GEOG 3530/8535: Introduction to Cartography & GIS

Updated: January 10, 2011

Dr. Michael P. Peterson
University of Nebraska at Omaha



Readings / Online Resources (DSC 285)

Exercises (DSC 296)


Jan 10: Introduction to Cartography and GIS

  • Overview of course
  • 2cr instead of 3cr
  • Overview of GEOG 3540/8545 (meets TTh)
  • Delivery of maps through the Web
  • GIS opportunities
  • Google's API and Mashups

Types of Maps - static, interactive, animated

Jan 12: HTML, links

Before class

  1. Read chapters 1 & 2 provided by email
  2. Decide on a theme for a map gallery.
  3. Using a search engine, find the addresses of 9 maps of that follow the chosen theme.
  4. To test, type the following code into a text editor (Notepad, Mac TextEdit with Preferences set to "Plain text"), insert the address for one of your maps, save the file as gallery.htm, and open with a browser (Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome).

<h1> A Gallery of Maps on __________ </h1>
<h3> Assembled by ___________ </h3>
<h2> Map of ________ </h2>
<img src="insert http address">

During class in DSC 296

  1. How to add more maps.
  2. How to upload files to:
  3. Entire HTTP address of your gallery.htm file
  4. Making an index page for assignments on myfolder
  5. How to capture and crop a screen image


Jan 17: Martin Luther King Day - no class


<h1> My assignments for Cartography and GIS</h1>
<h3> ______Name________ </h3>
<h3> My Map Gallery </h3>
<a href=gallery.htm> My Gallery of Maps on _____ </a>
<h3> My Map Comparison </h3>
<a href=MapsOfHome.htm> Comparison of Maps of my Home </a>

Jan 19: Uploading Gallery and index files

Before class

  1. Read chapters 1 & 2
  2. Complete the gallery.htm web page and upload to a CartGIS folder in the Public folder on your myfolder account.

During class in DSC 296

  1. Check that this address opens your index.htm file:
  2. Check to see if your map gallery link works.
  3. In-class JavaScript exercise

Jan 24: Maps and the Internet, Maps and the Mind - DSC 294

Before class

Read Chapter 1 from the online book and answer these questions:

  1. How did the Internet influence the distribution of maps?
  2. What are some advantages of paper maps?
  3. What format is used for the distribution of maps through the Internet?
  4. What file format is suitable for printing?
  5. What is the mostly commonly used interactive mapping site?
  6. What are some different uses of animation with maps?
  7. What percentage of the population is essentially map illiterate?

Read the mental maps section from Chapter 3 of the online book and read Mental maps in taxi drivers.

  1. How is information acquired for mental maps?
  2. How do maps affect the formation of mental maps?
  3. How are you able to identify the three errors in the map of Africa?
  4. What differences have been noted about the two sides of the brain, and how does this relate to maps?
  5. Explain how differences were found between the two sides of the brain?
  6. What happens in the cerebral cortex?
  7. What is the difference between egocentric and geocentric forms of navigation?
  8. What does the article about taxi drivers say about the formation of mental maps?

Examine differences between the following online mapping sites by mapping the location of your home. Crop the map and/or satellite image from a screen capture of each web page. Save each map in a folder called "mapfolder". Create a "MapsOfHome.htm" web page. Comment on the accuracy and quality of the various online maps from these sites. Use the html code to the left to present the maps and comments.


<h1> Comparison of Online Mapping Sites </h1>

<h2>Google Map</h2>
<img src=mapfolder/googlemap.jpg>
Google does a nice job of labeling the streets in this area. All the streets are shown relatively correctly but they are generalized. For example, Pierce street has more curves than is shown on the map.

<h2>Yahoo! Map</h2>
<img src=mapfolder/yahoomap.jpg>
This would be the comment on the map from Yahoo.

<h2>MapQuest Map</h2>
<img src=mapfolder/mapquestmap.jpg>
This would be the comment on the map from MapQuest

Repeat this for all of the maps.

Jan 26: Maps as a mirror of civilization



Jan 31 - Chapter 5 - The Meaning of Mapping

Before class

Read the history of cartography section from Chapter 2 of the online book and answer these questions:

  1. How did Eratosthenes measure the circumference of the Earth
  2. What importance is ascribed to the South Pacific stick charts.
  3. What do cartographers and historians see in old maps?
  4. How old are the maps of Babylonia and Mesopotamia? What did they depict?
  5. Why are there no surviving maps of the Egyptian period?
  6. The greeks Poseidonius and Eratosthenes both calculated the circumference of the earth. How did they do it and what was the difference in their calculation.
  7. What were the accomplishments of Ptolemy?
  8. What is a Peutinger Table?
  9. What is a T in O map?
  10. What are Portolan and Catalan charts and what do they represent?
  11. What were the major accomplishments in cartography during the during the latter part of the renaissance, particularly the 1400s.
  12. For navigation, how was latitude and longitude ultimately determined, and when.
  13. Describe the work of Snow, an early example of thematic cartography. How is his work related to GIS?

