Geog 1502: Mapping Our World

IHand globen Mapping Our World, we learn how maps and other spatial technologies like phones, drones, and GPS work. We use professional web-based tools to make maps for class, jobs, and fun. Along the way, we see how mapping is a useful lens through which to view interactions between technology and society, and see how map technology saves lives, rigs elections, and spies on you and everyone else.

Key features
  • The course is completely online and quite flexible. There is a weekly tempo in that most assignments are due on a certain date, but you may complete most assignments any time during the week. The exception is that for some activities, you work with your instructor, TAs, and fellow students over a one-day or two-day window.
  • The course uses online readings, lectures, activities, and labs.
  • All materials are free, including an online textbook, labs, and professional web-mapping tools that you can use in other courses, in your current job, and future career.
  • There are no prerequisites and the course is worth three credits.
  • Liberal Education RequirementsHelp is available. We hold in-person and virtual office hours every weekday.
  • Fulfills TWO Liberal Education (LE) requirements, the Social Sciences Core and the Society and Technology Theme.

Learning Objectives
  • Students who successfully complete this course will be able to read, use, and create maps informed by a contextual understanding of how maps reflect the relationship between society and technology. 
  • They will understand how mapping is an essential form of  inquiry and how mapping helps us understand the social world and issues such as land use planning and political gerrymandering.
  • Students will gain hands-on experience with making their own maps with a variety of technologies, ranging from web-based maps and satellite data, and gain insight into underlying engineering and science of geospatial technologies.
  • This course can be used to gain insight into the technical underpinnings of mapping as an approach for later courses, complement on-going interest and activities, or provide an applied focus for research or policy.

Grading, format, and workload

Grading. We focus on participation via hands-on class exercises, completing online labs, and two online exams:

20% Class participation through activities
50% Online labs with web-mapping and other technologies
15% Midterm exam
15% Final exam

Exam Format. There are two mid-term exams; there is no final exam. Both exams are multiple choice and open book.

Class Format. All parts of the class are online, although you can get help in person or online.

30% Lecture and other material
20% Discussion
20% Small group activities
30% Web-based labs

Workload. The course workload is in line with U of M polices for 1000-level courses. In addition to time devoted to lectures, discussion, activities, and labs noted above, this also includes:

10 Pages reading per week
10 Pages writing per semester
2 Exams (online, open-book, and multiple choice)

Quick links

Fall 2017