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Courses : Syllabi : 381

Geography 381 Computerized Map Design


Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou

Course Description

Cartography is a synthesis of science, techniques, and art. This course introduces students to cartographic design and principles. The lectures will emphasize the construction of maps with modern methods by using computers and GIS software. The map construction includes scale, projections, generalization, symbols, classification, color scheme, and visualization. The lab exercises will provide hands-on experiences and equip students with the fundamental skills for advanced GIS courses and computer mapping. Besides the basic training in cartographic techniques, the major goals of this class are to:

  1. Understand the principles of cartographic design and map construction.
  2. Generate maps with appropriate cartographic skills.
  3. Encourage students to explore advanced cartographic issues, such as visualization, on-line mapping, and cognitive science.




Your grade in this course will be based on the following elements:

Students must attend and sign-in for each lab session, meeting twice every week. Lab exercises focus on the training of cartographic skills by using Freehand computer drawing software and the ArcGIS software package. Students are required to attend full lab periods to receive a passing grade. To encourage good attendance, TWO points will be taken off the whole course final grade for EACH missed lab. Lab assignments are due at the beginning of the lab due day. Late assignments will be docked 20% per day, and will be effective at the lab on the due date. Students must hand in all assignments by 5:00pm, on the last day of classes to receive a passing grade (D- or above) regardless of how many points have been docked.

Books and Materials

Dent, B. D., Torguson, J. S., and Hodler, T. W. (2009), Cartography: Thematic Map Design, 6th ed., New York, McGraw-Hill.

Tsou, M. 2008, Lecture notes for GEOG381: Computerized Map Design (Maps and Graphic Methods)

Additional readings as assigned.

Weekly Topics

Week Topic
Week One Introduction to the Cartographic Process
Week Two Map Functions and Types
Map Design: Abstraction/Constraints
Week Three Map Projections
GPS and Remote sensing
Week Four Generalization Controls and Elements
Scale Effects on Map Data
Week Five Typography
Map Composition and Visual Variables
Week Six Thematic Map Symbols
Week Seven Line and Area Symbols
Week Eight Use of Color
Review Exam
Week Nine Mid-term Exam
Week Ten Guest Lecture
Week Eleven Data Classing
Week Twelve Mapping Enumerated Data
Week Thirteen Choropleth mapping
Dasymetric mapping
Week Fourteen Mapping Uncertainty
Introduction to GIS
Week Fifteen Internet Mapping and Multimedia
Map Use and Misuse

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.