GEOG 882
Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence

GEOG 882 Syllabus

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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 material covered in Lesson 00, Orientation. Together these serve the role of our course "contract."


Instructor

Geography 882 - Fall 2017

The 2017 Fall 1 offering of GEOG 882 will be taught by Dr. Gregory Thomas.

  • Phone: (717) 991-2277
  • Email: please use the course e-mail system in Canvas or gat5@psu.edu.
  • Office hours: by appointment

The 2017 Fall 2 offering of GEOG 882 will be taught by Dr. Mark Corson.

  • Email: please use the course e-mail system in Canvas or mwc11@psu.edu.
  • Office hours: by appointment

Additional information about the instructors can be found at GEOG 882 Instructors.

Course Overview

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 due dates for our assignments and activities please refer to the Calendar in Canvas.


Course Objectives

Students who excel in this course are able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability in writing and speech to apply critical thinking skills.
  2. Explain the fundamental relevance of human geography to geospatial intelligence analysis.
  3. Discuss the fundamental concepts of geospatial intelligence in national security and disaster management.
  4. Critically assess ethical and social justice issues that arise in the application of geospatial intelligence analysis.
  5. 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 on-line 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 e-mail at psuwd@psu.edu (link sends e-mail).

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. 2016. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (7th Edition), Washington DC: CQ Press.

2. O Tuathail (Toal), Gerod. et al editors. 2006. The Geopolitics Reader (2nd Edition), New York: Routledge.

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

Course point scheme and grading scale are shown below.

Point Scheme
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)
Grading Scale
Grade Percent 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

imagePrintable 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.

ORIENTATION

Orientation: Course and Program Introduction
Date: Orientation
Topics:

Objectives - After completing the Orientation you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of the Canvas learning management system.
  • Introduce yourself to your instructor and classmates.
  • Employ adult learning skills in distance education.
  • Self-assess writing skills.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials for this lesson.
  • Complete the "Initial Course Survey."
  • Post your introduction to the "Personal Introductions" Discussion Forum.

Visit the Orientation Checklist for the complete list of assignments and readings.

PART 1: INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

Lesson 01: Introduction and Background
Date: Week 1
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 01 you should be able to:

  • List and discuss Kant's three ways of ordering knowledge.
  • Define "Geography" and discuss the taxonomy of the word.
  • Define the terms Human Geography, Physical Geography, and Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T); provide examples of each (sub-disciplines); discuss the relationship between the three.
  • Discuss the relevance of Human Geography to the field of Geospatial Intelligence.
  • Discuss how the definition of Geospatial Intelligence is socially contested and constructed; provide at least one organizational definition (e.g. NGAs) and provide and defend your own definition.
  • Discuss the spectrum of applications of Geospatial Intelligence.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Post comments to the Lesson 01 Discussion Forum (Discussion Forum #1).

Visit the Lesson 01 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 02: Critical Frameworks
Date: Week 2
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 02 you should be able to:

  • Discuss new approaches to social and cultural geography, including: communication of meaning, production and effect of discourse, human subjectivity and identity, the critique of geographic knowledge, and operation of human agency.
  • Discuss and critique the framework that envisions politics as a social practice.
  • Explain and critique the critical framework that looks at the world in terms of material, discursive, and socially contested construction of meaning.
  • Provide an example of a socially constructed meaning and explain the example and concept to a layman (e.g. "Teenager").
  • Explain the basic concepts of "Critical Geopolitics" to a layman; apply the concepts to given case studies.
  • Trace the evolution of geopolitical thought from the 19th Century to the present; critique selected concepts from an alternative perspective.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Complete Quiz #1.

Visit the Lesson 02 Checklist for the complete list of assignments and readings.

Lesson 03: Contemporary Thought
Date: Week 3
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 03 you should be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the opposing ideas of Huntington's "The Clash of Civilization" and Said's "The Clash of Ignorance" (and Said's other orientalist thinking) in the context of the "Long War" (aka the Global War on Terrorism).
  • Discuss new threats such as bioterrorism and environmental degradation and the geopolitical discourses that arise in reaction.
  • Explain the range of ideas and provide examples of "Anti-Geopolitics."
  • Select an anti-geopolitics discourse and apply it to the "Long War" to formulate an alternative viewpoint.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Submit Paper #1 to Lesson 03.

Visit the Lesson 03 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

PART 2: INTELLIGENCE & NATIONAL SECURITY

Lesson 04: Intelligence Organization and Functions
Date: Week 4
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 04 you should be able to:

  • Define, discuss, and critique the concept of "intelligence" as articulated by Lowenthal.
  • Trace the evolution of the US intelligence system.
  • Sketch the layout of the US intelligence infrastructure and briefly describe the functions of the major agencies.
  • List and explain the intelligence process including: requirements, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and consumption, and feedback.
  • Describe and critique the functions of collection and analysis as described by Lowenthal.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Complete Quiz #2.

