GEOG 597G
Challenges in Global Geospatial Analytics

Instructor Information

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Fritz Kessler, Instructor

 fritz kessler

I'm Fritz Kessler, one of the instructors for this course. Here is a little bit of my career history for you to digest.

I began my career in geography at Ohio University (a small state school located in Athens, OH) as a math major. During the summer between my junior and senior years, I took an elective course in physical geography. During the first day's lecture, the professor described "human" and "physical" as the two spheres of geography. He then added a side-bar comment that geographers also make maps. I was intrigued. After talking with the department's cartography professor later that day, I switched majors to geography - specializing in cartography. After graduation, I worked for the US Geological Survey (USGS) as a Cartographic Technician creating maps and illustrations for various USGS publications. Desirous to advance my cartographic knowledge, I returned to academia and received my MS degree from Penn State. Here, I developed an expert system designed to assist in the selection of an appropriate map projection. My next career stop was a Systems Analyst for Intergraph Corporation in Huntsville, AL. I decided to return to map making and took a position with R. R. Donnelley and Sons in a small cartographic shop in Lancaster, PA. Eventually, I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Kansas where I studied cartography and geographic visualization. 

My professional academic career started as a faculty member at Frostburg State University (FSU) in August 1999. Located in Frostburg, MD, FSU is a very small state school in Western Maryland. While at FSU, I taught courses in cartography, cartometrics, surveying, GIS, research methods, statistics, and other geographically related topics. I began teaching part-time through Penn State's World Campus in 2007 where I offered a course in datums, map projections, and coordinate systems. This course is still offered today as GEOG 897K: Map Projections for GIS Professionals. In June of 2015, I resigned my position at FSU and accepted an offer to join Penn State full-time. In addition to GEOG 586, my teaching responsibilities focus on cartography courses (both online and resident students). 

I have amassed a solid research and publication record focusing mostly cartographically related topics. Specific research focus includes map projections, cartographic design, and history of cartography. I take on an active role in two cartographic societies: North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) and Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS).

Thank you for joining the course and good luck!


Beth King, Instructor

 beth king

I am a Senior Lecturer and the Assistant Program Manager for Online Geospatial Education in the Dutton e-Education Institute. I have been teaching for Penn State since 2000. Half of my time is spent teaching and half of my time is working with current and prospective students. I track the progress of MGIS students in our professional degree program, communicate regularly with students to identify questions and concerns, ensure that students’ questions are addressed, manage capstone project work, and coordinate schedules of students and advisers for public project presentations and commencement ceremonies. Prior to coming to Penn State, I worked for a GIS group in an engineering firm as a project manager for water/wastewater GIS conversion and E911 projects.