GEOG 583
Geospatial System Analysis and Design

Reading Assignment


How Reading Assignments Work

For each lesson, I will ask you to read parts of online materials I select or articles I place in our e-Reserves. As you can see below, I'll try to make it as clear as possible what you're expected to do by always identifying specific reading assignments in boxes. Also, part of your class participation grade will be making responses on our discussion board to questions I pose about the readings. Whenever you see a "respond" prompt, you need to respond to that question as directed. Occasionally, I'll mark items "think about" when I simply want to direct your thoughts as you read.

Lesson 1 Reading Assignment

For our first set of readings, we will focus on setting the stage for the rest of the Lessons. First, I'd like you to read a short paper on a basic design task - something simple that turns out to be quite intricate.

Second, I've selected some chapters from Roger Tomlinson's popular book on designing a GIS. This work provides some grounding for the higher-level design concepts in terms of what they specifically mean for GIS.


"Design as Practiced" by Donald Norman

Think About

This short article by Donald Norman (one of the world's most respected design thinkers) describes the design process associated with a really simple thing - a computer power switch. It's clear from this article how even a very simple problem focus can prove to be a vexing design challenge. While you're reading, I'd like you to consider just how much more complexity is involved when it comes to applying Norman's lessons learned to dealing with GIS design challenges.


Chapters 1 & 2 (p. 1-12) of "Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers" by Roger F. Tomlinson (available via the Penn State Library or in Canvas).


Tomlinson's book on GISystem planning outlines a popular design approach specifically intended for the special requirements associated with geospatial systems. In this reading assignment, I want you to take note of the design process Tomlinson suggests, compare it to the more generic approach I outlined earlier in this lesson, and discuss how you envision developing your own geospatial system design using the design approach outlined by Tomlinson (linked above) or Robinson ("What is Design" is found on the previous Canvas page). You can either compare the two different design approaches as they apply to your design, or you can create a mashup of the two in a way that would work better for your project.

Go to the Lesson 1 Discussion