GEOG 571
Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security

Getting a Head Start


While many of you might have experience in the field of intelligence, we are aware that some of you are new to the field and may not be familiar with the tools, processes, and writing styles commonly used in intelligence. This page contains links to lesson pages that will help you get a head start with accessing ArcGIS Online, provide an introduction to the intelligence analysis process, and information about writing a brief.

ArcGIS Online

At the end of Lesson 1, you will complete a StoryMap exercise using Esri's ArcGIS Online. If you do not have any experience with ArcGIS Online, I strongly encourage you to go to page 1.10 Introduction to ArcGIS Online and StoryMaps and spend some time working through the material. The page provides links to several of Esri's online lessons that you can access for free. The Esri lessons are between 30 and 60 minutes long and will give you a good head start on the Lesson 1 ArcGIS Online StoryMap Exercise.

Any time you can devote to the Esri online lessons during the orientation week will save you time during the first week of class.

Accessing Penn State's ArcGIS Online Organization

Several activities in this class will require you to access Penn State's ArcGIS Online Organization. Please make sure you have access to the system by using the following link, Penn State's ArcGIS Online Organization, and logging in with your Penn State UserID ( and password.

After successfully logging in, you should see the following welcome page with your name and ID in the upper right corner.

example Penn State ArcGIS Online Organization welcome page
Figure 1: Penn State ArcGIS Online Organization welcome page.

Contact the instructor if you have any problems logging in.

Week 1 Deliverable:

During the first week of class, you must log in to the Penn State ArcGIS Online home page and submit a screen capture (worth 5 points). The screen capture should be similar to Figure 1 above and must include your name and student ID. Instructions for the assignment can be found on page 1.10 Introduction to ArcGIS Online and StoryMaps of lesson 1.

Note: If you do not successfully complete the ArcGIS login, your instructor will not be able to give you access to the files you will need to complete the Lesson 1 mapping exercise (45 points).

Intelligence Analysis

While this is an academic course, it is also a course about how the principles of cultural geography are applicable to intelligence and intelligence analysis. There are many parallels between intelligence analysis and the academic research process; however, there are some differences as well. If you are not familiar with the difference between the research process and the intelligence analysis process, you may want to preview the material on page 2.3 The Intelligence Analysis Process

Written Brief

The written brief is often a way that intelligence analysis is disseminated, and it differs greatly from how we are taught to write academically. We will use this mechanism for conveying the results of analysis throughout the course. If you are not familiar with the difference between writing an academic paper and writing a brief, you might want to preview the material on page 3.9 Writing a Brief.