GEOG 863:
Web Application Development for Geospatial Professionals

Welcome to GEOG 863 - Web Application Development for Geospatial Professionals


Quick Facts


Geographic Information Systems have long provided skilled professionals with the means to map and analyze objects and phenomena on the Earth’s surface using desktop computers. In recent years, the Internet has greatly extended the reach of GIS beyond the desktop. Geospatial technology vendors and the open-source community have devised web service protocols and web mapping application programming interfaces (APIs) so that third-party developers can create their own applications for use on web-enabled devices. These applications serve a wide array of purposes, including place and way finding, data dissemination, and data collection. For example, tabular crime data published on a city’s website can be combined with base data layers such as municipal boundaries and roads to produce a map that is valuable for both the city’s police department and its citizens. This course focuses on how geospatial professionals can create such applications using industry-relevant geospatial APIs. Students will build applications using the core web technologies of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Topics covered will include the implementation of 2D maps and 3D scenes, understanding API documentation, layer discovery and visualization, user interface development, data querying, and geoprocessing.

GEOG 863 is a required course in the Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development, and an elective in the Certificate in GISMaster of GIS, and M.S. in Spatial Data Science programs.

Learn more about GEOG 863 - Web Application Development for Geospatial Professionals (1 min, 41 sec)

Click here for a transcript of the course introduction video.

JIM DETWILER: Hi, I'm Jim Detwiler, a member of Penn State's online geospatial program faculty, and I'm here to talk to you about our course in web application development for the geospatial professional. This course involves creating web mapping apps, specifically using software from leading GIS vendor, Esri. So, if you work for an organization that uses Esri web GIS products, such as ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Server, then this would be a great course for you.

On the other hand, if you want to learn about this topic using free and open-source software, then I would point you towards our course entitled open with mapping. So this course starts out with learning how to work with tools for developing apps that require no coding at all. And for some of you, that could be the most important takeaway from the course.

But the bulk of the course is around writing code in JavaScript that works with Esri's JavaScript Application Programming Interface, or API. Specifically, we work with version 4 of the API, the latest release, which has some really cool features, including the ability to develop 3D apps without the need for any kind of special browser plug-in.

So, as you work through the course, you will complete a number of assignments that I prescribe that I give to you. But by the end of the course, when you get to the final project, you'll be able to pick whatever application you want to develop. And that will be a great way for you to tie together everything that you've learned in the course. So, with that, thank you for watching, and I hope to see you in the course.

Credit: © Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Want to join us? Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback and earn academic credit. For more information, visit Penn State's Online Geospatial Education Program website. Official course descriptions and curricular details can be reviewed in the University Bulletin.

This course is offered as part of the Repository of Open and Affordable Materials at Penn State. You are welcome to use and reuse materials that appear on this site (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.