Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Course Content and Outcomes Guide for GEO 170 Effective Spring 2021

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

Course Description

Introduces principles and concepts needed to understand the use and interpretation of maps, geospatial technologies, geographic information systems and science. Includes: scale, reference systems, coordinate systems, map projections, types of maps, role of maps in society and culture, data visualization, global positioning systems, remote sensing, digital landscapes, and map interpretation. 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 will be able to:

  • Examine maps as communication tools, cultural artifacts, and models of the Earth.
  • Apply underlying map concepts to geographic information systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies.
  • Read and interpret a wide range of maps.
  • Proficiently use mapping and geospatial technology terminology.
  • Use an understanding of maps to examine cultural and environmental issues.

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 through classroom lecture, discussion, software demonstration, dissection of academic and popular articles, multimedia, and computer-based & hands-on labs. 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:
A. Written results of class labs and exercises
B. Completion of a midterm exam
C. Completion of a final project and/or exam

D. In-class discussions

E. Map critiques

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues:
A. Types of Maps
B. Cartographic Representations
C. Coordinate Systems
D. Map Projections
E. Quantitative & Qualitative Data
F. Map Reading & Design
G. Map interpretation
H. Map Elements

Competencies and Skills:
A. Identify and define mapping and GIS terminology
B. Proficiently interpret a wide variety of maps
C. Recognize spatial data errors and (in)accuracies
D. Identify purposes and distinguish characteristics of map projections
E. Use of scale on maps and in spatial data
F. Understand geographic and projected coordinate systems