes, concepts, issues, competencies and skills by any combination of the following:

  • Project-based labs

  • In class activities, discussions, and small group work

  • Map critiques

  • Exam and quizzes

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues:

  • Types of maps

  • History of maps

  • Map interpretation

  • Map design & elements

  • Coordinate Systems

  • Map Projections

  • Map scales

  • Web mapping

  • Global Positioning Systems

  • Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry

  • Geographic Information Systems

  • Land Surveying

  • Digital Landscapes

Competencies and Skills:

  • Critically examine maps and their intent

  • Use mapping software to create maps and spatial data

  • Identify purposes and distinguish characteristics of map projections

  • Understand geographic and projected coordinate systems

  • Recognize spatial data errors and (in)accuracies

  • Apply concepts of scale in digital landscapes