GEOG 485:
GIS Programming and Software Development

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Welcome to GIS Programming and Software Development (GEOG 485)!

If this is your first visit to the course website, please take some time to become familiar with the assignments listed in the syllabus and the course environment described in the orientation.

Quick Facts about GEOG 485


Course Structure:

Online, 10-15 hours a week for 10 weeks


GEOG 485 is a required course in Penn State's Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development and one of several electives students may choose as their final course leading to Penn State's Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. It can also be applied toward the Penn State Geospatial Intelligence Graduate Certificate and Master of Geographic Information Systems degree.

The course focuses on solving geographic problems by modifying and automating generic Geographic Information System (GIS) software through programming. In GEOG 485, students use the Python programming language to write and modify scripts that add functionality to desktop GIS tools and to automate geospatial analysis processes. No previous programming experience is assumed. Core topics covered in this class include object-oriented programming, component object model technologies, object model diagrams, loops, if-then constructs, and modular code design, and situates these topics in the geospatial workflow through their integration with maps, layers, spatial data tables, and spatial analysis methods.

Students who successfully complete the course can automate repetitive GIS tasks, customize GIS interfaces, and share their geospatial software development work with others. Geography 485 requires use of Esri's ArcGIS Pro software. We recommend version 2.4 or higher. Prerequisite: GEOG 484 or equivalent experience.

This course is offered as part of the 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 site (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.