GEOGRAPHY 3530/8535: Introduction to Cartography & GIS (2 cr)

Course Syllabus

Instructor: Michael P. Peterson

Office: Durham Science Center 264
Office Hours: M 2:-5; T 2-5; M 2-5:00; F 1:30-5:00 (1:30-3:00 on 1st and 3rd Fridays)
Office Phone: 554-4805
e-mail address
Web Page
Course Page
Class Meetings This 2 credit class meets for 10 weeks of the semester.

INTRODUCTION TO CARTOGRAPHY & GIS introduces the basic concepts and techniques for the manipulation, analysis, and the graphic representation of spatial information. The course examines the processing, compilation and symbolization of spatial data and the application of related statistical techniques. Emphasis is placed on the technology of mapping, particularly the Internet, computer mapping, geographic information systems, and remote sensing.  The course prepares students for further course work in geographic information science and technology.


GEOG 3540 / 8545

Previous Exam 1

Previous Final Exam

Readings and course participation, designed to supplement such readings, form the core of the course. Students are held responsible for all referenced offline and online materials. Be prepared to answer questions on the designated days as this will constitute part of the course participation grade. The use of computers is not allowed during lectures.

I ask that you be considerate of others in class. Activities such as talking, whispering, exchanging notes, using a computer, or reading a newspaper all disturb the people around you. Please consider that they may take their college education more seriously than you do. If I see you engaged in these activities, I will ask you to stop. If you continue, I will ask you to leave. If this happens more than once, you can be removed from the course.

1) Textbook: Internet Cartography: Theory and Practice
2) Calculator (with square root function) for scale calculations.  Bring the calculator to class on the days that we do scale calculations, and to the mid-term and final exams.
3) Storage device.  A USB flash drive to back-up all assignments.

4) Ability to upload files to

For undergraduates, final grades will be based on the exams (40%), the assignments (40%) and quizzes (20%). For graduate students, the final grade is based on the exams (30%), the assignments (30%), quizzes (20%), and a final project (20%).

Grading is carried through on the total points accumulated. Letter grades are assigned in the following way: A+: 97 and above; A: 91-97; A-: 90-91; B+: 87-90; B: 81-87; B-: 80-83; etc.

A number of quizzes (usually 2 questions) will be given throughout the semester, at the beginning of class or end of class. The first question is almost always based on the previous lecture. The second question is from the readings for that particular day.

Two exams will be given, a mid-term and a final.  Both exams will consist of short answer and essay questions, as shown in the sample exam links above.  Some of the questions from the sample exams will be included on the actual exams.

Except for the scale assignment, all are submitted as web pages.  You will be shown how to submit assignments to a web folder and how to link all of these assignments from a single file called "index.html".  The exercises that you submit will represent an online portfolio of your work and will remain accessible as long as you are a student.

FINAL PROJECT (graduate students only):
The final project will be a web page that deals with some aspect of cartography and GIS. The exact topic will be chosen in consultation with the professor.