GEOG 882: Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence
This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can jump directly to a specific section of the syllabus by clicking on one of the links below. That said, it is essential that you read the entire document as well as the material covered in Lesson 00, Orientation. Together, these serve the role of our course "contract."
Spring 1 2023 (Jan-Mar) - Taught by Steve Handwerk
- Mobile: (717) 303-7962 (The country code for the United States is 1)
- Office phone: (717) 761-4758
- Fax: (814) 865-3191 (The country code for the United States is 1. Please send the Fax to my attention. Please note that a Fax is sent to the State College Campus, then forwarded to me as an email. If possible, send a scanned copy to me via email for faster turnaround.)
- Email: Please use the course email system (see the Inbox tab in Canvas).
- Availability: Please call or email me to schedule a time that is convenient for you.
Spring 2 2023 (Feb-May) - Taught by Michael Thomas
- Email: Please use the course email system (see the Inbox tab in Canvas).
- Phone: (850) 814-7064
- Availability: Please call or email me to schedule a time that is convenient for you.
Additional information about the instructors can be found on the GEOG 882 Instructor Information page.
GEOG 882: Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence. Orientation to the geographic foundations of geospatial intelligence and its applications in national security and disaster management.
Prerequisites: Admission to the Certificate Program in Geospatial Intelligence or the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security
GEOG 882 is a required first course in the Certificate Program in Geospatial Intelligence and the Geospatial Intelligence Option in the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. The program is designed specifically for current and aspiring geospatial intelligence professionals who are able to study only part-time and at a distance, and is offered exclusively through the World Campus.
Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) leverages geographic information science and technology (including cartography, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and global positioning systems) with intelligence tradecraft to develop intelligence products that support national security, disaster response, and international relief efforts.
GEOG 882 is designed to challenge current and aspiring GEOINT professionals to be more than technicians. Students who successfully complete GEOG 882 will appreciate that, while geospatial technologies are useful in revealing "what, who, where, and to some extent how" events are taking place, it is less useful in explaining "why" events occur, or what response is most appropriate. Students will learn that the political, cultural, historical, and economic perspectives of human geography are needed to put GEOINT analyses in context. The course will also challenge students to approach analyses critically, to consider alternative viewpoints and explanations, and to question their own assumptions.
What will be expected of you?
This course requires a minimum of 10 to 12 hours of student activity each week, depending on the speed at which you work. Included in the 10 hours each week is time to complete projects and related activities. You'll be glad to know that you don't have to show up for class at a certain time! All you need to do is complete the assignments before the published deadline at the end of the week.
You will need to check out the course message boards regularly. That's where students and instructors share comments, pose questions, and suggest answers. I strongly encourage you to get into the habit of logging in to the course website every day to check in on the class. With only occasional exceptions, I check message boards every day. You can be sure that I will read, but not necessarily respond to, every single message.
My colleagues and I have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me, as well as with your fellow students.
For a more detailed look at what will be covered in each lesson, as well as due dates for our assignments and activities, please refer to the semester-specific course schedule that is part of this syllabus (see "Course Schedule").
For a more detailed look at what will be covered in each lesson, please refer to the semester-specific course schedule that is part of this syllabus (see "Course Schedule"). For the due dates for our assignments and activities, please refer to the Calendar in Canvas.
Students who excel in this course are able to:
- demonstrate the ability, in writing and speech, to apply critical thinking skills;
- explain the fundamental relevance of human geography to geospatial intelligence analysis;
- discuss the fundamental concepts of geospatial intelligence in national security and disaster management;
- critically assess ethical and social justice issues that arise in the application of geospatial intelligence analysis;
- challenge their own assumptions and consider alternative discourses.
Required Course Materials
In order to take this course, you need to have the required course materials listed below. All (other) materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website and in Canvas. In order to access the online materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk. They can be reached at 1-800-252-3592 in the US or internationally at 814-865-5403 (country code 1). You may reach them by email at email@example.com.
There are two required texts for this course, which should be purchased from your favorite bookseller. Please be sure that you purchase the correct editions.
