GEOG 486
Cartography and Visualization

Instructor Information


Welcome to GEOG 486: Cartography and Visualization

Fritz Kessler, Associate Research Professor

John A. Dutton e-Education Institute and the Department of Geography
The Pennsylvania State University
435 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-863-1508

E-mail: Please use the course e-mail system (in Canvas). If the matter is urgent, and the course email is not working correctly, you can try my work email at (link sends e-mail).

Availability: Students are welcome to contact me by email anytime; I usually am able to respond within 24 hours, except on weekends. If a question is of general interest, I may move the discussion to the course discussion forums. Although e-mail (i.e. course e-mail) and discussion forum correspondence are preferred, students may also contact me by telephone at the number above from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Hello everyone, my name is Fritz Kessler. I am the instructor for this course. Geography 486 is organized around seven projects and a capstone assignment. Each project includes readings, a quiz, and discussion about concepts and tools in cartography and visualization. Through the course projects, students confront realistic mapping scenarios that incorporate such skills and concepts as creating symbolization schemes for various kinds of data and surfaces, customizing coordinate systems and map projections, transforming data for proper representation, and designing multivariate representations. A few times throughout the course, students complete milestone assignments that are designed to help them progress toward the capstone assignment, which consists of students independently acquiring/creating GIS data, employing cartographic theory to create an effective symbolization scheme, and designing a layout to visually communicate the subject and purpose of the map.  Those who successfully complete the course are able to design and produce effective reference and thematic maps using GIS software and can interpret and critique maps and related information graphics.

My goal is to make the course material interesting and engaging, and more importantly, relevant to your varied interests and goals. I look forward to learning about your experiences and how you plan to use GIS in your research or studies.

Thank you for joining the course and good luck!

- Fritz Kessler