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Location Intelligence for Business - Open Educational Resource
New to GEOG 497B?
Registered students—if this is your first visit to this course wesite, please take some time to become familiar with the course environment by going to the Orientation, located in the "Start Here" menu (on the left).
This website provides the primary outline and materials for the course. The Resources menu on the left links to important supporting materials, while the Course Outline menu links to the course lessons. ANGEL, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course as well as providing the primary communications, calendaring, assignment submission tools, and readings for the course.
Not registered? Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback and earn academic credit. Information about Penn State's Online Geospatial Education programs is available at https://gis.e-education.psu.edu.
Quick Facts about GEOG 497B
- Instructor: Wes Stroh, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Structure: Online, 10+ hours a week for 10 weeks, 3 credits
- Overview: GEOG 497B is an elective course for Penn State's Online Certificate in GIS, Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence, and Master of GIS. However, World Campus students not enrolled in the aforementioned programs are also eligible to take this course.
We chose the title "Location Intelligence for Business" for this course in lieu of "Business GIS" or "Business Geography" with reason. My co-authors, Joe Francica, Editor-in-Chief for Directions Magazine, and Dr. Dennis Bellafiore, a member of our Geospatial Intelligence faculty, and I designed this course to fill a gap we see in our own program at Penn State, which we see in many of our peer programs.
In business, the application of maps and mapping technology ranges from long present (in commercial real estate, retail, and logistics) to nascent in many industries. It is clear that the momentum across commercial applications for GIS and geospatial technologies is growing. In businesses, spatial attributes are being married to the extant enterprise-wide datasets which reside in enterprise databases including Oracle, Cognos, etc. GIS and geospatial analysis are tools and methodologies which are often folded into the more mainstream information technology (IT) applications of "business intelligence" ("BI").
This course uncovers and explores the key geospatial principles involved in site selection, market analysis, risk and crisis management, and logistics delving briefly into the steps of solving those problems with available geospatial tools and data. We think this provides a foundation for geographic thinking in commercial settings and a base for subsequent software training within specific suites such as ESRI Business Analyst, Pitney Bowes Business Insight, or Alteryx. We believe that now is the time to marry the wise and methodic use of “spatial thinking” with geospatial technologies gaining wider acceptance in business applications and commercial settings.
What will be expected of you?
If you are a current student in one of Penn State's online geospatial programs, this course will likely be different from any in the certificate or master's programs at Penn State. The course is designed to feel a bit more like a seminar, albeit with an introductory tone. We will have weekly readings and 1-2 class "discussions" per week. These discussions will take place either in web-based discussion forums where you type posts and responses OR as actual audio conversations using a technology called VoiceThread . The conversations will take place asynchronously, so you won't have to log in at a prescribed time--more about that during orientation. During most weeks, you will complete one or more "hands on" activities relating to the concepts discussed and there may be a brief quiz (multiple choice or short essay).
In addtion, students will work in groups to takle a case study during the latter half of the course. First, with instructor assistance, groups will identify a problem to solve, afterwhich they will present initial thoughts in a mid-term presentation (no more than 5 minutes with 4-5 slides). The project will culminate with the submission of a group final paper (executive summary, data, and methodology). The final paper will also be brief, with students focusing on what methodologies and data the would hypothectically use to solve the problem. Students will have an opportunity for self-reflection on what they learned in the process and will complete a peer review on the project as well. (Students have the option of working independently on the term project, with instructor approval.)
While we have provided an outline of the course, with specific readings and content to cover, the course will vary from term to term, depending upon the experiences and interests of that term's cohort.
World Campus Structure
This course is being offered to students around the globe through Penn State's World Campus. It is a "paced" course, which means that there are established start and end dates for participation with the course material. You will interact with other students throughout the course. The course consists of 10 week-long lessons. There is a required "Orientation Week" preceding the start of the course.
On average, most students spend ten to twelve hours per week working on the course material and assignments. This course is a graduate "seminar"-like course, which means in addition to hands-on activities, much of the focus wll be on discussion and reflection on activities and readings. Rather than a series of correct answers and specific skills, we hope you will engage with broad concepts and derive meaning for your own work or skill set.
The World Campus is no different than a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule, and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate your fellow students.
At the successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
- Identify and discuss common business activities and the geographic concepts and techonologies involved in addressing them
- Describe examples of Location Intelligence (LI) applications used in business
- Identify types of geographical data available and how spatial and aspatial data can be integrated
- Understand how LI applications are used in the not-for-profit and government sectors
- Demonstrate professional communication skills through written and spoken presentation of case study findings