History in maps PowerPoint

Feb 2 - JavaScript

Before class

  1. Read through the JavaScript and the beginning Google Maps sections from Chapter 8.

During class in DSC 296

  1. Introduction to phpDesigner
  2. Introduction to JavaScript
  3. Review phpDesigner (download for Windows)
  4. First JavaScript Exercise

index.htm for your JavaScript folder

<h1> My JavaScript programs </h1>
<h3> ______Name________ </h3>
<a href=7-1.html> 7-1 </a>
<a href=7-2.html> 7-2 </a>

Google Maps

Before class

  1. Read the Google Maps section in Chapter 7 up to example 7-28.

During class in DSC 296

  1. Second JavaScript Exercise





Feb 7- Map Scale

Before class

  1. University of Arizona guide to Map Scale
  2. USGS Map Scale
  3. An Introduction to Map Scale
  4. Scale Calculator

Map Scale Assignment - print these pages and attach to hand-out

Feb 9 - Markers and Geocoding Multiple Addresses

Before class

  • Read Google Maps section in Chapter 7

During class in DSC 104

  • Making a Google index file and Google folder

    <h1> My Google Maps </h1>
    <h3> ______Name________ </h3>
    <a href=Google/Google1.html>Google1</a>
    <a href=Google/Google2.html>Google2</a>


  • Finding a latitude / longitude for a point.

  • Basic Google Map

  • Download and unzip Google v3 code samples


Feb 14 - Chapter 4 - Maps by Computer

Before class

Read Chapter 4 through the section on GPS and answer these questions:

  1. What is the difference between vector and raster graphics and which is usually better for printing?
  2. What is a coordinate digitizer?
  3. How are maps digitized into vectors with scanners?
  4. When did aerial photos become a major source for map makers?
  5. What is parallax?
  6. What is photogrammetry and how did benefit topographic mapping?
  7. What is a stereoplotter?
  8. What is an orthophoto?
  9. What is a spectral response pattern?
  10. When was the GPS program begun?
  11. How many satellites are used in GPS? What is their elevation and how often to they orbit?
  12. Explain the use of the pseudo-random code with GPS?
  13. What is selective availability?
  14. What is GDOP?
  15. What is differential GPS?
  16. What are different methods of providing differential data?

Maps by Computer PowerPoint

GPS PowerPoint Slideshow (opens with PowerPoint)

Feb 16 - Beginning Google Maps

Before class



Feb 21 - Structuring and Manipulating the Digital Map & GIS

Before class

Read the remaining sections of Chapter 4 and answer these questions

  1. What is the main objective of finding better ways of structuring the digital map?
  2. In addition to the duplication of points between polygons, what other problems would arise with the polygon encoding method?
  3. In the formula for scaling the digital map, why are xmin and ymin added to the scaled values? What is the addition of these constants called?
  4. In the code to rotate coordinates, what is the purpose of the tempx variable?
  5. In inverse distance squared interpolation, what is the purpose of squaring the distances?
  6. What effect would cubing the distances have? Calculate the resultant value. Is it even closer to the 451 value?
  7. What are some advantages of object-oriented graphics for the production of maps?
  8. In the x,y coordinate representation of the mid-western states, which state has the most coordinates and why? How many coordinates does the least state have?
  9. What is the fundamental difference in data structure between the examples presented in sections 4.6 and 4.7?
  10. There are seven pixels that meet the criteria of single family housing and a 100-year flood. How many commercial land-use and 100-year flood pixels can you find?

Feb 23 - Google Points

During class in DSC 296

Code for chapter 12

1) Marker:

2) Lines with Google Maps. You'll need to use the interactive polyline encoder utility to convert the latitude/longitude points to a text string.

3) Geocode your own address.

Data: (Last name A-L) Omaha Homicides 2000 | (Last name M-Z) Omaha Homicides 2001

4) Use to convert the addresses to latitude/longitude values.

5) Example marker file - data.xml

<marker lat="41.257085" lng="-96.007312"/>
<marker lat="41.257899" lng="-96.005906"/>
<marker lat="41.258899" lng="-96.009538"/>
<marker lat="41.258534" lng="-96.012588"/>
<marker lat="41.259193" lng="-96.015652"/>

6) Geocoding Example - Omaha Burglary (Takes a while to display because there are a lot of points.)





