GEOG 485:
GIS Programming and Software Development

Instructor Information

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Summer 2019 (May - July) - Jim Detwiler

Instructor for Summer 2019 (May - July)

Jim Detwiler

2217 EES Building
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-2932 (The country code for the United States is 1)
FAX: (814) 863-1564 (The country code for the United States is 1)

AVAILABILITY: Students are welcome to contact me by email anytime; I am usually able to respond within 24 hours. If you are a student registered for the course, please use the ANGEL e-mail system for course-related correspondence, as I prefer to keep those messages separated from my other e-mail. I am also happy to speak to students over the phone, though it is best to set up an appointment for a phone call.

Welcome to the course!


Jim Detwiler
Jim Detwiler

Hi, I'm Jim Detwiler, your instructor for the next ten weeks. I've been an instructor in the Geography Department's online GIS program since 2000. Back then, we had just a one-year, non-credit certificate program with few electives. Today, we offer a Master of GIS degree with numerous electives that enable students to focus on application areas of interest to them. I'm very proud to be associated with this program, both in terms of the faculty involved and the adult professionals who enroll in it.

Since joining the online geospatial program, I have authored and taught GEOG 485: GIS Programming and Customization (a VBA/ArcObjects course that's now retired), GEOG 489: GIS Application Development, GEOG 863: GIS Mashups and GEOG 897D: Spatial Database Management, first offered in 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2012, respectively. I've also taught sections of Programming and Customization and Mashups to undergraduates in residence since fall 2003.

My experience with GIS includes working on population-related research projects at Penn State's Population Research Institute, on E911 and cadastral projects at the Chester County (PA) Bureau of Land Records, and on climate-related projects at the University of Delaware. I think this broad experience helps me to relate to my students who use the technology in a wide array of contexts.

I look forward to getting to know you over the next ten weeks and helping you to learn the course material.

Best of luck in the course!

Introductions for Summer 2019

Now it’s your turn to introduce yourself (you don't have to post pictures!). Please return to Canvas and post a brief introductory message to "The Lounge" discussion forum describing:

  • Your name and current occupation
  • Any experience with Python (remember, none is required for this course)
  • Any experience with other programming languages (none is required for this course)
  • Any questions or concerns you have about Python or this course (optional)