GEOG 160
Mapping Our Changing World

Geography 160: Mapping our Changing World

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This text is an adaptation (produced in summer, 2012) of the online text for this course originally written by David DiBiase beginning in 1997, with contributions at that time by James L. Sloan, Wesley Stroh, Beth Fletcher King, and many students. This current edition is significantly changed from the original, including substantial updates, refinements and reordering of material. Specific chapters, referring to current chapter numbering, were rewritten by Joshua Stevens (Chapters 1, 5 & 6), Raechel Bianchetti (Chapters 2, 7 & 9), and Jennifer Smith (Chapters 3, 4 & 8). Chapters 1 and 3 are primarily new material with small components from the original and the rest of the chapters borrow more heavily from the original. The adaptation, revision, extension of the text was edited by Alan MacEachren and Donna Peuquet with input from Ryan Baxter.

The intent, as it was originally, is to provide a friendly introduction to Geographic Information Science and related Technologies, reflecting current state-of-the-art and practice. As with the original, we are pleased to share the text with students and teachers everywhere as part of an Open Educational Resources initiative of Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. You are welcome to use and reuse materials that appear in this text (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.

GIScience is the intersection of professions, institutions, and technologies that produce geographic data and render information from it. It is a rapidly growing and evolving field. Learning is a way of life for everyone who is successful in today’s every changing world. With this in mind, we hope that this text may contribute to your lifelong exploration of how geographic information and related technologies that generate it can be used to improve the quality of life--yours and your neighbors', locally and globally, now and in the future.

We wish to thank colleagues in the Dutton e-Education Institute who helped produce this text, particularly April Millet and others who collaborate in helping to make all our online materials available. We are grateful for the thousands of students who have traversed and provided input on this text over the many years since its introduction, and who continue to challenge all who teach this course to improve it.


This text serves as an assigned reading for registered students in formal Penn State courses. The Orientation section familiarizes registered students with the text and with the associated course management system (Canvas). Links to Chapters 1-9 appear in the GEOG 160 menu. Only registered students are entitled to feedback from instructors and to earn academic credit for their participation in the course. Information about Penn State's Department of Geography and the GIScience curriculum appears at Penn State Department of Geography.


The National Science Foundation's Digital Libraries in the Classroom program supported portions of the original work.