Geography 100

Introduction to
World Regional Geography

click here for a printable course outline

Fall 2011


(subject to change)

Date Class Topic & Chapter Readings Activities
September 8 Course Introduction  
13 What is Geography?  
15 Human Geography  
20 Physical Geography  
22 Sub-Saharan Africa: Defining the Realm  
27 Sub-Saharan Africa: Regions of the Realm  
29 Sub-Saharan Africa  
October 4 North Africa / Southwest Asia: Defining the Realm  
6 North Africa / Southwest Asia: Regions of the Realm  
11 North Africa / Southwest Asia  
13 South Asia: Defining the Realm  
18 South Asia: Regions of the Realm  
20 East Asia: Defining the Realm  
25 East Asia: Regions of the Realm  
27 Southeast Asia: Defining the Realm  
November 1 Southeast Asia: Regions of the Realm  
3 Southeast Asia  
8 TBA  
10 Mid-Term Exam  
15 South America: Defining the Realm  
17 South America: Regions of the Realm  
22 South America  
24 Middle America: Defining the Realm  
29 Middle America: Regions of the Realm  
December 1 Middle America  
December 13
2:00 p.m.
Final Exam or Term Paper due  


Instructor: Joe Piwowar
phone: 585-5273
Office Hours: 11:00 - 12:00 MWF
CL 339
Meeting Times: 8:30 - 9:45 TR
CL 330.2 (TERRA Lab)
Course Web Site:

A geographic information system (GIS) is a tool for automating geographic concepts.  At its most basic level it can help us to explain distributions and make decisions.  At an advanced level it can help us understand complex environmental processes.  Geographers (and others) use GISs to create spatial models to help them understand, describe, and predict how things are arranged in the real world.

All too often we produce a map from a GIS and conclude, "Gee, it looks like there is a pattern in the data," but we struggle to attach any certainty to our analysis.  The real question we want answered is most likely, "Is there a significant pattern?"  The methods developed in this course will help you answer this question.  The aim of this course is to enable you to build your own toolbox of spatial analysis techniques to investigate spatial processes.

Required Textbook

Wang, F., 2006.  Quantitative Methods and Applications in GIS.  Boca Raton:  CRC Press.

Recommended Textbooks

Although there is not a required text for this course, you are expected to use additional resources (e.g. texts from other courses, the Internet) extensively to supplement the lecture materials.

Clarke, K.P., Parks, B.O., and Crane, M.P. (eds.), 2002.  Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Modeling.  Upper Saddle River:  Prentice-Hall (on reserve in the Map Library).

DeMers, M.N., 2002.  GIS Modeling in Raster. New York: Wiley (can be borrowed directly from me).

Hardisty, J., D.M. Taylor, and S.E. Metcalf, 1993.  Computerised Environmental spatial analysis:  A Practical Introduction Using Excel.  Chichester:  Wiley (can be borrowed directly from me).

Harris, R., Sleight, P., and Webber, R., 2005.  Geodemographics, GIS and Neighbourhood Targeting.  Chichester: Wiley (on reserve in the Map Library).

Kelly, R.E.J., N.A. Drake, S.L. Barr, 2004.  Spatial spatial analysis of the Terrestrial Environment.  Chichester: Wiley (on reserve in the Map Library).

Maguire, D.J., M. Batty, and M.F. Goodchild (eds.), 2005.  GIS, Spatial Analysis, and Modeling. Redlands, ESRI Press (on reserve in the Map Library).

O'Sullivan, D. and Unwin, D.J., 2003.  Geographic Information Analysis.  Hoboken: Wiley (can be borrowed directly from me).

Stillwell, J. and G. Clarke, 2004. Applied GIS and Spatial Analysis.  Chichester:  Wiley (can be borrowed directly from me).

Coursework & Grading

Assignments (40%)

There are 8 lab assignments based on the lecture and text materials to be completed.  Each assignment is work 5% of your final mark.  You are expected to find additional resources to help answer some of the questions.

Literature Review (10%)

Discovering how other researchers are using advanced spatial analysis is an excellent way to learn new techniques that you can use in your own analyses.  I would like you to review 1 article in the refereed journal literature where spatial analyses have been used.  Your review should not be more than 5 pages long (double-spaced). 

Your review should include:

Advanced Spatial Analysis Project (50%)

A key component of the course is for you to demonstrate your learned spatial analysis knowledge and abilities by designing, developing, implementing, and assessing your own spatial analysis project.

Key stages of the spatial analysis project are:

  1. Project Proposal:
  2. Prepare a written spatial analysis report. [due date]

Here is the grading rubric that I will use to mark your project.  Dr. Siemer will be assessing the cartographic qualities of your map(s).


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Last updated: 2011.09.07 by JMP