Feb 23 - EXAM 1 (in DSC 294)

Example Exam 1 | Example Exam 2


Mar 2 -

Last of Google Maps

Work through examples 30-48 in new Google Map zip folder

Google50 requires:

  1. an xml file with your 20+ points;
  2. downloading a .js file that is referenced in the code. Put this file in a folder called "scripts".

The concatenate function in Excel can help in formatting your xml file.


Mar 7 - code14

Mar 9 - Map Layers and GIS

Before class in DSC 296

Undergraduate students: Make an ordinary PDF
Graduate students: Make a geo-referenced PDF


GPS Exercise

Note how the GPS units initially depict a map showing the position of the satellites that are currently in view. This is based on the "almanac" in each unit that calculates the current position of the satellites. It will take a few minutes for each unit to get the necessary readings from these satellites. If the signals from at least 4 satellites is strong enough, the unit can determine its position. Accuracy is usually less than 3 meters but this depends on a number of factors, including how the satellites are distributed in the sky.

Mapping GPS Points

Mapping GPS Points with Google Maps

The GPS points will be entered into a marker file called "data.xml" and mapped with Google maps. Output the map as a PDF file and add to your folder as GPS.pdf.

Mapping GPS Points with ArcGIS

The GPS points collected on campus will be entered into Microsoft Access. This data file will be imported into ArcGIS and mapped. Label each point.


Mar 14 - Chapter 11 -


Structuring and Manipulating the Digital Map

  1. What is the distinction between server/client and P2P?
  2. Given the way Google Maps downloads maps, why is it now impossible to count the number of maps distributed through the Internet?
  3. What is the distinction between a thin and thick client, and how is a client made "thicker."
  4. What plug-ins are most useful for the distribution of maps?
  5. Which graphic file format is most commonly used for the distribution of maps?
  6. How many colors can be represented with 24 bits?
  7. Describe some characteristics of the following vector formats: PDF, SVG, Flash.
  8. Why would a 20" by 30" map that is scanned at 10,000 dots/inch produce a file of 180 GB?
  9. What is InkScape?
  10. Why are animated maps or story maps not more common on the web?
  11. What does "accessibility" mean for web pages and online maps?
  12. What is the primary benefit of XML?
  13. What is the difference between GML and SVG?


Mar 16 - Entering class breaks into ArcGIS

Before class

  • Complete four data classifications of the Omaha data.

During class in DSC 296

For this assignment, we will use ArcMap to map the four classifications that were calculated. Combine four maps onto a single display.

Download: Omaha Census

ArcMap uses the same equal interval and quantile classifications. Compare your equal interval and quantile breaks to those calculated by ArcMap. Make a side-by-side comparison your classification and ArcMaps.

Product - 3 PDF files:

1) Your four classifications on a single display.

2) Equal interval classification comparison with two maps.

3) Quantile classification comparison with two maps.

  Spring Break Spring Break

Mar 28 - Coordinate Systems and Map Projections



  1. Map projection from USGS
  2. Wikipedia map projections
  3. UTM
  4. State Plane
  5. USPLS


  1. What two major attributes of a globe can some map projections preserve?
  2. Can any map projection depict distance correctly?
  3. Map projections can be classified based on the developable surface, and the resulting attributes. Explain these two classification methods.
  4. Draw the graticule for the following projections: Mercator, Sinusoidal, Molleweide, and Robinson
  5. What is the Tissot Indicatrix?
  6. What are the normal, transverse and oblique perspectives for the Mercator projection?
  7. How many zones in UTM? What is the false origin?
  8. What measurement unit is used with State Plane?
  9. How is the State Plane false origin defined?
  10. How are townships numbered in the USPLS?
  11. What is the size of a township and section?
  12. How many sections in a township?
  13. How many acres would the following designation be: NW 1/4, SW 1/4, NE 1/4?

Mar 30 - Mobile Mapping

Remote Sensing

Before class

  1. Remote sensing
  2. Visible spectrum
  3. Infrared Photography
  4. Thermal imagery
  5. Synthetic Aperature Radar
  6. Landsat
  7. Spot
  8. Ikonos
  9. Multispectral Image Analysis
  10. Image interpretation

Apr 4 - Local Mapping - code20



Cartographic Animation

  1. What distinguishes a static from an interactive map?
  2. What introduced the potential of cartographic
  3. What is a temporal animation?
  4. What is the most common type of temporal
    animation? Another example.
  5. What would be different about a cartographic
    zoom compared to a photographic zoom?
  6. Describe the animation that alters the
    number of classes
  7. Describe the animation that alters the
    classification method
  8. What is happening in this animation?
  9. What type of animation is this?

Apr 6 - Final Exam

Make sure that all of your links work properly from your

page before the last day of class.