Visit the Lesson 04 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 05: GIS&T and National Security
Date: Week 5
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 05 you should be able to:

  • Discuss the relationship of policy makers and intelligence professionals.
  • Discuss the impact and legacy of the Cold War on the US intelligence community (focusing on the role of imagery analysis).
  • Evaluate the new intelligence agenda in the Post Cold War/September 11 Era, and discuss the impact of new challenges on the geospatial intelligence community.
  • Discuss and critique Lowenthal's insider views on "Ethical and Moral Issues in Intelligence."
  • Evaluate efforts at intelligence reform focusing on possible impacts on the geospatial intelligence community.
  • Discuss, challenge, and defend the evolving role of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) in the context of the overall role of geospatial intelligence in support of US national security.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Complete Quiz #3.

Visit the Lesson 05 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 06: Case Study of OEF/OIF
Date: Week 6
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 06 you should be able to:

  • Discuss the evolution of military applications of GIS&T from 19th Century to the present (including cartography, remote sensing, GIS, GPS, and simulations/modeling).
  • Critique the idea that GIS&T underpin the so called "Revolution in Military Affairs."
  • Discuss and critique the use of intelligence and especially geospatial intelligence in the conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).
  • Discuss and critique the use of intelligence and especially geospatial intelligence in the conduct of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq).
  • Synthesize the ideas of previous lessons to critique the role of intelligence and especially geo-spatial intelligence in the Global War on Terrorism (Long War).
  • Speculate on future applications of geospatial intelligence for national security.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Post comments to Lesson 06 Discussion Forum (Discussion Forum #2).

Visit the Lesson 06 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

PART 3: HOMELAND SECURITY & DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Lesson 07: Disaster Management 1
Date: Week 7
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 07 you should be able to:

  • Explain the basic concepts of disaster management.
  • Sketch a hierarchy of disaster responders, explain the role of the major agencies/organizations, and discuss the capabilities and limitations of different types of organizations.
  • Describe and evaluate the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Describe and evaluate the Geospatial Concept of Operations (GeoCONOPS)
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Complete the online certification course IS-230. It is optional (for extra credit) to submit your Certificate of Completion for IS-230 in .pdf format to Lesson 07.
  • Complete the online certification course IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS): An Introduction. Submit your Certificate of Completion in .pdf format to Lesson 07.
  • Complete the online certification courses on Homeland Security Geospatial Concept of Operations (IS-60, IS-61, IS-62). Submit your Certificates of Completion in .pdf format to Lesson 07.

Visit the Lesson 07 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 08: Disaster Management 2
Date: Week 8
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 08 you should be able to:

  • Explain and discuss Cutter's concept of an "All Hazards" approach to disaster management.
  • Discuss the capabilities and limitations of geospatial intelligence in support of the disaster management process.
  • Explain how geospatial intelligence can be of value to the first responder and provide examples.
  • Discuss and critique social justice issues in the disaster management process (provide examples).
  • Compare and contrast the practice of geospatial intelligence for disaster management and other national security applications.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Submit Paper #2 to Lesson 08.

Visit the Lesson 08 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 09: Case Study: Hurricane Katrina
Date: Week 9
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 09 you should be able to:

  • Discuss and critique the use of intelligence, and especially geospatial intelligence, in the planning for and response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • Synthesize the ideas of previous lessons to critique the role of intelligence, and especially geospatial intelligence, in relation to Hurricane Katrina.
  • Discuss the social justice implications for geospatial intelligence applications in Hurricane Katrina.
  • Speculate on future applications of geospatial intelligence for disaster management.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Post comments to Lesson 09 Discussion Forum (Discussion Forum #3).

Visit the Lesson 09 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.

Lesson 10: Trends in Geospatial Intelligence
Date: Week 10
Topics:

Objectives - After completing Lesson 10 you should be able to:

  • Identify and discuss trends for the future of geospatial intelligence.
  • Discuss applications of geospatial intelligence in law enforcement.
  • Discuss applications of geospatial intelligece for environmental security.
Assignments:
  • Read all of the online materials and required readings for this lesson.
  • Post comments to Lesson 10 Discussion Forum (Discussion Forum #4).

Visit the Lesson 10 Checklist for the complete list of readings and assignments.


Course Policies

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the Dutton Institute 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 Outreach Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the ITS Help Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Internet Connection

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.

Mixed Content

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.

Equations

This course must be viewed using one of the following browsers: Firefox (any version), Safari (versions 5.1 or 6.0), Chrome (0.3 or later), or Internet Explorer with the MathPlayer PlugIn. If you use any other browser, there will be pages containing equations that do not render properly. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from the Penn State World Campus 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.

Academic Integrity

This course follows the guidelines 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 "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students."

Course Copyright

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 Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus: Contacts for Disability Resources at all Penn State Campuses. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources (SDR) 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 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.

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 wellbeing.  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 and Psychological 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

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

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.

Military Personnel

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.

Inclement Weather

In case of weather-related delays 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 weather delays. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

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 with others whom you do not know.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Attendance

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:

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 and 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.


Disclaimer

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.