1. Lowenthal, Mark M. 2020. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (8th Edition), Washington DC: CQ Press.
2. O Tuathail (Toal), Gerod. et al editors. 2006. The Geopolitics Reader (2nd Edition), New York: Routledge.
Assistance with Textbooks:
Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, contact the Office of Student Care and Advocacy, 120 Boucke Building, 863-4926. For additional needs related to socioeconomic status please visit Project Cahir.
Using Penn State Library Resources
Many of Penn State's library resources can be utilized from a distance. Through the Library Resources and Services for World Campus and Penn State Online Library site, you can:
- access electronic databases, and even full-text articles;
- borrow materials and have them delivered to your doorstep...or even your desktop;
- access materials that your instructor may have put on Electronic Reserve;
- talk to reference librarians in real-time using the "Ask a Librarian" service;
- ...and much more.
Assignments and Grading
Students earn grades that reflect the extent to which they achieve the learning objectives listed above. Opportunities to demonstrate learning include:
- three graded quizzes on readings,
- four online certifications,
- four asynchronous online discussion forums,
- two papers.
The course point scheme and grading scale are shown below.
|Learning Objectives||Points each||Points added|
|3 quizzes on readings||50 points each||150 points|
|4 online certifications||35 points each||140 points|
|1 online certification||20 points (Extra Credit)||20 points (Extra Credit)|
|4 graded discussion forums||100 points each||400 points|
|2 papers||155 points each||310 points|
|-||Total||1000 points (+20 Extra Credit points)|
|A||Above 90%||900 points and above|
|A -||87.5 - 89.9%||875 - 899 points|
|B +||85.0 - 87.4%||850 - 874 points|
|B||80.0 - 84.9%||800 - 849 points|
|B -||77.5 - 79.9%||775 - 799 points|
|C +||75.0 - 77.4%||750 - 774 points|
|C||70.0 - 74.9%||700 - 749 points|
|D||60.0 - 69.9%||600 - 699 points|
|F||59.9% or below||599 points and below|
Participation will be considered in grading for those whose final course grade is close to the next letter grade.
To view your grades during the semester you need to do the following:
- Log into Canvas.
- Access the space for this class, GEOG 882 - Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence.
- Click on the Grades link.
GEOG 882 Course Schedule
Below, you will find a summary of the learning activities for this course and the associated time frames. This course is 10 weeks in length, with an orientation week at the start of the course. Each lesson is one week long.
Objectives - After completing the Orientation you should be able to:
Visit the Orientation Checklist for the complete list of assignments and readings.
UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
Objectives - After completing Lesson 01 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 01 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 02 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 02 Checklist for the complete list of assignments and readings.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 03 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 03 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
UNIT 2: INTELLIGENCE & NATIONAL SECURITY
Objectives - After completing Lesson 04 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 04 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 05 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 05 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 06 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 06 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
UNIT 3: HOMELAND SECURITY & DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Objectives - After completing Lesson 07 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 07 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 08 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 08 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Objectives - After completing Lesson 09 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 09 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
UNIT 4: TRENDS IN GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE
Objectives - After completing Lesson 10 you should be able to:
Visit the Lesson 10 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.
Class Support Services
Penn State Online offers online tutoring to World Campus students in math, writing, and some business classes. Tutoring and guided study groups for residential students are available through Penn State Learning.
For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).
Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.
This site is considered a secure web site which means that your connection is encrypted. We do however link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements page to view the mixed content.
Penn State E-mail Accounts
All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.
This course follows the procedures for academic integrity of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's Academic Integrity Training for Students.
All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.
For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for Campus Disability Coordinators at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Office for Student Disability Resources website
In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. See documentation guidelines at Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.
Change in Normal Campus Operations
In case of weather-related delays or other emergency camps disruptions or closures at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to these delays or closures. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.
Reporting Educational Equity Concerns
Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.
Counseling and Psychological Services
Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Services include the following:
Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.
Connect Online with Caution
Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information to others whom you do not know.
If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period. It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy. If for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.
This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances or University approved activities.
If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect
Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.
For additional information, see:
- Penn State Affirmative Action Nondiscrimination Statement
- Policy AD 85 Sexual and/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct, Title IX
- Penn State Values
- Action Together: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Penn State
- Assessment of the Living, Learning, and Working Environment (ALLWE) in EMS| Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Mandated Reporting Statement
Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.
Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. All changes will be communicated with you via e-mail, course announcement and/or course discussion forum.