GEOG 885
Advanced Analytic Methods in Geospatial Intelligence

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Meet Your Instructors:

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STEPHEN HANDWERK: I'm Steve Handwerk. I'm an associate teaching professor of geospatial intelligence here at Penn State. Thanks for stopping by. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. First of all, I love geography. I always have. I loved it since I was a little boy through grade school. I studied geography at Penn State, and I spent 33 years at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency before retiring and coming to Penn State. Geography and geospatial intelligence is so important to our lives because, as General Jim Clapper, former director of National Intelligence and director of NGA, once said, everything happens somewhere. Certainly, along with geography, I love my family. Here you'll see my wife and I on vacation in Hawaii, and then you see my son and his family. They live down in Northern Virginia, and two of our six grandchildren live there. Molly and I like to travel, and when we do, we like to collect some indigenous art. This is from a Pueblo tribe down in New Mexic0-- a wedding vase. And over here we have an Aboriginal wombat from Australia. I'm also a lover of trains-- the real ones and the model ones. Here is a model that runs around our Christmas tree every year. It is of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. And I have that in my blood because my great-grandfather spent a whole career working for Lehigh Valley between New York and Buffalo. Wait. Did I mention that I went to Penn State, and I bleed blue and white? We are!


The traditional approach to geospatial analysis is the intuitive technique. In order to improve analysis, relatively uncomplicated methods exist to help intelligence analysts structure their analysis. These structured methods, which can be applied to a broad range of problems, provide a scientific-like and demonstrable approach to analysis that can enhance the intelligence analyst objectivity. Structured methodologies do not replace the subjective insight of the intelligence analyst. Instead, the intent is to use a logical framework to illustrate and capitalize on intuition, experience, and judgment. A structured methodology provides a traceable and repeatable means to reach a conclusion. Significant for us, structured methods have significant value in that they can be taught. Structured methodologies are severely neglected in the geospatial realm. This course teaches the theory and practice behind a structured analytic method designed for geospatial intelligence, with particular emphasis given to selecting and applying appropriate analysis techniques to create and test hypotheses. Students will assess the various connotative biases and spatial fallacies that interfere with sound spatial thinking. Students also appraise basic analysis techniques including imagination, diagnostic, and challenging & reframing.

Learning Environment

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