GEOG 585
Open Web Mapping

Succeeding in GEOG 585


GEOG 585 is hopefully one of the most valuable courses you will take in your online geospatial education career. It will provide skills that make you more productive and possibly save you (or your organization) significant expenses on software. It will also introduce you to technologies that are in high demand in today's GIS workplaces, thereby boosting the interest factor of your resume. Finally, and most importantly, it will provide more choices and resources in your tool belt when addressing geospatial problems.

None of this comes for free. It is anticipated that Geog 585 will be one of the busiest and most intellectually demanding courses that you attempt in this program. From past experience teaching very technical online courses on programming and cloud/server GIS, let me suggest the following keys to success:

  • Make sure you have the prerequisites. Geog 585 requires past experience with at least one programming language. You are also required to have some familiarity with HTML and JavaScript code, which you can gain during the orientation week by completing the W3Schools tutorials on these subjects.
  • Start the lessons early in the week, and don't attempt to complete an entire lesson all in one chunk. When working with web GIS technologies and programming, budget some time to address unexpected challenges. I check e-mail and forums at least once each weekday and once on weekends unless otherwise noted. If you begin the assignments early in the week, this usually allows for sufficient back-and-forth to overcome any challenges. If you attempt to complete your project immediately before the due date, there may not be sufficient time for me to see and review any questions that come up.
  • Use your classmates as a resource. You're all working through the same challenges together. If you hit an issue, chances are that one of your peers has encountered it also. Furthermore, if you find a clever way to make it past a particular challenge, you might want to share your success secrets to make life smoother for your peers who could encounter the same problem. Keep the technical discussion forum buzzing! I recommend checking it at least once a day, even if you don't have a technical problem. You may pick up tips that will be useful later.